Match Data vs Gents of West London on 2024-06-16 at Boston Manor (Season 2024)

  • Result: Lost
  • Salix: 132 runs for 9 wickets from 35 overs
  • Gents of West London: 133 for 7 wickets from 27 overs
  • Game Type: 35 Overs Game (Salix Batted First)

Match Scorecard

Make mine a triple

Report by Rory

11 gallant members of the Salix faithful met once again to battle against old foes, the Gents of West London.

A damp wicket, tricky overhead conditions, undulating topography, and the not-so-lovely hum of the M4 left a very tricky decision for captain Raj at the toss. Though I’m sure he would have loved to unpick the mysteries of Boston Manor, Teen Wolf’s late arrival forced his hand, and we would have to bat.

When TFC and Rory went out both were met with challenging conditions. A slow pitch with slow bowling can only mean one thing: slow scoring. A few overs of scratching around from the openers meant that they had to turn to a vertical approach. This turned out to be the only way to score on a ground that belonged in a Hockney painting. After a fair few overs and a couple of boundaries, Rory was dismissed after a punch over mid-off was caught by one of the more portly Gents with a good catch over his head.

Ben, in at #3, wielding his new, heavily manicured bat, encountered a very sticky wicket that seemed to bounce whenever and however it wanted. This would turn out to be an issue for more than one of our batsmen. Both Ben and Teen Wolf got out playing similar shots, falling victim to the wicket and chipping up to mid-wicket. At this point, TFC was joined by CK. These two appeared to be playing on a completely different surface than the rest of us. TFC pulled a ball so well that it would likely trigger the average speed check on the M4. The next time he did, a Gent tried to stop it, at the cost of any feeling in his left hand. After the Captain was caught on a very impressive 44, CK saw a flurry of partners come and go. Two ducks in a row left Salix looking quite shaky at 102-6. Despite some late runs from CK, batsmen #8, #9, and #10 managed 9 runs between them. Going in as #11, Dills made it halfway out to the wicket before realizing that it had been the final ball. After 35 overs, Salix were 132-9, not a disastrous total considering the conditions.

Having returned from what I’m told is very bad hay fever, and not just the 3-month hangover sometimes called gardening leave, Ben was very keen to set high standards in the field. This led to post-Seeni Sambol fielding practice. In true Salix style, this was… mixed. Syed, having found the previous catch far too easy, wanted the temperature raised. Reader, as you can imagine, the peppering that Syed received was unlikely to raise any of that earlier confidence. This did not come close to the near decapitation of Ben following the middling of one by Rory, a shame that this kind of clean hitting wasn’t particularly on show in the middle.

Wickets, wickets, wickets. We all knew that if we were to defend this total, only one thing would do. TFC turned to the burgeoning partnership of Syed and Teen Wolf. Are these two our very own Broad and Anderson, Ambrose and Walsh, Lillee and Thompson? With the pitch being grassy, sticky and uncovered, maybe even Larwood and Voce. Whatever comparison you land on, it is hard to understate how well these two bowled. After 6 overs, we had the Gents on the ropes at 17-2. Imagine that. Syed, bowling up the hill, delivered what I believe is his best performance in a Salix shirt. A tight line and good length, allowing the pitch to apply the variation, resulted in figures of 4-17 off 7 overs. TFC bowled very well in his 6 overs and undoubtedly deserved more than the 1 wicket. It was a pleasure to witness the much-anticipated return of Mike. After what is best described as a rocky start, he only went for 3 runs in his final two overs, one of which was a maiden. Despite our best efforts bowling and fielding, the arrival of Mr. Black Gloves sealed our fate. Despite cries of “are those regulation,” he settled quickly on the tricky surface. Bowling from TFC, the Saibourg and Dills did little to stem what quickly started to seem inevitable. There was a brief respite from the aerial bombardment, this came with Dills and his often unplayable spin, getting true turn with variable bounce made him nigh-on impossible to get away. However, despite the return of the openers, a brief spell from CK, and the fall of a couple of late wickets, the Gents chased down our total in 26.2 overs.

Despite the unfortunate result, there was much that us followers of Salix Alba Caerulea can be proud of. In particular, the energy and effort displayed in the field were of a standard rarely witnessed by this writer. Ben was a large part of this, setting standards and energy levels throughout, despite some highly suspect banter. One comment comes to mind, following a Gent being bowled due to some highly dubious bounce.  Ben shouting, from long on, “One man misses, does the other man get?… DOUBLE 12…. I can’t speak, I can’t speak,” to which the already annoyed batsman answered with bemusement. Fielding was sharp and mistakes were few, (Irwin) a human ball magnet at backward point and Krutik once again excellent with the gloves. One of the two drops nearly cut Mike in half, whilst the other…

Following the game, we joined the opposition at The Plough, for a few pre-EUROs beers. As per usual, we righted the wrongs of the world, plotted the future of Salix, and debated TFC’s cologne, ‘Sex Panther.’ Apparently, 60% of the time, it works every time. All in all, it was a good day out. The Gents are all good guys and a pleasure to spend time with, both at the pub and on the pitch.

Pictured Mike picking up his 2023 Bowler of the Year Award