As the minute waltz fades away, it’s time to welcome our many readers, not only from the UK, but around the world! The 24th June started out with a crushing lions defeat to the All Blacks, watched by a core group of Buccs in the King’s Arms on Fulham High Street surrounded by bloody marys and an interesting take on the traditional full English breakfast, now featuring rocket salad…
Once that crushing defeat was out of the way we meandered through the well-heeled streets of Putney and descended on the Ranelagh Gardens entrance of one of the most prestigious private members clubs in London, The Hurlingham Club. A rural enclave stuck in the middle of SW6 to provide the local elites with a safe haven away from the horrors of the Chelsea coffee shops and bakeries.
Skipper Hobbs won the toss and elected to bat first, not least because W. Metcalfe arrived hideously late for the second time this season. Little did we know that winning the toss would be our first and only victory of the day…
The agreed format was as previous at the Hurlingham club 11:30 start declaration match with 20 overs from 17:30. The skipper duly sent out A. Berry and debutant N. Moules to open up on the veritable shirt front of a wicket kindly tended by the army of grounds staff at the Hurlingham Club. The outfield cut to a knee grazing 2mm, usually reserved for croquet. Berry and N. Moules negotiated the opening overs well indeed. Angus in particular taking is time, waiting for eight deliveries before deciding to crush a fours through the covers. The captain was taking great delight in seeing the two openers despatching fours (10 in total) to all corners of the closely shaved outfield. This start promised to provide a 600 run day…. Or did it.
Hurlingham Club opener, R. Hall (38-4), a useful left arm over the wicket swinging it into the right hander, bowled Nick Moules through the gate leaving the Buccaneers 42-1. Still an admirable start to the day. However the collapse that followed will go down in the annals of Buccaneers history as one of our least fine outings. We went from 42-1 to 85 all out with Mr E.Xtras being the third top scorer.
With no one bar the opening partners recording a score of double figures, what we thought was a strong batting line up suddenly collapsed leaving us starting the second innings before we had even retired for lunch. A Berry wilfully threw away his wicket wafting a floater to backward point to fall for 23 (Top Scorer). Stephen Moules looked comfortable and tried to build a real innings batting for 20 minutes before falling for 3 runs. Halkon and S.Leefe were quacking back to the pavilion and Paul Hobson tried in vain to keep the Bucc’s heads above water, scoring a 27 ball, 9 runs. A special mention for latecomer Will Metcalfe, who scored the longest duck of the day at 10 minutes and 14 balls; very unusal for the blacksmith’s son who just two years prior was smashing the ball to all corners of the Hurlingham club before being triggered by the umpire, on his way to a ‘bloody good five-for’. The tail were quickly mopped up and we quickly turned around to try and finish the match before lunch!
The empty stomached Buccaneers took to the field at 12:50 to start to defend our 85 runs on the flattest wicket and quickest outfield we had played on all season. Stephen Moules and Dan Halkon had the unenviable task of opening the attack. Both bowled admirably in the circumstances and Paul Hobson and Will Metcalfe provided excellent help in finishing of the innings after 19 overs. The Hurlingham Club opening bat H Kennedy provided the crowd (among them young Charlie Leefe’s squeeze from a holiday in Corfu; the holiday romanced rekindled in the backdrop of the Hurlingham Club) with a 64 ball 50.
So there it was. A declaration game on a shirt front of a pitch all over before 14:00. Richard ‘Hack’ Gwynn tried to console the team with other stories of Buccaneers failures. The skippers agreed to take lunch and play a T20 in the afternoon to make sure the crowd made the most of their £4000 p.a. gate price.
Following a vast array of different lunch options ranging from a butter chicken curry to roast beef and even a traditional ploughman’s with game terrine; we were ready to take to the stage once more.
The captains agreed that Hurlingham could bat first in order to make a game of it. The Buccaneers tactically opened up with the Leefe Brothers, Simon and Charlie (touring the clubs of the north this winter, singing Motown covers). With a maximum of four overs per bowler the Leefes bowled their full allocation and very tightly and expertly indeed. Charlie in particular giving a masterclass of leg spin with varied flight and spin bamboozling N. Defty, taking his scalp for 2 runs in the second over.
The Buccaneers then ensured everyone had a bowl with particular mention for Nick Moules who managed the difficult task of his first delivery actually pitching behind him. Paul Hobson provided great entertainment with his 5 slower balls per over amassing great figures with three wickets in his final over, posting 29-4 from his spell.
Hurlingham finished their 20 overs with 160 runs. The batting order was randomly selected by an app downloaded by S Moules, and then we were off. With Paul Hobson and Will Metcalfe opening for the Buccs. For the second time that day the Buccaneers opening partnership delivered and posted 61 before Hobbo’s stumped were clattered by J Kennedy. Will followed not long after bowled for 37 and then the famous collapse began once more. Berry, Powell and Hobbs all despatched by the left arm over, Hall. A delightful cameo from Charlie Leefe left the team staring long and hard at Skipper Hobbs for batting him so far down the order in match one. Charlie dutifully impressed his girlfriend on the boundary ropes by peppering the V. Ultimately we were never going to reach the target and ended up on 115-6 in response. So there we were, doubly humiliated but not dispirited, as the Hurlingham Club bar, Hack’s stories, an impromptu golf tournament and a night of debauchery up the King’s Road awaited us.
Timed match scorecard can be found here.
T20 scorecard can be found here.