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Montgomery CC vs South Fambridge CC - Sunday 9th May 2010 - Shoebury Garrison

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

The Monties third outing of the season was supposed to have been an away fixture against the newly merged Southend Ecko Monarchs & Trojans. Unfortunately whilst the usual April showers were entirely absent in April, the lesser known May monsoons, were very much in evidence in May.

Game abandoned without a ball bowled or sausage roll eaten.

So on a similarly miserable looking afternoon a week later, the MCC welcomed South Fambridge to the home of cricket (and Gladedale Homes) at Shoebury Garrison for an early return fixture against the Fighting Rat's newest foe.

The early signs for Montgomery were not promising; with regular bowlers Aggus Snr and T. Smith both absent for the game and Captain Baker AWOL, the Monties were looking decidedly short in the field.

Fortunately former MCC stalwart James "Flinteirson" Mooney brought himself out of retirement to thicken the bowling mix and the MCC was further bolstered by none other than the world's largest athlete (prospective), back from the dead, the Turnipator himself, G. Turner. Despite these additions, the Monties still only totalled nine. With Vice Captain Smith C stepping up to the plate as he did numerous times last season, the toss was lost and the Monties were going to have to brave the rather unpleasant conditions in the field.

Champ and Couzens opened the bowling, pausing only to laugh as the Turnip emerged last from the safety of the dressing room in no less than six layers! It quickly became evident that with the square as sodden as it was, that there wasn't going to be a great deal of carry through to Speckled Jim (at least that was the excuse Couzens gave for Pidgeon standing up to him, normally he wouldn't have dared against the ferocious 55mph man). This lack of carry meant that anything short seemed to die before it had even reached the stumps and anything full pitched would be very difficult for the batsmen to judge, making things a little more even for the fighting rats, with their reduced number of fielders.

Bowling full has never been an issue for the MCC's veteran strike bowler Daniel "Moses" Champ and he soon had Eighteen on his way back to the hutch, bowled for three - maybe someone should have told him that dismal grey afternoons don't require sunglasses for batting! Couzens got in on the action next up, though couldn't claim too much glory, after a leg side full toss (which was accompanied with a Smith C against Golden Lion-esque wail of dismay), was pulled straight to Gillies at square leg.

Thereafter though, South Fambridge's resilient opener Walker and number four Frost, got to work and started laying the foundations for a lengthy partnership. Couzens and Champ toiled away manfully but were unable to find the breakthrough. After five overs of the veteran of the siege of Constantinople, Smith C brought Mooney into the attack whilst Couzens bowled straight through. Mooney's left arm over immediately caused problems but wasn't enough initially to prevent Walker and Frost reaching their respective half centuries. Smith again shuffled the pack and brought Aggus Jnr into the fray meaning a combination of spin and left arm seam faced the Fambridgian top order. It paid dividends at last when Walker was undone by Mooney, bowled for an excellent 71.

The old adage of one brings two immediately rang true when Mooney took care of Jones, in at five, for a duck, just two balls later.

Charles was in at six but the momentum was suddenly back with the outnumbered Montgomeries and when Mooney got the ball past Charles' bat with him slightly out of his ground, Pidgeon was on it in a flash, whipping off the bails, to give Mooney his third wicket.

An exemplary bit of work by El Destructo.

Frost C was the number seven for Fambridge and he managed to hold out till he had scored ten before the unstoppable Mooby sent one through his defences.

With Aggus still holding down the other end, Smith brought himself into the attack and he got the next major breakthrough - when Vogue produced yet another excellent catch in the covers to eliminate Frost D for a well compiled 60. Having got some initial tap in his first three overs to claim Frost's wicket, Smith was now faced with the dangerous South African/Welshman Du Plessis. In the previous game he had blasted Baker round the ground in a cameo 24* to win the game for Fambridge.

There was to be no repeat today.

After the first ball missed off stump by a fraction, Du Plessis attempted another heave across the line and was bowled all ends up!

The South African dangerman was gone for a blob, the Monties were ecstatic and the score which had seemed to be getting away from them when Walker and Frost were on the rampage had now been reined in.

Smith wasn't finished there though and had Frost L caught behind by Pidgeon in the same over.

Binman had been quietly going about his business at eight and had been carrying the score towards 200 before Smith had decimated the lower order but now he was batting with the last man (or lady as it turned out), Lofty.

After the Turnip saw a great effort by Mooby put down, from his very first delivery, Smith C cleaned up matters himself as Mooney was able to cling on this time at square leg.

South Fambridge all out for 220 of 34.1 overs.

Special mention for the returning Mooney - bowling his first spell in over a year and returning figures of 8-058-4 and Smith C with a remarkable first spell of the season of 4.1-1-22-4!

Excellent work chaps and a general pat on the back for the whole team for sticking at it in horrible conditions whilst two men short!

Now, with tea consumed, the question was would the Monties be able to reproduce the form that saw them chase down another 200+ total in their last game?

Nope.

Dreadful batting effort. Only the skipper got into double figures with an unbeaten 23 (from opener) and even he got dropped on 0!

Not too many positives to be taken from this batting display...at least no-one got a duck (though two Monties were bowled out by a girl...again).

Next up - Woodham.

Matthew Couzens

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