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Montgomery CC vs Westley CC - Sunday 25th April 2010 - Shoebury Garrison

Montgomery CC: C. Smith, M. Aggus, J. Threadgold, O. Pidgeon, R. Clayton, M. Couzens, K. Baker (cpt), T. Smith, D. Champ, J. Aggus

Good Day my fellow gentlemen of the crease. Our report this week concerns the second outing of that band of rebels, scoundrels and rogues from Montgomery Cricket Club, as they continue their quest for cricketing perfection.

Sunday 25th April saw the Fighting Rats defending their home ground against the besieging Westley CC, who were rebuffed in the corresponding fixture in 2009 but triumphed in the final over of the return game, later that year.

With the late withdrawal of A. Heath and absence of J. Gillies, the Monties were expecting great things from the third outing of one J. Threadgold, knowing that they would be taking to the field with only ten men (Rumours continue to abound that G. Turner, may have finally passed to the great weasel refuge in the sky).

In fact, it was nearly ten men and no stumps, but fortunately Smith T didn’t have to utilise any of the tools from the van to chop up the three broom handles he’d been eyeing up as able substitutes, when a sheepish looking Aggus Jnr arrived with the offending items.

Captain K. Baker landed the first blow as Westley skipper C. Duck, foolishly opted for heads (perhaps, influenced unintentionally by Baker), and lost the toss.

Baker opted for attack and the Monties strolled into the sunshine with the new ball, hoping for early inroads into the Westley line-up.

Couzens opened the bowling with Baker and both were on the mark early on, with Westley batsmen Pilley and Deacon restricted by some swing and seam movement.

The ball beat the bat on a number of occasions but neither bowler was able to make the breakthrough.

Baker brought The Tank Engine into the attack in place of himself and it was Smith T who struck first, enticing Pilley into the edge which was well taken by Pidgeon.

Couzens, having started well began to drop short and was sent on his way a number of times by Deacon, who now looked to up the scoring. After some whining about lack of protection on the on-side, Smith C was moved from slip and the batsmen duly guided the ball down to the vacant third man area for easy runs.

A touch of Aggus Snr seemed to be the required tonic for this upping of the run rate and as expected he proved the remedy as Deacon was reined in.

Meanwhile Smith T continued to wheel away from the Officer’s Residences End, coming up the slope and he struck for the second time when Johnson was plucked out of the air by Threadgold for seven. Just reward it seemed after Johnson had dithered about like Jonathan Trott at the crease, much to the obvious irritance of the bowlers.

Smith T’s reward for sending Johnson to do some more dithering back in the hutch was to be taken off and replaced by Champ. The elderly statesman of the Montgomery side joined Aggus as the two of them bowled straight through.

Aggus whipped the ball past the outside edge of young Tarrant, in at five, a number of times, but the impudent scamp unworriedly played his shots.

The better of the Aggi had more immediate success bowling at Duck. Having given small heed to his sixty-something years when diving for a return catch which just evaded him, he then easily snaffled the second such opportunity presented to him by Duck, who departed for two.

Champ was also bowling an excellent line and was unlucky to see some tough aerial chances put down before he too got in the wickets as a firmly struck drive was nonchantly caught by cool-as-a-cucumber-Clayton (at-cover), Molloy gone for a duck.

Deacon remained the lynchpin of the innings and he reached his half century after drinks, having had a little fortune but also played some excellent strokes.

Tarrant’s luck, which seemed to have no end against Aggus Snr, ran out as the match entered the final ten overs, Aggus yorking him for a breezy 24.

Baker returned from the Marketing Suite End in place of Aggus and although he was bowling at a good pace, Deacon was now fully on the charge, though Baker did have the satisfaction of seeing a slower ball outsmart Mulchinock, bowling him for 22.

There was still time for a cameo from Aggus, containing some respectable off-spin, a wide and arguably the most vocal lbw request since J. Gillies appealed to the umpire with the tactful: “Oh come on, that is blatantly in front!” back in the youth of the MCC.

Only the one over from “Keano” but undoubtedly enough for further claims of all rounder status!

The returning Smith T and Baker finished proceedings with Deacon ending unbeaten on 87, having batted all the way through and leading Westley to a healthy 207-6 off their 40.

Tea was quickly dispatched and the MCC now had to take stock of the situation. The most an MCC side had chased down for a win in the past was 114 against Chequers.

This was an altogether more daunting total, especially with ten men, would the MCC rue the 48 extras given away in the Westley innings?

Montgomery openers Smith C and Aggus marched to the middle, knowing that they would need to score faster than they had against South Fambridge, if the innings was to have the required impetus to make that far off 208.

Andrews and Buddha (whose real name is apparently Rob, though we assume that is the surname and his first name is Buddha), were responsible for holding back the Monty bats but both batsmen were able to get off the mark without trouble.

The MCC had reached 25 without loss, in good time, when an innocuous delivery from Buddha Rob was hit by Aggus and caught at mid on, though it arguably should have been called as no-ball. In this case I don’t think any blame should be attributed to the umpire who has never made a mistake before, at anything, ever (the wine collection has now hit 70 bottles as well, which would also suggest he couldn’t have been wrong).

Threadgold was in at three and big things were expected of him. He and Smith played their shots and despite the odd hairy moment, were able to lay the foundations for an essential partnership.

Threadgold showed his class with a number of fine shots, with Smith the foil, playing some strokes of his own as the Monties stayed in touch with the required rate.

Shortly after the two had put on a fifty partnership and taken the score to 78, Smith fell for 14, bowled by Malloy and drinks were taken.

El Destructo was in next and blasted a quickfire 12 but was undone by a full one from Johnson (despite nearly amputating both of poor Dan’s legs in the nets the day before, with a number of vicious shots)

Clayton was in at five and with more than half the total still required it was important that he and Threadgold pushed on immediately.

“Vogue” seemed in no mood to hang about and attacked good and bad balls alike. He and Threadgold, upped the rate which had been creeping up to beyond seven an over, with Threadgold reaching and then passing his maiden Montgomery fifty.

Westley skipper Duck rotated his bowlers, even changing wicket keeper and as the game moved into the final ten overs things could not have looked more delicately poised.

The Monties still required above seven an over but had been scoring freely as Clayton and Threadgold reached the fifty partnership. Westley knew they were still very much in the game and that a wicket could change everything.

The nervous Monties on the sidelines were glued to the action and a collective cry of anguish went up when Frost finally pierced Threadgold’s defences, bowling him after an outstanding 79.

An ashen faced Couzens was in at six, with the rate still above seven and the phrase “squeaky bum time” being banded about by one and all.

Clayton though dealt with the setback of losing Threadgold by taking command of the innings himself.

He blasted Tarrant’s first three balls for twelve runs in a blistering salvo that dragged the Monties into their strongest position thus far.

There was still drama to come, with Clayton still wielding his blade selflessly, he then drove one back into the hands of Tarrant, to fall for four short of a thunderous half century.

Baker joined Couzens in the middle and thanks to Clayton’s surge, twelve was needed from the final three overs.

Some aggressive running between the wickets (or pained staggering from Couzens) dragged the fighting rats closer and when Baker sent Tarrant for four, the score were level with eight balls left.

Baker went over the top and the Monties got home with five wickets and an over to spare.

Excellent work chaps, especially since the game was played with only ten and though Baker had given things up before the game had even started, the faith in victory the rest of the team displayed was a major factor in securing the win.

Baker’s early claim that “we haven’t got a chance of winning, we might as well all go home and commit suicide, I give up completely.” Seems a little out of place now. I think that’s what you said wasn’t it skip?

Special mention for Threadgold’s 79 and Clayton’s 46, strongly backed up by more excellent bowling from Aggus Snr, Smith T and Champ.

Next up Southend away.

Matthew Couzens

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