This was a crucial end of season fixture for Teddington 4s. Win and we were mathematically safe as Indian Gym had to play Alexandra Park the following week, so if we beat them then it would be down to fight between those two teams to see who went down to Divison 3 and we'd have a comfortable cushion between us and the two relegation spots.
It was a warm day. A little muggy, you might say. The grass in the outfield resembled lots of Donald Trump combovers. They'd obviously cut it some weeks before and just left it, so it was looking like a slow outfield and the pitch looked like a horror show. Probably not a good batting strip then.
I won the toss and despite some misgivings because of the warmth, decided to put them in and chase (as we'd beaten them doing the same thing earlier this season). We started with 9, as Abbasi and TK were characteristically late, so Aziz and Saunders opened the bowling for us. The shortage of fielders didn't affect us too much, though, as we took one early wicket, but would have taken another if I could have had a first slip in place.
I managed to hold onto three catches and we also had a couple of umpiring decisions go in our favour, including giving one of their batsmen out caught by yours truly down the legside. I had been pleased with this, as this would have been my first legside take for the club, had Phil not ruined the moment later in the clubhouse by informing me that he'd been standing at Mid On and the ball had clearly clipped the chap's thigh pad. The batsman had obviously realised the same, as he had one hell of a hissy fit whilst storming off the pitch.
Luke Saunders had his best spell for the club that I've witnessed, continually swinging the ball in and moving it off the seam. He returned impressive figures of 8-2-25-6 and at one point was on a hat trick in his final over. He didn't quite get the hat trick, but did finish Indian Gym off with a triple wicket maiden. (TK, when he wasn't disappearing, also bowled well to return 6-1-22-2). Only one or two of their batsmen had shown any real resistance to our attack as we knocked them over in only 27 overs.
When we walked off the field to wait for someone to bring tea along in the boot of a car, the target read 116 for us to chase down. However, whilst everyone else was tucking into their share of Indian Gym's "Curry a la Boot", I checked their scorebook and noticed that the kids they had scoring clearly didn't know what they were doing as they actually had got 123 runs, so I informed their captain and we modified our target to 124. Got to play the game in the right spirit, eh? Whilst checking the scorebook, I also noticed that when we'd shouted TK's name to the scorers as "Tauseef", they'd somehow interpreted this as "Mouse Id"! as that is what was written in their scorebook. So I informed the team during tea that "Mouse" was now to be TK's new nickname.
The slightly inflated score didn't prove to be an obstacle, though, to our opening pair of Dilan Camball and Phil "Headless" Eastland as they both set out about their jobs in a workmanlike fashion, blocking and bashing appropriately. We were cruising along at around 5 an over before Dilan (42) was held at Long On to a good low diving catch. By that time, though, we were 112-1 and only needed a few more for the win and guaranteed safety. Hasan Aziz joined Phil in the middle and Phil suitably finished the game with a six over long on.
So job done and next week's game at home to Crouch End is now effectively a dead rubber for us. Still, relief all round!
Author: Matt O'Toole