Hampton Hill 2nd XI vs Egham

13 Jul 2023

Young guns having some fun!

At the risk of boring you (I will) this fixture took me back.  A very long way back.  At one point I was on a hat trick (got that in early but to be fair the last time this happened was in the 1980’s) and a certain Jake Pooley came out to face the music.  Poignant moment.  As a surly teenager in 1987 I made my Turnham Green first team debut opening with his grandad.  Yes, his grandad. This Jake Pooley guy had a beard and everything. Anyway it was a woeful delivery that was tickled down the legside. 

The Hill arrived at Egham after negotiating slip road mayhem with a youthful side (author excepted) packed with potential.  

Hampton Hill won the toss and impressive on the day captain Michael Virile Kohli’ Murton chose to bowl.  They have a superb deck at Egham and we knew that tight bowling would be vital to make the chase manageable. Gorgeous George Barrett opening with the Murton. To be fair we gave their burly left hander a bit much width early on and he played some nice drives down the slope.  The Barrett is made for left handers and he soon got stuck in dismissing two in a row with late outswing to them.  An impressive spell.  Our ground fielding was excellent throughout and this was spearheaded by Chris Webb who must have saved 30 runs with his work at cover and point. At two down the top league scored came to the crease.  He is sixteen years old (the story has come full circle!) and is immensely talented (maybe not!) he began to unfurl some lovely shots. Using his feet driving powerfully down the ground.  He also ran superbly.  As a collective we had made the decision not to chat politely to him even though in the last game the first thing he said to us when arriving at the crease was that he was a sponsored cricketer. I wholeheartedly agreed with this group decision. The J of Ayley bowled a tight spell and was replaced by the senior pro and George by young gun for hire Ryan Exworth. Ryan bowled a very tidy spell hitting consistent lines and lengths and controlling the run rate.  I totally agreed with the decision to not speak to the sponsored bat but when I got him out caught by the telescopic arms of Dan Mac I let out a few too many squeals of enjoyment.  Not directed at him but really because I have spent a lifetime being hit into the tennis courts  of West London and every wicket is special to me.  Young gun replaced young gun and Theo M. came on to bowl from the pavilion end.  A superb man of the match spell from the youngster hitting superb lines and lengths and drying up the run rate.  Their total was based on the excellent batting of the left hander who was slowed down but held the innings together. 

All in all we were happy.  Mike Murton has introduced the ‘black box’ to 2nd team cricket.  Any mistakes are placed in the box and only talked about after the game.  The best and most honest thing we can say about young gun Exworths fielding performance was ‘we gonna need a bigger box, more of a shipping container sort of thing’ ’effectively dropping two catches neither of which, fortunately, had much impact.  A special mention must go to the wicket keeper formerly known as Ed ‘cymbals’ Cinderly who produced an exceptionally tidy display of wicketkeeping and really set the standards for what overall was an excellent performance in the field.  Good catch from Oisin also.    

What would you say if I said cheese on toast, scones, spring rolls, sausage sandwiches, lemon cake etc etc etc.  You would probably say Egham tea.  And you would be right and what a delight.  Best i have ever had.  This was really in keeping with the old school great welcome we had during our stay. This included complimentary sun cream on the dressing room table and a jug of beer brought over to us after the match by their captain.  Superb old school hospitality they are a credit to themselves and the game itself.  

Cinders and Oisin opened up and did a good job of blunting their crystal tip led attack.  Stout in defence and working anything off the stumps.  Cinders perished edging to slip bringing in . Adam ‘my girlfriend is in attendance’ Oliver.  He has recently been searching for his mojo and this may be it.  After a shaky start he found his rhythm and began to dominate. To be fair his girlfriend wasn’t really paying attention and missed this youngish gun baring his guns and blasting the spinner straight back over his head.  By all means necessary with extreme prejudice.  It was an unlike Adam shot but as a club we have done this talented man no favours constantly denigrating his batting and focussing on the dab.  It has been a self fulfilling prophecy at times and I'm not sure Adam always goes to the crease confident.  He should from now on. This was a dominant performance and proof that love conquers all.  And then he got out.  From this point we were always a little below the run rate and the draw looked most likely especially as Chris Webb fell to their leg spinner off a contested catch which Oisin later confirmed had been fairly caught.  Why he did not say that as square leg umpire at the time no-one knows!

Three notable batting points.  Virile Mike Kohli attempting a ‘interesting, that looks like a Boeing 747 head in the air smash to the leg spinner to no avail and myself getting out with 1.1 overs to go and rightfully being sent off with over exuberant squeals from at least three of their players.  

This left the iceman Barrett to face their rapid but on this occasion wayward fast bowler and negotiate the final over 8 down.  In his own words he ‘embraced the state of total emotional redundancy and saw him off with ease.  We didn’t win but we didn’t lose.  The team were on a high. Everyone who had come in had contributed and there was a vibrant atmosphere throughout.

Lastly, we need to get a filmy frog box sort of thing.  I religiously watch that Sanderstead feed (and why not?) and reckon ours would quickly garner high viewing figures.  They seem to have a few characters in their teams but no way near the amount of interesting individuals we do.  Would make great watching.