25th Anniversary Day at Heston (BA Concorde Club)
Day Report by Les: our man with the Golden Biro
Maybe it’s the tiredness of your overworked correspondent. Maybe it’s one too many matches under Captain Angry. But the worldly wonder with which I joined Salix nearly a decade ago appears to have faded in recent years.
These days I liken myself more to an aging Ofsted school inspector: turn up once in a blue moon, complain that things aren’t how they were back in my day, write a scathing report berating senior talent, and bugger off not be seen again for another few years.
Onwards, then, to the Salix CC 25th Anniversary. Already the £35 Uber taxi fare to Heston had me pining for the days when this was all a cheap and cheerful train ride to Greenford. Those hazy summers of a leisurely 1.30pm start, hot showers and scoreboards, are now the stuff of legend and folklore.
But enough nostalgia. Fast forward seven-odd-years and here we all were gathered under a commercial airline flight path, kit strewn all over the show, with more minor games going on around us than an inter-school sport’s day.
Time too had done its work. Dazzler, the once charismatic Guardianista now had a delightful sword-clutching junior patrolling the boundary line. Steve-O, the once roaring opening quick, was now chairing the children’s Frisbee tournament. Then there were the plethora of new faces: Nelson, Puff Daddy and Delilah to name just a few.
So what to make of it all? Well, the clipboard was out. The brow was furrowed. And as we reunite in 2015, not 1990 when this great club was founded, I offer you five Buzzfeed-style observations of Salix CC 2015 that “are certain to blow your mind”. Well, they won’t. But then those things never do…
1. Salix has acquired strength and depth
I say this with tantamount honesty. This is a team with talent up-and-down the order the likes of which I certainly haven’t seen before. “Nonsense – your mind is playing tricks on you,” said Elvis as we caught up at square leg in the second innings. But watching Nelson take guard a foot-or-two outside the popping crease in the first innings and put CK1 and a devilishly quick Puff Daddy to all parts of West London was mesmerising. Gents, where did you find this lad? He’s the greatest gift Australia has given us since the 2015 Ashes squad. Ah yes, he comes recommended by our other 2007 counterpart, the inimitable Flossie. Miss you, Flossie. But cheers for that…
2. Roger is still bending balls
Let’s talk about Rog. I recall sharing a small wooden hut with him and Yesterday’s Man in Sweden in 2007. Eight years later the guy’s bowling is just as puzzling as that sleeping arrangement. Straight, fast, swinging late, always on target. Bananas. Pinner Housewives. Labour constituencies in Scotland. Every crap metaphor has been used to describe it but nothing quite captures the feeling of being utterly certain you’re in line, moving forward only to hear the clattering of stumps. Just in case there was doubt, I heard them twice in both innings. His five wickets in the match come as little surprise. All the more infuriating as he’s such a nice guy.
3. There’s nothing wrong with captaincy by consensus
“There are more captains here than at a global shipping conference,” a disgruntled fielder remarked midway through the second innings. But Delilah should be credited. His captaining was sensational, the right mix of “back your men and leave them the f-ck to get on with it”. This tactic, of course, is what Alastair Cook long used to defend his own “hands off” technique when England got perpetually beaten. But Deepak proved it could be done with a smile. And the result is what you see on the scoreboard above.
4. We have some belligerent batsman
Arsey and Daveski. Relaxed, refreshing, funny and engaging. But put a helmet on them and something happens. No, this isn’t a despatch from their former lovers. Both men are in the batting form of their life. Arsey’s initial 28 including a glorious cover drive was something to behold, and Daveski (31 & 18*) is a chugging run machine. They finished the game with what they deserve. And their performances along with Delilah (32), exCGC (35) and Nelson (62), ensured the opponents were never quite in it.
5. Yesterday’s Man and his moon ball is still the don
Yes, we’ve seen it a thousand times. We’ve watched those balls glide to the top of the Lords net and make their way downwards – slowly, tragically, like a captain sinking with his ship. And yet, Yesterday’s Man’s spinners are still doing the business. So too is his enthusiasm for the game. His role these days maybe more non-executive director but he is still the lifeblood of the club. We salute you.
All in all, it was delightful to see the potent combination of new hungry talent and the established veterans putting in their best. Top all that with glorious weather; an exemplary lunch of BBQ burgers and jugs of bitter and the last quarter of a century is certainly worth celebrating. The next 25 years could be too.
The Winstonettes 167-7 then 125-4 = 292
The Dillanaires 138-7 then 81-3 = 219