Actonians Cricket Club


Actonians Cricket Club 4th XI v Southgate 4 on Sat 02 Sep 2017 at 12.30pm
Actonians Cricket Club Lost

Match report ‘The best-laid plans o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley.’ Robert Burns, ‘To A Mouse’

It all came down to this. 89 points, 17 games, two washouts and one bloke called ‘sunshine’ by Bob Coutts. After three straight wins, the Fours came into their final match of the season knowing that if we won and Wembley lost, we would be going up. Our opponents at Boddington were Southgate, against whom we’d contested a tight victory at the other end of the north circular in early July. Stripped of Vorn Robertson, the hero of that match, but bolstered by the presence of Tim Wallace, Tom Whear, Ali Slaughter and Keir Smith on the teamsheet, we came into this one with hopes higher than Aneeq Malik has been for the majority of this season.

Saturday morning dawned, and it felt good. Wasif had screamed encouragements at me from his car as he passed me on my morning jog; Jonesy was determined to colour-code the scorebook; Roger and Aneeq had squabbled over who got the privilege of providing a curry for tea. Despite the loss of both Wallace and Smith prior to the start of play, we were on ebullient form as the squad convened for a team photo, which segued neatly into a catching warm up that reminded everyone that Paul Patel is every bit as agile as he is verbally incoherent. Around this time, we noticed that Andrew Maben had slagged off the Boddington pitch as ‘the worst in the league’ on the Actonians Facebook group. A Maben family member being petulant? Surely not. In other news, the Pope is a Catholic and bears shit in the woods. Anyway, Billy had won the toss and decided we should have a bat.

Tom Whear and Sam Boughton got us off to a solid start, but two things then became apparent fairly quickly. First, the pitch’s bounce was more irregular than Robbo’s bowel movements the morning after a lengthy session in the Jubraj. This made it very hard to know whether to play forward or back, and meant that their bowling was made to look better than it actually was. Second, the outfield was, like Billy, expansive, somewhat slow, and extremely hairy round the extremities. Our batsmen were not getting value for shots, and Bobby ‘The Brown Mike Atherton’ Uberoi made the astute point from his spectator’s vantage that this would reduce the par score by some 30 runs. Nevertheless, our two openers persisted, although both were out before we’d reached 35. At this point Shahid and Ali took the crease, and both looked comfortable at first, but as the third wicket fell around the 55-run mark, things started to look slightly precarious.

It was at this point that the wheels did not so much simply come off as spontaneously self-combust with almost zero provocation. Ali was inexplicably bowled through the gate, Will was the victim of a blinding catch at silly mid-off, Aneeq got bowled, Billy bombed it, Roheet and Smithy picked out fielders to give simple chances, and poor Bob Coutts was absolutely plumb in front to a very ordinary ball. Only Roger Masterton (First of His Name, Keeper of the Wicket, King of the Kiwimen, The Hawaiian-Shirted Hero) withstood the extremely mediocre Southgate bowling attack. He ended not out on 17, but we were bowled out for 94. It was a sorry state of affairs all round.
Spurred on by the merry and only occasionally abusive support of numerous wellwishers, including erstwhile team stalwarts such as Andrew Garner and Sami Chishti, we went out with serious fire in our bellies to bowl 10 overs before tea. We struck twice in the first three overs, once from a run-out and once from Aneeq beating their opener for pace. After this, things quietened down, and they negotiated their way to 24-2 at the break. Not content with desperately holding our innings together, Roger had concocted not one but two curries with rice, as well as a very respectable array of sandwich offerings and pudding. The Fours have rarely had it so good. We came out after tea substantially more sluggish than we had gone in. Meanwhile Sami Chishti said words to the effect of, “I came here to drink Pimm’s from a tin and bully Roheet Gupta, and I’ve finished my Pimm’s”; sure enough, Roheet’s spell was punctuated with glorious volleys of helpful suggestions from Sami, while Debbie, Katie and Lucy looked on with a more equivocal demeanour as we toiled away.

For a time, it looked as though we might be in with a sniff. Coutts took a wicket shortly after we returned (although he also joined the esteemed club of Boddington TfL Dangermen by having a ball hit onto the Piccadilly Line), and Smithy had his man bowled with an absolute jaffa. It was a great shame that we spilled a couple of chances at crucial moments, as these could have really changed the tide of the game, but Tom Whear, Aneeq, Smithy and Roheet all acquitted themselves well without quite being able to find the magic ball we so desperately needed. They say it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, but by the time Shahid came on to bowl a final over, Smithy was warming up his vocal cords. They reached the target of 95 with four wickets down in the 31st over. Our season was done – Wembley had lost, but promotion had escaped us for another year. Man of the match Roger (for application with the bat and a series of quality stops behind the sticks), dick of the day Andrew Maben for jinxing the hallowed Boddington turf.

Historian E P Thompson once wrote that we are in constant danger of ‘the enormous condescension of posterity’. There is a real danger that we look back on this season and ones before it as an inglorious history of the club’s least able cricketers trying and failing to achieve their full potential, despite having ample opportunities to progress, and consider these seasons wasted time. We see it differently. This is a group of individuals of all ages, races, creeds and philosophies that has had an absolutely incredible time enjoying each other’s company this summer, and which has seen real and tangible transfer of cricketing skill from old to young and vice versa. The bonds we have formed and the lessons we have learned will stand us in good stead for seasons to come, and while our square cuts might remain uppish and our chat will definitely remain mediocre, we will come back next year every bit as hungry for success as we finished this year. We’ll see you in 2018.

Actonians Cricket Club 4th XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
2nb 11w 3b 3lb 
for 10 wickets

(40.1 overs)
Sam Boughton b Patel 7 28 32 21.88 1
Tom Whear ct Parmar 15 34 27 55.56
Shahid Akram ct Parsons 18 34 16 112.50
Alistair Slaughter b Parsons 6 31 24 1 25.00
Will Yates ct Parmar 1 13 7 14.29 1
Aneeq Malik b Parmar 3 12 8 37.50
Roger Masterton Not Out  17 73 59 1 28.81
Bilal Hussain ct Thompson 6 28 21 28.57
Roheet Gupta ct Gordon 1 14 19 5.26
Steve Smith ct Gordon 0 11 9 0
Bob Coutts lbw Patel 1 14 14 7.14

Southgate 4 Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy

Southgate 4 Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
4nb 7w 3b 1lb 
for 4 wickets
81 (30.4 overs)
Grange b A.Malik 4 15 8 50.0
Gordon run out (W.Yates) 2 6 4 50.0
Patel ct S.Boughton bld. B.Coutts 5 43 26 19.23
McLaughlin Not Out  54 66 81.82
Thompson b S.Smith 8 31 19 42.11
Syed Not Out  8

Actonians Cricket Club 4th XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Aneeq Malik6.0121121.003.50
Tom Whear4.01500.001.25
Bob Coutts5.0114114.002.80
Will Yates4.001200.003.00
Steve Smith6.0118118.003.00
Alistair Slaughter2.001200.006.00
Roheet Gupta3.00900.003.00
Shahid Akram0.40400.006.00