Banner Photo
Banner Photo

Montgomery CC vs Golden Lion CC - Sunday 5th July 2009 - Shoebury Park

Montgomery CC: M. Aggus, O. Pidgeon, J. Gillies, M. Couzens, R. Clayton, J. Mooney, T. Smith, J. Aggus, D. Champ, R. Page, C. Smith (cpt)

Montgomery CC faced old foe The Golden Lion CC for the second time in the 2009 season at Shoebury Park on the 5th July.

The Lion had been tamed in the 2008 season with a comprehensive Monty victory where Pidgeon and Smith T had both recorded half centuries. It was also the match where Aggus Snr produced the finest spell of bowling in MCC history when he took four wickets in three overs for the cost of just one run.

However, the Lion had shown its teeth in the Monty’s earlier encounter with them this season, when they recorded a six wicket victory at The Garrison.

On another gloriously sunny day the Monties were again to bat first as they had done in all their previous battles against the Lion.

With Baker still recovering from his broken arm, James Mooney continued his MCC comeback and was joined in the ranks by none other than the sugar plum fairy Richard “tan” Page, making his first appearance for over a year in MCC colours.

Pidgeon and Aggus walked out to open proceedings with Golden Lion stalwart Sams lying in wait.

Sams predictably opened with a maiden and it wasn’t until the 4th over that the first boundary arrived as Pidgeon hit impressive youngster Mayhew for a crisp four.

Aggus continued to nurdle as Pidgeon began to free his arms as he got his eye in and started to play some very impressive shots.

The Lion must have felt a sense of déjà vu as Pidgeon raced into the twenties with a huge six over midwicket. Pidegon certainly seemed to have bee in his bonnet about something – perhaps it was the lack of outrageous eyewear on offer at the rock festival he’d just visited or maybe his missus didn’t have his shirts ironed on time, whatever the reason, Pidgeon was on a mission of cricketing mass destruction!

Aggus seemed keen to get in on the action but mistimed a shot off Sams to give the Lion their first wicket in the 11th over with the Monties on 50.

Gillies joined Pidgeon at the crease and like Aggus played second fiddle as Pidgeon raced to a breathtaking half century with his 9th boundary.

Gillies played himself in slowly and looked uncertain against the Lion twirlers, but out of the blue, it was Pidgeon who was next to fall and in the most unfortunate fashion, hitting his own stumps.

It was a very dissatisfying ending for Pidgeon who had looked in excellent form and on course for a really big score, but finished to the disappointment of everyone in an MCC shirt and relief to everyone in a Lion shirt, on 59.

Couzens was in at four and like Gillies, played himself in slowly, his first five runs coming in singles.

Gillies was just starting to get going now but after hitting his first four, was caught off Lions skipper Ward for 9.

The MCC were still in a good position at 85-3 with overs left and plenty of batting still to come in the form of T. Smith and Mooney, not to mention the heroes of the game against Runwell - high scoring duo Champ and Aggus Snr.

In the meantime though Clayton was with Couzens in the middle and the two started to put together a decent partnership.

Both batsmen played their shots, Clayton hitting Bailey back over his head for a glorious boundary and Couzens hitting one Ward over for 15.

The Lion turned to recent acquisition Humby to inject some pace into the attack but both batsmen proved equal to it, Clayton showcasing his improving batting in solid, straight fashion and Couzens doing his best to avoid the odd bouncer.

Couzens moved to 49 with a maximum off Bentley and then scampered a two to bring up his fifty before the Lion fielders could properly bring on the mental disintegration, having just started to remind Couzens that he was one short of his half century!

The two brought up the 100 partnership before Clayton fell for 30, bowled by Bently after a splendid knock.

Couzens followed soon after for 79, trying to play one big hoick across the line too many and caught off Salt.

The MCC were now in the commanding position of 210-5 and Mooney showing his usual restraint hit his very first ball for four.

Smith T was also keen to get in on the action as both players looked to drive the score on in the final stages of the Montgomery innings.

With both Mooney and Smith T throwing caution to the wind, it was inevitable they would offer up chances and both perished for 7 off the bowling of Salt who had now taken three wickets in two overs for 18 runs – an excellent recovery as his very first ball had gone for six!

Aggus Snr and Champ continued where they left off against Runwell, Aggus Snr not quite catching Aggus Jnr’s score but at least keeping his wicket intact for 5 and Champ hitting, his first and the inning’s last ball for four.

Montgomery CC 228-7 off 40.

With a fine spread laid on by Pidgeon’s better half (and still apparently making him a roast the same day – damn his impudence, how does he get away with it), the MCC feasted.

However, thus far, the job was only half done.

With the ominous news that the Lion had successfully chased down 200 in their last three innings and had Saturday centurion Humby in their camp, the MCC took to the field again.

Couzens opened the bowling and repeated his fine effort against Leigh-on-Sea CC, by sending his first delivery over the batsman’s head for a no-ball beamer.

Couzens did get his line back more or less but still got hit for four. Champ showed him how it was done in the second over – taking a wicket and bowling a maiden.

Buck your ideas up Couzens!

Couzens managed to do so shortly afterwards, generating a little away swing to entice the edge from Bentley, giving Pidgeon his second caught behind – what a game for the MCC’s wicket-keeper batsman!

Humby was in at 4 and showed his intent immediately, playing some excellent cricket strokes as he and Salt started to forge an important partnership.

Captain Smith rotated his bowlers, bringing on Aggus Snr, Mooney and T. Smith but the two Lion batsmen continued unabashed.

Both batsmen reached their half century within just one ball of each other and it was quickly becoming apparent that the Monties would need a moment of inspiration to break the partnership that was carrying the Lion serenely towards victory.

When Humby cut into the offside there seemed no danger and a second run looked easily obtainable, but this was the moment the MCC had been waiting for, Gillies collected the ball and launched it in with pace and such accuracy that Pidgeon didn’t have to move and was able to whip off the bails with Humby just short of his ground.

A fantastic throw by Gillies, excellent reactions from Pidgeon and with Humby gone for 63 the fighting rats were back in the hunt.

The old adage that one brings two was to run true in this game as well. With Smith C, mixing it up with a few well aimed grenades, he’d already had Salt looking unsure but when he pushed one too far down the offside he uttered the immortal words: “Oh no!” as he saw himself being called for a wide. Salt though could not resist chasing it and suddenly what looked an innocuous delivery was top edging its way to Pidgeon for another caught behind!

Now the Rats were well and truly back in it. Couzens and Champ came back into the attack and the run rate started to climb again as the scoring slowed.

Cap’n Smith C brought his namesake on as he continued to rotate his seamers and the move paid immediate dividends as Smith T struck twice in his first over, catching Mayhew off his own bowling and then removing the Adelaide Express – Carter, lbw for 16.

The Monties own contribution to England vs Australia, courtesy of a look-a-like of New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori!

The contest was approaching boiling point with the Lion needing approximately a run a ball but with some batting left to come in the form of skipper Ward and Bailey.

With both batsmen going hard at everything to try and get home and the Monties desperately trying to keep the scoring rate down, a crucial chance was put down by Couzens coming in from long off, from the bowling of Aggus Snr, giving Ward a reprieve which was to prove costly.

Couzens went some way to making amends by catching Bailey off his own bowling but the big hitting Ward was the scalp that was most required and he celebrated his escape by blasting Smith T down the ground as runs came off the penultimate over.

Couzens had a chance to compensate for his earlier drop in the final over but after four runs had been scampered off the first three balls, three were needed off the last two deliveries.

Only one was needed, Couzens dropped short and Ward crashed him over mid wicket for four to win the game for the Lion with only one ball left.

A very disappointing end to such a good game, leaving the fighting rats to dwell on what might have been, but with only two weeks to lick their wounds before another game against the Lion at Rankins.

Next time, next time!

Matthew Couzens

Copyright © Designed by Salbourne IT