THCC vs VCC on 18th June 2011
“International” cricket match in Hamburg
VCC 207 for 5 (A. Worboys 52*, R. Barker 52*, Guru 2-41, Jeya 2-29) beat THCC 172 for 8 (Thomo 47, Silva 41, B. Madden 2-25, R. Barker 2-30, D. Scott 2-41) by 35 runs (30/30 overs)
Bulletin by Max Minor
This heavily rain-affected match against a slightly eccentric and charmingly cricket-infatuated touring side from London (by all means check out their website) will most probably be remembered not so much for its sporting, but rather for its social values. Slightly hung-over from a previous stag-night party, four players of the visiting team ambled towards the pavilion shortly after noon to meet our captain Jon, stalwart all-rounder Mark R., both concerned whether we would be able to muster a whole team, and two eager novices to Hamburg cricket, Laurence and Moritz. The worries proved to be unfounded, all other men and Bianca eventually turned up. Sree was chosen to umpire as 12th man, a duty he performed admirably and impartially – later even giving Guru out lbw.
Jon won the toss, elected to field and was able to punctually send our team out onto a still sunny and dry ground. Silva and Mark R. commenced the bowling, the former swinging as well as spinning the ball from the pavilion end, the latter slipping in a couple of allegedly unintended beamers from the school end, regrettably neither of them with any luck, their final figures clocking a surprisingly identical 4-0-26-0. VCC had cleverly started the batting with one of their many (at least three) players called Barker and the left-handed Warboys. Any odd number of runs thus prompted a field change and Jon stood out not only for his incessant encouragement of our team, but even more for his permanent field direction from behind the wicket, employing his keeper’s gloves like a huge pair of conductor’s batons. Turning to Thomo and Guru as the second set of bowlers and some clever fielding changes brought the first wicket at last, but Warboys could not be stopped and finally retired unbeaten on 52*.
All of a sudden torrential rain started to pour over Hamburg. Everyone had to recede to the club house; an opportunity most of the visitors used to refuel. One Graham S. could also be seen there, providing welcome moral support to our team! After the involuntary break and on a slippery wicket, the run-rate could not be slowed down, although Hardeep with his stylish off-breaks, Mark B. with some slower looped balls and Jeya, fast as ever, tried their best. Once one Barker had been caught at slip by Jeya off Guru’s bowling (Guru also picked up another wicket lbw) and the other Barker then run out by a direct hit from Silva, the opposition’s captain and stag – yes, also Barker – quick-fired another 52* and promptly retired. This gave Jeya a chance to take two wickets with the last two balls of the innings. What a pity VCC could not send in another bat for the hat-trick ball!
Jon used most the lavish lunch break to carefully work out a batting order. It proves his flexibility that even the third and final list remained provisional. Thomo and Hardeep opened the batting, the latter daringly hitting and scoring off almost every ball up to an unfortunate catch, the former digging himself in like Boycs and piling up runs until he was miserably bowled on 47. Silva’s cameo was probably the most remarkable of our innings: He scored ten boundaries in succession, causing several – not always successful – search parties to hunt for the ball, alternatively led by Mark R., Laurence, Guru and future club-member Steve, whose cheerful support (together with his son William) of our efforts must certainly be praised here. Alas, Silva’s efforts to keep the scoreboard ticking – 20 runs off the 12th over! – were spurned by one of the most bizarre overs bowled, consisting of a majority of wides and no balls by C. Mahon, who confesses to play cricket only once every three years. His last but one ball was even slower than the previous and somehow bamboozled the fiery batsman. What followed was almost as wet as the showers that resumed towards the end of our innings; bowlers ploughed the creases, batsmen slithered, wickets kept tumbling, runs remained rare – Schwamm drüber! Merely Jon’s attempt to salvage the match with a couple of spirited boundaries deserves mentioning. However, once he was out, the target had slipped to 36 off the last over and (Sir Gary not being part of our team) it became patent that this match could no longer be won; returning to the dry club-house seemed preferable to any further rain and misery.
Leaving our inglorious sporting performance aside, it can be said that everyone had a great afternoon. The London players, claiming to regularly tour “exotic places” (but why did they come to Hamburg then?), were impressed by our “wonderful ground” and the “great facilities”. What they thought of our team’s cricket was never mentioned – our visitors emerged as very polite and true sportsmen. They only wanted to know whether they were facing any German players. And although our scorer listed the match as “friendly 30 overs”, VCC’s perception of this game turned out to be slightly different, which is apparent from what they entered under the caption “type of match” in the score book: “international”.