Saturday saw Teddington take on Alexandra Park at a damp Bushy Park. The 1sts had already had to call off their match due to waterlogged square, but lucky for the 4s, the second ground drains quicker, so our game was still on. 4s Captain, Matt O'Toole lost the toss for the third time running and we were stuck in, which was what we would have done, considering it was cloudy and kind of damp.
We eventually got underway only around 1/2 hour late. Even so, things were slightly delayed at 1pm when everyone except 4s captain, Matt O'Toole, were standing in the ground, ready to start. Matt had been tied up in the clubhouse, trying to deal with the odd case of two strangers turning up saying they'd been promised a game by someone called "Jay". After further investigation, it turned out we couldn't blame the lesser Mr Lockwood for the mixup as it transpired that this Jay worked for Gumtree and they'd simply answered an ad for players and were told to turn up to TW11 0EA and to ask for "Eric, the game manager". What? After Tooley had explained to them that that might have meant Teddington Town, he finally got his pads back on and we could start. As it turned out, we ended up playing with 10, so he really should have hung onto one of them.
If we had expected that it was going to be a tricky test of our ability to bat doggedly, this was looking quite likely to be the case when Rob Eveson, who (in only his third appearance of the season) was cleaned up by a yorker. TCC: 12-1. Tooley and Neil D'Mello then set about trying to rebuild. We'd got to 74-2 when Neil (8) skied a short one, Matt and extras having contributed the bulk of the rest of the runs by that point. Faz Ahmed joined Matt and before long, we'd got 90 when drinks were taken, with Matt having picked up his first 50 of the season.
Immediately after the break, Alexandra Park's captain (a nice chap called Ashish) tried to break the partnership by introducing a zippy off spinner. However, Tooley, who had rather superstitiously ignored the insipid orange refreshments on offer, obviously felt relaxed enough to see the newbie off in one tumultuous over which went 6-dot-6-6-4-1, including his first ever slog swept six. 23 off one over! Nice bit of impetus. Faz and Matt then continued to accumulate runs, including plenty of boundaries and Matt found himself in the enviable position of sitting on his highest ever career score as he raced past his personal best of 83. The opposition then began the usual wittering you see in these situations about the "nervous nineties". Matt was patient enough, though, to not let it get to him as he picked up a few more runs and reached his first ever century. You can see Matt getting to his ton on our Youtube channel. One of the opposition then started amusingly chattering about the "nervous hundreds". Following Matt's rather modest celebration, he quickly departed for 102, having hit seven 6s and eight 4s along the way. Nice captain's knock that!
At this point, TCC had a firm foundation, but only Faz (49) and young Oliver Kahn (24) then made any meaningful contributions with the bat, Faz being his usual beligerent self and Oliver (on debut) toying nicely with the opposition by continually lifting the ball over the infield into the gaps. After a bit of a late clatter of wickets, Tooley decked on 223-8.
We only had ten men, including a friend of Matt's who hadn't played for 20 years! Still, we had a number of bowlers to choose from and runs on the board, so it looked defendable. Alexandra Park opened with an older fella and someone who allegedly had just been demoted from their 2s and might well have been determined to prove a point. Taus and Oliver opened the bowling for us and whilst they performed admirably, the opposition were patient and selective with their shots. And that, unfortunately, is the way their innings panned out. They just kept themselves within the required run rate, despite Tooley throwing seven bowlers at them. Faz returned the best figures for us 4-0-24-3 and whilst we were always in it and managed to get them 6 down, they managed to chase it down with exactly 6 balls to spare.
An extra man in the field would certainly have made a difference and could have meant that we'd have ended up with 4 points, instead of zero. Still, it was an entertaining and good natured game. Their captain described it later as the "nicest game he'd ever played in" - albeit Tooley was letting him share his jug at the time.
You can view the scorecard here