Banner Photo
Banner Photo

Montgomery CC vs Leigh-on-Sea CC - Sunday 6th June 2010 - The Garrison

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

Gentlemen of the crease, the saga that is Montgomery CC continued this past weekend at Fortress Garrison where the MCC, fresh from a stunning comeback victory against Island Taverners, welcomed Leigh on Sea CC to the field of play.

Since the inception of Montgomery CC, back in the misty days of yore that few save Daniel Champ can remember, the club has laboured under the tag of "plucky upstart" when compared to illustrious Leigh on Sea CC.

With a collection of fortuitous victories against the MCC in the early years of the Fighting Rats, the feeling of smug superiority emanating from Leigh needed to be dealt with severely and whilst a bloody nose had been delivered in 2008, further victories were required for the clubs to be considered entirely equal.

Captain Smith continued his impressive streak of losing the toss in every game thus far in 2010 and as a result the Monties would be fielding.

The first game of June saw the return of catching machine and Madonna impersonator Robert J. Clayton in place of Henry Lucas whilst Steve "Twirlo" Thurlow made his second appearance for the MCC. The rest of the team was unchanged and with Smith T and Baker firmly in the runs in the last two games and Champ picking up wickets in each appearance of the season so far, hopes of a strong showing were high.

Hopes about the weather were less expectant, with hazy cloud and humid conditions suggesting that the ball might swing but more worryingly that thunderstorms might appear before the day was out.

Couzens and Champ opened the bowling and in only the first over Couzens finally got a wicket after twenty overs without one, when opener Bates skied a catch for old safe hands Vogue to pouch at mid wicket.

Leigh skipper Renvoize followed in the next over, bowled by Champ for his eleventh wicket of the season.

An excellent start by the Monties.

Couzens continued the MCC bowling assault when Green also skied one which was well caught by Mr D.N.N.C De Vito at mid-on.

When Groves followed shortly after, having played on, Leigh on Sea were looking, well, distinctly Monty like with their batting!

The action didn't stop there though; Champ then had Keeley caught behind by Pidgeon.

Leigh-on-Sea five wickets down with less than twenty on the board! Plucky upstart indeed, up the MCC!

Five became six shortly afterwards when Couzens collected his fourth wicket, despite a very ordinary bowling display, when a chip into the leg side was plucked out of the air on the dive by Keano.

The MCC was taking to Leigh on Sea like Lionel Messi to an Arsenal back four.

So who was next into the melting pot? Wait a second; we recognised that figure striding purposefully to the crease - none other than the cricketing Yoda to the MCC - Grandmaster K. Sanderman himself!

Lengthy applause followed as Sanderman took guard against his former charges, however evidently things haven't improved for everyone since he last passed on his pearls of cricket wisdom - Couzens managing to hit the Legendary Coach flush on the helmet with a beamer - whoops!

Now, whilst Sanderman used to pay Botham a shilling to bowl at him in the nets back in yesteryear, the MCC's own Dan Champ used to put Tutankhamen through his paces before breakfast, so the arrival of this "sapling" wasn't going to intimidate the Champion and he almost snuck one through Sanderman's defences but despite hitting the wickets, the bails somehow remained intact.

Suggestions that Darth Sandermanius might have employed a "these aren't the droids you're looking for" tactic, remain unsubstantiated.

Whatever the cause, The Grandmaster evidently wasn't in the mood for joining his young compatriots back in the hutch and was into full brigadier block mode, even more so after his close shave with the Peach.

Smith opted to replace Champ with an injection of youth and Father Aggi was soon on the mark and was able to send promising Leigh debutant Ahmed on his way when he rapped him on his pads.

When young L. Bull joined Sanderman, the MCC expected to wrap things up before the score got to 50.

Unfortunately despite rotating his bowlers - employing the flight and guile of Aggus Jnr, the twirl of Twirlo, some left arm pace from Henman and even a few grenades from the 2006 vintage, the trebuchet was unable to mastermind the breakthrough.

The score gradually crept up, more from off-target Montgomery bowling than from runs off the bat, but after the full forty overs had been used, Leigh-on-Sea finished on 120-7 with Sanderman unbeaten on 24 and an excellent knock by young Bull, who showed plenty of promise, seeing him undefeated on 20.

Special bowling mention for Aggus Snr's 8-2-9-1. Is there no stopping this man?! Champ also up to twelve wickets for the season with an excellent 6-1-16-2.

As the innings was reaching its close, the heavens, which had been threatening to let loose a deluge on Shoebury Garrison, did so, but by the time the tea, courtesy of Mr. & Mrs. Baker had been scoffed, the sun was shining again and the fighting rats were ready to chase.

Smith and Drake opened the batting but had only got the score as far as five when Drake fell, bowled by Bates for two.

Smith was playing conservatively at the other end and the MCC didn't want any repeat of a Leigh-like wobble in their innings, so runs were called for and as the saying in cricket lore has suggested for time immemorial:

"Cometh the hour, cometh the El Destructo!"

Kaboom! Suddenly the Leigh bowlers were having the fight taken to them as Pidge pulled, drove (and maybe even threw in the odd forward defensive) as the score was extended to 27 before Smith joined Drake on the sidelines, bowled by Hughes for four.

Aggus was in at four, but whilst the score moved on to 35 before the third wicket went down, it was all Pidgeon, Aggus edging behind off the decent pace of Ahmed for a duck.

Thurlow was in at five and his steadying influence allowed Pidgeon to continue unabated and despite a rain delay when on forty eight, reach his half century from only thirty six deliveries.

The two of them put on forty six, before Pidgeon finally fell, caught off Ahmed for a smashing 58.

Clayton was in at six but was unlucky to get a ripsnorter first up from Ahmed to give him two in two.

Thurlow was joined by Baker but they had to come off again for the rain as the murky afternoon drew to a conclusion.

Baker had only made three on the resumption when he was bowled by Renvoize, but before T. Smith at eight could face a delivery, the rain returned and this time it was so heavy that it was going to be impossible to see the game out to a conclusion.

Messrs Duckworth & Lewis would have the final say, suggesting that by the end of the 23rd over, the Monties would need to be on at least 84, if they'd lost six wickets. Baker's three, Drake's two and Smith's four were thus not to be in vain - the fighting rats were sitting pretty on 89 when the rain arrived.

Leigh-on-Sea CC bested, Montgomery CC triumphant. Equilibrium established, though the fighting rats of the MCC will only be satisfied when they are correctly recognised as the alpha club.

Matthew Couzens

Copyright © Designed by Salbourne IT