First things first: I want to marry Greg Willis. You’ll soon see why.
Let me set the scene for our meet cute. For those of you who haven’t been, the Sheen Park turf appears to have been cut from a single slab of marble. Its veins run through disused Astro stips for maximum chaffage. It’s the kind of place where no backward point comes out alive.
We even walked past a pub called the Plough on our way from the station which, given the baltic conditions, seemed a much more inviting prospect than a day’s cricket. Across the Sheen Park tundra, rogue polar bears – and dogs – had to be chased off the pitch on multiple occasions. A crow savaged some of my lunch portions. Such are the joys of late May cricket in England.
A frostbitten hand launched a coin. Max’s first order of business, in his first ever game as captain, was to lose the toss.
We skied out to bowl. Their two young openers couldn’t get a metronomic Stevens away. Greeney now has a restraining order from line and length.
Going at less than 4 an over, we were pretty happy with where things were at drinks. But the two youngsters had clearly had enough. One in particular started swinging from the hip. Let’s just call him Mr Sheen, because he cleaned us up a bit.
They ended up putting on 232. Out of sheer anger, Greg broke a bail on the final ball, like the absolute animal he is, and pocketed it as a souvenir. (Potentially the biggest bit of wood he’d ever handled).
Making the best debuts since Sam Ryder at Eurovision, our openers got us off to a delightfully solid start. In George Boughton and Mike Scantlebury we may have found our new Strauss and Cook, with a cut and cover drive to match. Both said they’d not played in a while. What could possibly go wrong? Not a lot, apparently, as they both marched into the mid-20s before drinks.
Plough started upping the pace. AJ chipped in with another timely 20. But the wickets started to tumble. Max’s second order of business, in his first ever game as captain, was to get bowled first ball.
But cometh the hour, cometh the tash.
I don’t think Greg could tell I was staring lovingly into his eyes, such was the pace I was sprinting to give him the strike, as he bludgeoned his way to 80. Meanwhile, I faced a bowler even shorter than me, which I’m sure there’s a rule against.
Sheen become increasingly more panicked. “This guy’s nearly at 100, we’ve got to get him out” was definitely self-sledged at least three times.
With just a few overs to go, I fell to an exceptional yorker from the exceptionally angry child, who said he wasn’t even meant to bowl, because he bowled for the league side on Saturday. Classic tantrum.
Having consciously uncoupled from Greg, I watched on as he found a new man. The final few overs saw multiple run-out chances and frantic calls as Plough edged towards the total.
It all went down to the penultimate ball, and another photo-finish.
Sheen go up in jubilation. Quoth the Crane at square leg: “not out…cacaw.”
Justin credible Cash