Full Scorecard: http://kingsroadcsc.play-cricket.com/website/results/3170093
Brave St George battled the Dragon valiantly and slew the dreadful beast. Sadly, King’s Road couldn’t replicate the achievement of England’s patron saint as, despite some stupendously heroic batting, they felt the keen burn of Dragon flames torch their run chase.
On a pitch described not unfairly by Ali Tyzack as ‘The Gaza Strip’, skipper for the day Jamie Keating was only too happy to put the Dragons in to bat. The theory went that the T20-specialist opposition would not be used to playing on such a minefield.
Alas, dragons are covered in hard scales, and they adapted with aplomb. The Road had struggled for early wickets a week earlier against the Sunday Times, and it was hoped that Chris Brown-er (post-holiday) would serve up a breakthrough tastier than that shoddy tagine.
But, delicious reader, the cricketing gods are cruel, and they punished CB’s negligence of God’s good game as the Dragons raced to 49-0. Step forth fellow opener Lewis Robinson, who claimed the first wicket, caught well by Keats at mid-off.
The disgusting, smelly, treacherous Matt Cocken was the new man, and he wasted no time playing ‘swing and miss’ and ‘nick everything to third man’ to the disgust of Jamie Williams – who had decided to take the dangerous pitch out of the equation by dealing exclusively in full tosses.
The other Dragons opener was looking in imperious form, unsurprising when one considers that he is apparently a Luxembourg international. According to World Atlas Luxembourg is famous for castles, cuisine and ranking very highly on the happiness index.
Jamie Keating knew that he couldn’t do much about the cuisine or castles (yet) so he settled for making one Luxembourg national that bit more miserable. The ball was absolutely smeared off the slingy MalingAliT/Malinganderson/Ali T through mid-on, and Keats fell to one knee (where he does all of his best work) to cling on to a blinding catch.
Cocken would follow soon afterwards, some dodgy wide-calling inspiring an apoplectic JW to demolish his stumps. A controversial moment followed in the next over, Ali T inducing an edge from the new man which flew to E. Small but was bizarrely given not out. Undeterred, Ali T then had two huge LBW shouts nonchalantly ignored too. No matter, Mayo, the batsman, only went on to take guard 134 times, survey the field 112 times and score 103 runs.
MIchael Rossi took the next wicket, another brilliant catch taken on the run by CB, before he chipped in with his own wicket, the ball spooned up to a hungry Jackson-Eastwood, who wolfed it down at mid-wicket as it were a Rossi low-carb option. There was still time for Ali T to drop a sensational 3 catches in 5 balls off the bowling of a now-purple-with-rage-and-borderline-homicidal JW, before he atoned with a sharp run out moments later. Dragons finished on an imposing 271/6 from the 40 overs.
Jackson-Eastwood and Robinson strode out to bat, knowing that while the task was intimidating, this was a chance to ascend to the KRCSC pantheon. Jackson-Eastwood though, was determined to avoid glory at all costs, and humbly chipped the ball back to the bowler for 2.
This served only to invigorate Robinson, who rocked onto the back foot time and again to smash the ball through the on side for boundary after boundary. JW joined him at the crease, and also set about upping the rate, cracking a couple of 4’s and a 6 before unfortunately playing on for a swift 24. A JW in form is a rare sight, and the spectators were left saddened and thirsty for more as he departed.
Shaminda De Silva strode out to join Robinson, and showed the Road just what they had been missing by blitzing 113 in partnership with the opener. Sham struck ten 4’s and two 6’s in a savage assault on the Dragons bowling – including one straight six that drew excited squeals from the sizeable Road support (Small may have been squealing with delight or just releasing gas from all the Prosecco he had consumed – we may never know which).
The Dragons bowlers were sweating now, looking wildly around them for encouragement. Luckily, one of their own fielders was on hand to raise the mood with inspiring phrases including ‘Come on! It’s not that hard to pitch up’ and ‘Oh, that over was a bit better actually.’
Entering the last ten overs with a very real chance of victory, Road were rocked by the loss of Sham, clean bowled for an enterprising 76 from 51. Beckett entered the fray and tried manfully to up the rate, but was bowled by Kotecha.
Elliot Small was next to the crease, and he picked up a couple of classy boundaries. At the other end, Robinson had been decimating everything that came at him: now driving with style and timing while continuing to cut and pull to great effect, you could smell the fear of the opposition as his all-out attack showed no glimmer of abating.
Eventually Small would perish too for 18, but not before Robinson raised his bat for his century (brought up with a 6) in a performance already being lauded by contemporaries: ‘if Lara, Bell, Gower and Buttler had a right-handed, ginger love child – it would probably be Robbo.’
King’s Road would fall short with 259/5 from their 40 overs, but make no mistake, this was a very, very impressive run chase against quality opposition.
A second defeat in two Sundays for King’s Road, but packed as it was with grit, flair and a never-say-die attitude, a great deal of room for optimism for the future.
A haiku for the MOTM:
Gosh, he can play cricket well,
He bats pretty good.
Author: Peter Jackson-Eastwood