This was the last league game of the season and as far as we were concerned, it was pretty much a 'dead rubber' as we were already guaranteed to be safe from relegation, due to the previous week's win over Indian Gymkhana. Crouch End, however, needed to win the game to give themselves a chance of grabbing the third promotion spot, so it was still a competitive fixture.
Crouch End won the toss and stuck us in, to my surprise. Having had a discussion in the bar the previous week with Phil Eastland and Fergus King, I had apparently tacitly agreed to them opening the batting this week, so I decided to let them try to turn back the years to see if they could replicate a 200 odd partnership from years gone by. They didn't put on quite that many, but did get the team off to a very solid, if unspectacular start, averaging 4 an over and managing to put on 86 before Phil ("Headless") smacked one to extra cover. Phil had hit 46 from 60 balls, including 6 fours and 1 six. Fergus was a little more cautious, having taken 18 balls to get off the mark, but bizarrely got out for exactly the same score in exactly the same fashion to the same fielder and bowler. His 46 came from 81 balls, with 3 fours and 1 six. Fergus' innings, in particular, had been a lesson for the kids in how to open the batting (according to Faz, at least). A number of other players got into the teens and we managed to set a target of 183, which seemed the bare minimum on our bottom pitch on a day like that.
Crouch End got off to a bit of a flyer in response, so much so that I felt I could only afford to give Luke, Archie and Suneth four overs each, which was a shame, considering their recent exceptional performances for the club. Faz, who had been moaning earlier about not been giving a chance to bowl this season by me, bowled 4 very tight overs for 10 runs, but didn't produce any wickets, so I again had to change things. Has and Jag both got us a wicket and when I finally turned to Fergus, he got us a wicket first ball and ended up with a wicket maiden. He'd been telling only to use him, if we were desperate. Sometimes I shouldn't listen to players. Crouch End ended up reaching their target after only 31.1 overs of a 45 over game and got the 10 points they needed to gain promotion to Division 1, so congratulations to them.
I wasn't that disappointed, though. We played relatively well and it was a good-natured game with a nice opposition and was a nice way to finish the league season.
Author: Matt O'Toole