Stanmore CC, Middlesex - 1st XI Vs Teddington CC - 1st XI, Saturday 3rd September 2016

TCC travelled up to Stanmore for the last game of the season just needing to win to claim the Premier League title for the second time in three years. There appeared to be three possible obstacles to our success: the weather (it was going to rain, it was just a question of when), a poor TCC record at the ground and the possibility of a certain Mark Ramprakash putting on a master class.

Things did not start perfectly. “Ramps” duly turned up looking fitter than anyone else in spite of being in his late 40s and JK lost the toss again. We were put in on the usual slow, slightly two paced surface which suited Stanmore’s less than lightening attack. JK and TT gave us a reasonable start before JK was given out caught behind and objected to the abuse being hurled at him while waiting for the decision. He had to be led off by his mate Ramps in order for things not to escalate further. The new captain-elect James Fear came in and immediately played a shot that came from his 2014-15 repertoire and so TT was joined by our bulky Aussie. He looked as though he had not done his usual Friday night training (he had in fact) and struggled to time anything. TT eventually hit it up in the air (again) which was the cue for last week’s super hero Ben Williams to arrive at the crease. He made batting look very possible and he Tim got us going towards a respectable score. With 15 overs left Tim decided to hit the accelerator pedal (too early we thought from the boundary) and after giving Mid On a sighter promptly put one straight down his throat. The rest of the innings was then just a question of eking out runs and we eventually made 222-8 which was quite respectable on that wicket (but what about Ramps?).

Over tea the skies darkened and our mood was not helped when we heard that North Mid had scored 301 against the hapless Bush. We clearly had to win and that prospect looked a distant prospect when Stanmore reached 40 0 off 10 overs, helped by some unusually average bowling from the bulky Aussie (kept on at least 3 overs too long according to those of us in the pavilion) and JLG. The moment of truth was upon us and enter stage left our captain. His bowling this year has been rather better than his batting and this time he delivered an inspired spell. Ably helped by the young grump from Cambridge, the old pro from Uxbridge and some really classy keeping from our coach from Finchley, TCC got back on top. However, the rains were coming. Would the umpires let us get to 20 overs in order to allow a result? Wickets fell (4 to JK) and it rained, hard in the 19th and 20th overs but Mark Williams (our new favourite umpire) allowed play to continue, actually until the 25th over. There was time for the bulky Aussie to drop Ramps (which really helped the demeanour of the young grump) before we came off with the opposition five down and well behind on the D/L run rate. Now it was a question of whether we would get back on at all later in the evening? It started to rain harder and the news from the Bush was extraordinarily in our favour. We had to wait for an hour before the umpires declared that no more play was possible and the league was ours. What had been the problem? North Mid had lost, and we had beaten Stanmore to win the league by 16 points in spite of the weather, our poor record and Ramps. Cue large celebrations!

(Author: Tim Armstrong)

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