1. Cricket is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy (Stephen Fry)
2. FOOTBALL offers the world clichés; RUGBY produces facial deformity; HOCKEY provides an acceptable outlet for psychotic violence; CRICKET alone breeds myths... More quotes here.


Winter Pursuits: Islip 23 May (Season: 1999)
Report by: by A Freezing Guinness

Match Report: Click here to add your own comment  |  See all comments

Andy Bush shows off his ball control......
Morning breaks and I put my thermal top on, pack the car with extra jumpers and forget to bring my hipflask... Yes it is time for another cricket match. Collect Mr Bush from the tube and head north to Oxford. The journey promises much for the day as we are held up by crashes of one kind or another to sharpen our reflexes, but we make it to the ground in one piece to find our loyal supporters wrapped in more rugs than you would find in Paul Daniels' wardrobe. The Islip ground is tucked behind the village hall, half way round the smallest one way system I have ever seen, there were two problems from the start. A party being held by one of the local residents appears to have taken all the parking within the town and the groundsman must have won the lottery and upped sticks as the outfield had more grass on it than Laurence Dallaglio could have sold in a year, but anyway, to the game.

Following the withdrawal of both planned openers within minutes of receiving their pep talk emails midweek, Messrs Fletcher and Mustafa found themselves opening the innings and a fine start they made too as after five overs we haven't lost a wicket - we've only scored about twelve runs, but then you can't ask for everything. Unfortunately as too often with the feeling of growing optimism comes the slap in the face of reality, Fletch falls to a ball which 'moved about a foot' and Mr Shaw soon returns as well falling to another good catch behind the wicket. Mr Bush now comes to the wicket and the match takes a change for the better, in a manner reminiscent of the first game of the season Salix CC sees a 'stand' develop. Before we know it we have scored fifty, then Mr Mustafa scores fifty, then we reach one hundred and before you know it the season's record stand of 97 is broken as the scores rockets forward. Unfortunately, it couldn't last and Mr Bush is bowled for a creditable 44.
Next up is Mr Foster who feeling hard done by after being bowled early on last week has asked for a turn up the order. Your reporter was in the pavilion padding up for a couple of balls so cannot claim knowledge of precisely what happens next but suffice it to say that Mr Foster was soon back in the pavilion without troubling the scorer. Next up came the debut of Mr Swindells for the team (with many claims of 'I haven't played for years') and he bats through with Mr Mustafa to the end of the innings. The highlightof this being the discussion on the boundary of whether or not to tell Mr Mustafa of his approaching century. We decide to tell him on 98 so that he can complete the first ever century for the club in style with a straight six over the bowlers head or some such stroke... It wasn't meant to be - a nudged single, followed by a bit of over-excited fielding leading to an overthrow gave Mr Mustafa his place in the history books with a score of 107 not out. The Salix record books are in the process of being rewritten, but four games into the season Mr Mustafa finds himself:

Top of the individual innings (replacing Mr Hewitt 80 in 1993)
Fifth on the season's runs list (target 222 Mr Orr-Ewing, 1995)
150 runs before the end of May - will it ever be beaten?
Current average - 168

At this point we retired to the local pub for tea and an opportunity to warm up before taking to the field. So defending a total of 185 the team tore themselves from the warmth of the pub with the distinct possibility of a win in their sights.

So Mr Jacobs opened the bowling to the member of the opposition who had caused most offence during our batting by directing a continuous stream of chatter to Mr Mustafa. He quickly succeeded in frustrating the remainder of us by walking three yards up the pitch after playing each stroke but managed to make it back to his ground even to the time the stumps were hit on a quick return from the captain. After half a dozen tight overs from Messrs Jacobs and Bush the game appeared to be slipping away from Salix, no wickets had fallen and the batting side had taken advantage of their ability to play and miss or play edges into the gaps to keep their run rate pretty much on target for the 186 they needed. A bowling change was needed to shake things up a touch and Mr Foster came on up the hill with Mr Mustafa at the other end. Within a couple of overs the difference had been made - Mr Foster forced an edge from our nemesis and Mr Mustafa was looking dangerous at the other end. 
Unfortunately the captain's comments re dropping catches at the previous week's game continued to haunt him as he dropped their other opener twice at point. Anyway the spirit was in the side and we still believed we had the game won. The captain brought himself on to replace Mr Foster as the cigarettes and the hill began to take their toll and in his second over he made the first inroads by bowling the man he had twice dropped. Within a couple of overs Mr Mustafa got the wicket he deserved when Mr Shaw took another catch behind the stumps.
Soon after Mr Mustafa gave a textbook display of how to hold on to a catch at point off the captain to reinforce his poor fielding display. Two balls later and the next wicket went as the captain bowled the new batsman off his pads. By this time Mr Bush had been brought back on down the hill to take advantage of the lower order and the darkening evening and following his success the captain came off in favour of Mr Swindells who had some work to do himself having also dropped two chances. Within four overs it was all over as Mr Bush had taken three wickets and run their last threatening batsman out going for a quick single.
It was left to Mr Swindells to take the final wicket when Mr Shaw succeeded in stumping their last man. It was over a victory in the end by forty or so runs - yet more work for Fletch on the web site as we record a confidence boosting victory ahead of the trials of the tour.

Salix CC versus Islip at Islip on 23-05-1999(40 Over Game)
Salix CC (batting first)185for 4off40overs Match Won
Islip160all outoff34.1overs
NoPlayerScoreHow Out
1.Simon Mustafa105Not Out
2.Tony Fletcher2Bowled
3.Ben Shaw4Caught
4.Andy Bush44Bowled
5.Andy Foster0Bowled
6.Matt Swindells11Not Out
7.Dominic Guinness0Did Not Bat
8.Dave Henig0Did Not Bat
9.Richard Cox0Did Not Bat
10.Steve Jacobs0Did Not Bat
1.Andy Bush1012137.0020.002.10
2.Steve Jacobs60280--4.67
3.Simon Mustafa7025125.0042.003.57
4.Andy Foster4021121.0024.005.25
5.Dominic Guinness6034311.3312.005.67
6.Matt Swindells1.10414.007.003.43
Richard Cox1catch
Matt Swindells1catch
Matt Swindells2drops
Richard Cox1drop

Ben (caught for two) claps Simon, who gets Salix CC's first

Richard Cox shows David Henig how to signal a wide.

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