Banner Photo
Banner Photo

Montgomery CC vs Southend CC - Sunday 22nd August 2010 - Southchurch Park

Montgomery CC: C. Clayton, R. Clayton, H. Holtzhausen, J. Gillies, M. Aggus, T. Smith, M. Couzens, P. Sibley, K. Baker, C. Smith (cpt), D. Champ

So my friends, here we are again, find yourselves a comfortable nook so that I can regale you with another tale soon to be enshrined in MCC folklore.

For alongside the illustrious names of Baker and Smith, nestled amongst legends of the Montgomery like Aggus and Pidgeon, festooning the green and gold annals of the fighting rats like Champ and Drake, we must now add... Mr. Clive Clayton.

Clayton Snr, possibly the best cricketer in California.

Joining him on this momentous day, the small matter of Mr. Henk Holthausen, who bowls at 80mph, is on the charge for leading wicket taker in the Shepherd Neame Division Two and scored over 500 runs playing club cricket in Durham.

So, the MCC was taking to the field this humid August afternoon with not one, but two overseas players.

The foe? Long time MCC adversary Southend CC.

Joining the Praetorian Predator and Clayton Snr would be the returning lesser Aggus and he of the large head - K. Baker. El Destructo was ill, so Paul Sibley played his third game in succession, with Cap'n Smith and Vice Cap'n Smith, Champ, Couzens, Clayton Jnr and Gillies bringing up the rear.

The MCC was batting and to mark Vogue's birthday, Clan Clayton was going to open things up.

Unfortunately the partnership was short lived, as Patel, bowled Clayton Snr with his third delivery.

One MCC import down, one to go, as Holthausen (or "Hot House" as Microsoft spell check suggests he should be called) joined Clayton Jnr in the middle.

The H-Bomb launched his very first ball for four as he and Clayton put on 28 for the second wicket before Clayton Jnr fell, caught off the bowling of Patel in the slips.

The Monty's number four was Gillies but after six dots, he too joined the casualty list.

Holtzhausen had been going along nicely, hitting two fours and a six in three balls off Kenton, but when he didn't fully get hold of a pull into the off-side and was caught, the MCC had lurched to 47-4.

That became 47-5 when the Tank Engine copped a good one from first change Squires and went second ball.

Aggus and Couzens had to attempt to staunch this stream of wickets as there were still over thirty overs left in the innings.

With Couzens managing a strike rate of 6.6% from the first thirty balls of his previous innings and the floppy haired one having flown through the night en route back from Greece and thus running on fumes, the outlook wasn't promising.

Both players were the epitome of caution (not dull - cautious and sensible) and whilst there were a number of shouted variations on "more blocks than legoland", the score did gradually increase.

At the halfway stage the MCC had ambled to 84-5.

After drinks and as both batsmen got their eye in, some more shots were gradually incorporated into the batting repertoire and the run rate began to pick up.

There were certainly mishaps, Couzens Chinese cutting the Melbourne Milkfloat and then next ball edging him between the slips (some might say expertly opening the face to guide the ball through the gap, others might just say rubbish), sorry Craigo!

After thirty overs the MCC was up to 143-5 and despite a few swipes outside the off-stump which were warmly greeted with some "all swing, no ding" comments, generally the two looked comfortable, though special mention should be made for young Hammond, who bowled an excellent four over spell for just four runs (and one of those was a wide).

Southend finally made the breakthrough with the MCC some 108 runs better off than when the last wicket fell, as Aggus fell for a gritty 29 from 55 balls.

Sibley was in at nine and served notice of his intentions by sending his first two balls for glorious fours.

Thereafter he and Couzens put on another sixty four runs, before Sibley was bowled by another promising Southend youngster - Bunce, for a run-a-ball twenty three, with the last ball of the innings.

The MCC finishing on a solid 219-8 with Couzens somehow still unbeaten on 66.

Tea was laid on by the Gillies family so collective tipping of the caps to Natalie for her efforts.

Then it was back into the field where the young Southend openers were faced with the daunting image of Holthausen warming up.

The MCC's South African import was only coming off a few paces but was still substantially quicker than anyone else in the Monty attack, in fact there were discernable whimpering noises coming from some of the MCC fielders at even the prospect of facing such speed.

It was from the other end that the first wicket came though - Sibley finally getting on the wicket chart in his third game when he bowled Hammond for a duck.

Seeing Henk almost go for a run in his first over prompted what will undoubtedly be recalled as a classic MCC moment in the future - the Monty's very own C. Smith, giving grade cricket playing Henk, a few words of advice on his bowling. Magic.

The Milk-float was in next and despite crunching one Holthausen delivery through the covers for four; he was then undone by a fuller pitched beauty from the Henkmeister - the Nik-Nak's wicket undoubtedly, following his helpful tips earlier.

Young Bune was next to fall, when he also fell victim to the Praetorian Predator, bowled as well, though he would be able to tell his friends that he had driven an overseas player, for four of his eight runs.

At this point, with Southend reeling a little and some unhappy comments from the sidelines about Henk's speed, the Saffer was taken off and replaced by the slightly-more-sedate-but-nonetheless-deadly pace of Champ.

Meanwhile, Paul "Heavy Roller" Sibley was still rumbling in and he was rewarded with his second wicket when Miller edged one which was snaffled at slip, on the dive, by the man aptly from Hollywood, Clayton Snr. Great catch.

The Champion was warming to the task nicely at the other end and having taken wickets in every game this season, it wasn't long before he increased his 2010 haul, bowling Irvine for six.

The peach was getting plenty of inswing and he added Skeggs to his list of victims, with another full one and then ten runs later, Squires was also beaten, rapped on the pads to give Champ his third wicket.

Sibley then took care of Savoury, bowled for six and whilst the Southend batsmen had been scoring at a decent rate, they were losing wickets just as quickly.

Sibley bowled out finishing with 8-0-28-3 and Baker was introduced into the attack and he joined in the fun when, having been launched into the on-side, saw the ball plucked out of the air by Holthausen for what must be catch of the season. Magic.

That left just number eleven Patel to deal with and Champ whistled one through his defences and the game was won.

Southend all out for 96 inside twenty overs.

Bowling plaudits going to Dan Champ who now has 25 wickets, a record haul in a season for the MCC, finishing with 6.3-0-35-4.

Special mention for our two overseas players - Clayton Snr with a great catch and Holtzhausen scoring 27, finishing with 3-1-10-2 and taking one of the best catches in MCC history.

The Paul Sibley award was also handed out and for the third game in a row, went to a Mr. Paul Sibley.

Matthew Couzens

Copyright © Designed by Salbourne IT