Banner Photo
Banner Photo

Montgomery CC vs Westley CC - Sunday 24th April 2011 - Shoebury Garrison

Montgomery CC: O. Pidgeon, M. Aggus, R. Tweak, D. Waller, K. Baker, J. Aggus, T. Smith, C. Smith, J. Aggus (Snr), D. Champ

January, and fresh hopes rise

Like bubbles in champagne,

To head the averages,

Or be the team captain.

Boys blow hands to keep warm

It's frosty and snowing,

And soon with practiced arm

They are snowball throwing.

Pad up into the March nets

And practise the game indoors,

Though not the same when it's

Played on hard wooden floors.

April, and spring is here

And life's worth living, lads,

Get out your cricket gear

And buckle on your pads.

There's a nip in the air

And some zip off the pitch,

And batsmen suspect there

May be a tricky patch.

The game as it should be

June sunshine the setting,

Crowd and cricketers happy

And runs for the getting.

July scoreboard threatening

Imminent disaster

Finds a hero emerging -

A minnow to a master.

This August game can crowd

An hour into a minute,

And silences grow loud

To all the glories in it.

Sponsored knock-out finals

With many fours and threes,

September festivals

With sea air and marquees.

October. With regret

We put away our gear,

We were just getting set

But leaves say autumn's here.

November with dinners,

Talk, a tankard and toasts:

To the game, its winners:

All visitors and hosts.

December could bring

Books for your stocking,

Giving joy to those of us

Cricket crackers at Christmas.

(taken from "Cricket Calendar" by Colin Shakespeare, The MCC Anthology of Cricket Verse)

So my merry friends, the 2011 season starts here. Some might have suggested that it began last week, but to be honest who wants to hear about a crushing defeat where the writer of these lovely match reports got hauled off after going at eight-an-over and only managed three runs. Not I.

We will only draw attention therefore, to a respectable posting by long time friends of the MCC - R. Stubbington, with a solid 30 and S. Brown, with a typically stylish 24. The other mention goes to one of the self proclaimed "real bowlers" in the MCC line-up - Mr. Paul Sibley, who having clamoured to be brought on and show everyone how it was done; saw his opening delivery launched for a huge maximum in an over costing 15.

Fielding plaudits were non-existent with several catches going down, though at least Sibley senior got full marks for effort - diving around despite being 69 years old. Take heed ye rats of the MCC.

Rumours of the Paul Sibley award going to the better Sibley from now on are yet to be contradicted by the higher echelons of the Montgomery hierarchy.

Anyhow, we turn out attention to the real business.

Montgomery CC vs Westley CC at the Fortress.

A wonderfully warm afternoon in late April with the MCC numbering only ten but boasting within their ranks a Mr. D. Waller of Leigh 1XI's. Not a bad little acquisition that.

Montgomery CC also bolstered by the return of 2010 player's player of the year John Aggus, MCC wicket-keeper Oliver "El Destructo" Pidgeon, Thomas "If you call me Tommy Tank Engine once more I will head-butt you" Smith and a run out for former MCC regular James "runs marathons but am also bald" Aggus

Captain Daniel Nik Nak Crabby De Vito strolled out purposefully to win the first battle of the day - the toss.

I'm not actually sure of the outcome, but we ended up having a bat, so let's call the result of that initial skirmish a draw.

With number three Couzens suffering with a two day wedding hangover, pleas were made to openers Aggus Jnr and Pidgeon to bat long.

Pidgeon duly obliged by edging his second ball to slip.

The MCC was in familiar territory at 0-1.

Couzens stumbled out to join Aggus and was soon demonstrating the sort of form that had brought him three runs in the first game and a first ball duck in the one before, edging the ball through slip and playing and missing with regularity.

Slowly though, the middle was gradually located and the foundations for a solid partnership began to be laid.

Aggus and Couzens survived the out-swing of Malloy and the line and length of Sisson and found things a little easier against the off spin of Pilly and the seam of Johnson.

When drinks arrived at 20 overs the MCC had moved to 80-1.

Couzens went to his fifty shortly thereafter, off eighty three balls, as he and Aggus put on their second hundred partnership together.

With that milestone reached and the scoreboard moving towards twenty six overs, Couzens suggested to Aggus he might try being "a little more aggressive" and was caught next ball off the interesting leg spin of Harrington for 54.

In at four was Dean Waller. A man not noted for hanging about, blocking or taking ten overs to get his eye in.

Indeed, just ten balls later he was at thirty and threatening to overtake Aggus who had taken five times as long to get to the same mark (Couzens a mere 4.3 times).

The combination worked well though, Aggus continuing to push the singles as Waller laid into everything. In fact it almost felt like there should have been a musical accompaniement to Waller's batting - Flight of the Valkriyies perhaps. Or Smack my Bitch-up.

Aggus became the second man to reach fifty for the MCC in 2011, shortly before Waller became the third, with his third six, as Westley skipper Mulchinock was put under serious pressure.

Aggus, with 50 safely negotiated, also attempted to up the scoring but was undone by a good one from Johnson.

Baker went out to join Waller for a "teeing off contest" but despite making a solid 16, his attempts to best Waller's five sixes, did not quite come to pass and he was back in the hutch after an attempted blast over mid wicket was caught by Malloy off his own bowling.

All swing but no ding, one might say (if Baker had not already hit a ton this season for MCC feeder club Leigh-on-Sea).

Waller followed shortly after Baker for a breathtaking 77, with Mulchinock eventually getting his man.

In fact having been smashed for 46 in three overs his final over was a double wicket maiden, not a bad come back, as Smith T was bowled.

This left Captain Smith C and James Aggus at the crease with the MCC in a very solid position at 218-6 and two overs left to add whatever they could to the score.

Unfortunately the only immediate addition was to the wicket count with Aggus run out in rather comic fashion for a duck, with both Smith and himself at the same end.

Two of the Aggi down, but the best was saved till last, as Aggus Snr joined the Crabster at the crease for the last dance.

A further three runs were added and the MCC finished on 221-7 from 40 overs. Waller top scoring with 77 off only 34 balls and useful, if more sedate, offerings from Couzens and Aggus thrown in.

Tea was ingested, with thanks to Mr & Mrs Champ for their fine efforts - particularly those crispy chocolate cakes with the mini-eggs!

Then it was back out to the field of play for the resumption.

Pilley and Deacon opened up for Westley, with Champ and Aggus Snr the men charged with removing them.

Both of the MCC's reliable bowling duo were soon on the mark and Wesley had moved to 26 before the Champion found a way through their obdurate defence when Pilley was caught by Couzens.

After a four over stint Aggus Senior was brought out of the attack (he is in his sixties you know) and replaced by the right arm seam of the Tank Engine.

Meanwhile Wesley now had their skipper at the crease with regular thorn in the side of the MCC bowling attack - Deacon, still going strong.

Champ bowled out finishing with the respectable figures of 8-0-38-1. Smith T was also going solidly and was unlucky to see two difficult chances put down by Aggus M.

With Champ bowled out, MCC left arm quick K. Baker was retrieved from midwicket and sent into the fray.

The impact was quickly felt by Westley as Mulchinock was caught by Aggus M for a well made 33.

Pilley followed shortly after for 9, bowled by Baker with Westley now 111-3.

After six overs, Smith T was withdrawn and Waller was introduced. The big man was only coming off a few paces but he was sending it down at a very respectable pace and on a good line.

With Baker and Waller operating in tandem, drinks was reached with the Monties in a good position, with Westley needing to pick up the pace.

The Baker/Waller combination though wasn't allowing the pace to be picked up, both were bowling good lines and as the rate climbed it forced the Westley batsmen to take more risks.

Thus it was that the impressive Deacon fell five runs short of a deserved half century, bowled by Waller, trying to play more aggressively than perhaps he might have done had the rate been more reasonable.

Some sly tactical nous from Baker accounted for Jackson, encouraging the force stroke with a slower ball for a nice little c&b.

When Waller cleared up Taylor for 20, Westley were 152-5 and needing eight an over.

They had one more ace up their sleave in the form of Malloy who had bludgeoned 83 in the previous game at Laindon. However, the MCC also had a card of their own to play - and what a card it was!

Held in reserve apart from a very brief spell in the last game of the 2010 season was a man capable of weaving such an intricate web of deceit with his flight and guile that rumours abound that he must be part machine.

A man capable of producing such massive rpm's that tornado season in the mid-west has been linked with his holidays to America.

A man who after every delivery, even ones that have been dispatched for six, has to gasp audibly as only he knows just how close the batsman was to getting out, even if less insightful cricketers only see a massive maximum.

Alongside such fabled spinners as Warne and Murlitheran, one must now also include the name... of Robo-tweak!

Some unscrupulous team mates have attempted to suggest that it is merely Couzens bowling seam up but with a shorter run up. More fool them.

Robo-tweak was introduced into the attack in the 40th over with Westley needing a mere 46 runs to win, surely only he could stop them!

Sure enough, keeping the run rate to a respectable 13 for the over, Robo-tweak tricked Malloy into smashing a pull shot into the waiting hands of Daniel Champ.

Champ was heard to utter the words:

"I haven't seen anything like it since the Big Bang."

And so it was - Robo-tweak scoring 221 and Westley losing seven wickets as Robo-tweak restricted them to 188.

Well played Robo-tweak.

All hail Robo-Tweak.

Next game for Robo-Tweak CC: Chequers away.

Matthew Couzens

Copyright © Designed by Salbourne IT