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Carib Beer XI vs IBM, Battersea Park, Weds 25th May 2016

Perhaps because the excitement of the new season had yet to fully permeate the veins of the Carib diaspora, or for more worrying or prosaic reasons, we were only able to muster 6 genuine Caribs to take on the IBM team at Battersea Park tonight, for what was only our second game of the season. This number included our newest member Carib Kant, Sean, Shaun or perhaps Shorn, turning up for his first official appearance. However, to bolster our ranks, several ringers had been made available on the night, including two fair dinkum Aussies of uncertain skill, Ringer Will Charney and Carib Mossís mate, Dave, hoping to get value for money for his purchase the previous week of the most expensive pair of trainers since Imelda Marcosís ill-fated visit to the gym.

The sheer number of ringers was to cause problems for stand in Vice Skipper, and aging Medium pacer, Carib Rogerson, during our time on the field, who, whilst believing himself to be making well-judged field adjustments, found himself being totally ignored, only to realise, on more than one occasion, that he had been calling the wrong ringer. (This may also be the cause of any confusion in the nationality or names of ringers mentioned forthwith)

Nevertheless, under grey and leaden skies, we turned up at Battersea Park without our talismanic chairman & leader, Martin Haigh, our bouncer bowling half tracker, Carib Worthy and the perennially injured Carib (sore thumb) Willis. With such depleted ranks, we could only hope that our two Fair Dinkum Aussie ringers would prove to be more Shane Warne than Shane Watson, as would soon become clear.

However, it soon became apparent that IBM themselves were also suffering something of a personnel crisis of their own and would only likely be able to field 8, including 2 no doubt delightful young ladies. Both skippers, deliberating on the evening's playing conditions, agreed on a 10 a side game, meaning we would loan two fielders. Due to the dreary conditions, we also agreed to forego the retaking of wides, much to the relief of some of the less than parsimonious bowlers on both sides. The toss was also agreed to by consent, we would field first and hope that enough IBMers would eventually descend on the ground such as to produce a viable team.

To kick off proceedings, following his own retirement from front line bowling activities, the aging vice skipper, Carib Rogerson, threw the ball to our newest member, Carib Kant, Sawn, Shorn, Sean or Shawn, to take the new ball. From the other end would be very useful, but somewhat reluctant, Ringer Charney. Initially, the IBM progress was modest against the accuracy of this decidedly un-Carib new ball pairing, i.e. one almost totally lacking in wides and half-track bouncers. Given the accuracy of the opening attack, it wasn't long before the wickets started to fall, the first to a fine caught and bowled, and the second, rattling the stumps of the No 3, both falling to the tight bowling of Ringer Charney. After four overs, the IBMers were not yet in double figures, and two down, and Stand In Skipper, Carib Rogerson, felt comfortable enough to lob the ball to Ringer Ben (or as recorded in the scorebook, Ringer "Grey Shorts"), who was eager to get his arm over and have a go at what looked like a rather fragile batting line up.

In the event, it was an inspired decision, both for the confidence of the bowler himself, but also for the confidence of poor Fixture Secretary Carib Moss, whose fingers don't so much as resemble butter as actual thin air on most occasions. With Carib Moss positioned at point, the IBM number four spooned up a catch directly in his direction. Spying the chance of another drop, Carib Moss's initial reaction was to run towards the park gates, but perhaps because he tripped, or had found some new source of steel, he stood his ground and awaited the ball's return to earth, a look of terror slowly making its way across his face, his arms outstretched ready to grasp hopelessly as the ball tumbled towards the turf. However, on this occasion, we were witness to something of a miracle, as after only a single attempt to clasp his butter laden appendages around the tumbling ball, to our amazement, it stuck tight, and Carib Moss had taken a catch.

The relief on his face was palpable, although for a while, perhaps out of habit, he searched the ground for the ball, before the full realisation of the event fully sunk in, and he was able to begin his celebrations, and we were able to join him in this wondrous coming of age occasion.

Nevertheless, despite the euphoria developing around the point region, we had a game to win, so we duly resumed our places on the field for the eventual resumption of the match, as another IBMer trudged out to the middle, with the scorecard now in some disarray, and in need of a miracle of its own. It was about now that the last of the Caribs arrived at the ground, namely our own Flame Haired Northern Bakery Magnate, Carib Cordey, and the aging vice-skipper, Carib Rogerson, immediately threw him the ball to take up the attack with some of his village blacksmith twirlers.

His lack of match practice was clear, as his initial over looked like an attempt to remove the batsman's head with some juicy full tosses, but he was soon back into his stride, inducing IBM Cooper to loft a drive straight down the throat of aging Vice Skipper Carib Rogerson, prowling arthritically at long-off. For a while, being lodged down his throat did appear to be an option for the oncoming ball, as, according to subsequent eye-witness accounts, he appeared to be more concerned with avoiding an embarrassing trouser related accident than actually catching the ball. Happily, the old vice skipper steadied his nerves, and bowels, in time and managed to hang on to the catch, sending another IBMer back to the hutch, with the IBM top order now decapitated and the Caribs firmly in the driving seat.

But we were now into the engine room of the IBM middle order, who set about staging a valiant fight back, steadying the innings and pushing the score ahead. IBM Jack Wright in particular appeared to have settled in and began to hit the ball to the boundary with some regularity against the second and third change Carib attack, eventually retiring on 27 not out. Another wicket fell (The scorebook doesn't make clear to whom), and we were joined in the middle by a delightful young lady, who, after being quickly instructed in the art of batting, took up position at the crease.

Although entirely co-incidental to the gender of the batsperson, the aging Carib Skipper, Carib Rogerson, now decided to bring himself out of retirement and into the attack for a couple of tentative overs. There were some scurrilous comparisons made with our Captain and Leader, Martin Haigh, not present to defend himself, who apparently shares Carib Rogerson's proclivity for bowling at girls, but these were entirely without substance. The accusation that Carib Rogerson was deliberately manipulating the bowling attack in order to enhance his wicket tally were proved entirely unfounded by his complete inability to get the young lady out, nevertheless, the accusations of bias persisted, and no-doubt will feature in subsequent on field commentary. Carib Cordey was particularly vocal in his criticism of the Carib leadership team's apparent absence of spinal material, and it was only on his eventual return to the attack were we able to send the young lady on her way, helped by a sharp catch by our reliable but generally butter fingered wicketkeeper, Carib Bowen.

Another young lady now joined us in the middle, and this time, our Chief Tour Manager, Andy Weaver was given the job of toppling her stumps, which he duly did, and with both girls now out, we were into the tail of the IBM line up, and given that they had only 8 batsman, players whom we had previously got out began to re-appear back on the field of play for a second chance at a score. Both Fair Dinkum Aussie Ringers were given a bowl and by the time everyone had had a go, and the innings closed in on its climax, the opening partnership of Ringer Chaney, and our newest member, Carib Kant, Shorn, Sean or Shawn, were returned to the attack to close off proceedings.

The IBM Tail, however, now wagged with some skilful hitting and sharp running, and quite a few runs were added in the final overs. Although we'd never felt that the IBM batting card had got away from us, we had been leaking runs throughout the evening, and by the end of the 20 overs, we found that the IBM team had amassed a very useful 126 runs, a score that on occasions, would seriously challenge our line-up of nurdlers and dot ball merchants, and we were very conscious that it would require a contribution from at least some of our ringers if we were to overhaul the IBM score, as the light began to fade and the clouds rolled in, creating some rather murky batting conditions.

Note to editors: According to some grainy YouTube footage of uncertain origin or veracity, Carib Moss last took a catch in 1992. The Catholic Church have since been using this as proof of earthly intervention by the Virgin Mary.

It was now time for our own reply, and to open, Fair Dinkum Aussie Ringer Ben, and lapsed Carib Tour Manager & Dot Botherer, Andy Weaver, were given the chance to make an early impression at the top of the order. Ringer Ben faced first, and it wasn't long before the ball was finding the boundary, taking 10 from the first over. Of course we hoped this wasn't a prelude to an immediate front foot LBW decision so favoured by certain other Aussie Openers. Luckily this particular Aussie wasn't susceptible to such a predictable demise and he continued in subsequent overs to find the boundary with comforting regularity, while from the other end, the tradition of doughty English openers continued in the form of Carib Tour Manager, Carib Weaver, whose resolute defence kept the run rate from getting too out of hand for the IBM attack.

Nevertheless, it provided the Carib top order with a solidity that it seems to lack with appalling regularity, and it wasn't long before we were calling the Fair Dinkum ringer back to the boundary after a quick fire 27, to be replaced in the middle by Carib Moss's mate Dave, still sporting the most expensive trainers in history, to continue the assault. The Carib Nurdlers were again only able to watch from the side-lines as Ringer Dave's innings too proceeded at pace, with some hard hitting of his own as he too quickly approached his own retirement milestone with the Carib score motoring past forty after only six or so overs. However, our Tour Manager, Andy Weaver, also began to grow in confidence, and as we passed first fifty, then sixty and seventy, we looked well on course for a stunning victory. When the Nurdling Tour Manager was eventually bowled, we had amassed a highly un-Carib 82 for the loss of a single wicket, and with both the retiring ringers available for further duties, should a traditional Carib Collapse ensue, we now felt confident in victory.

Sadly, the Carib scoring rate now began to slow markedly. Carib Moss was barely to trouble the scorers, after his heroics at point an hour previously, losing his middle stump for nothing. Even the village blacksmith hitting of our generally reliable Bakery Magnate Carib Cordey, failed to materialise as he stumbled from single to dot to single during his prolonged innings of 8, before he too was bowled uncharacteristically playing a forward defensive shot. Although we had felt like we were motoring towards the IBM total, we were still chasing a score usually out of our league, and still barely ahead of the required rate of over 6 an over, and the conditions were becoming ever more murky and difficult to bat in. Ringer Will Charney and butter fingered wicketkeeper Carib Bowen, however, steadied the ship, and although we still needed around 6 or 7 an over for the final 4 overs, the runs kept coming, and we closed comfortably on the 127 target. Although Carib Bowen was to fall in the final run chase, his replacement, our newest member, Carib Kant, Sean, Shorn or Shawn held his nerve and tipped us over the finishing line to record a stunning victory, and what eventually seemed like a comfortable run chase, despite the nerves of the final few overs, with the result never seriously in doubt, with still 7 balls left and plenty of batting to come.

Carib Beer XI Won by 5 wickets

Scorecard

IBM      
Steve Legg C and B Charnley 6
David Whitcombe C Moss B O'Connell 11
Matt Sach   B Charnley 0
Ross Cooper C Rogerson B Cordey 0
James Whitfield   B Porter 12
Jack Wright   not out 27
Tara Sanders C Bowen B Cordey 4
Kelly Freeman   B Weaver 0
Matt (2nd innings)   B Kant 17
James (2nd innings)   not out 7
Ross (2nd innings)   not out 1
       
EXTRAS   15b 0lb 6nb 9w 30
TOTAL   (20 Overs) 126-8
       
Kant 4-0-14-1 Charnley 4-0-27-2
Porter 1-0-5-1 Cordey 4-0-25-2
O'Connell 1-0-5-1 Moss 2-0-17-0
Rogerson 2-0-6-0 Wadsworth 1-0-11-0
Weaver 1-0-1-1    
       
Carib Beer XI      
Ben O'Connell   not out 27 (14)
Andy Weaver   B Wright 18 (27)
Dave Wadsworth   not out 27 (16)
Andy Moss   B Steve 0 (5)
Matt Porter   B Wright 10 (7)
Phil Cordey   B Wright 8 (13)
Will Charnley   not out 10 (8)
Andy Bowen   B David 11 (9)
Swanand Kant   not out 1 (2)
Peter Rogerson   DNB  
       
EXTRAS   2b 1lb 0nb 18w 20
TOTAL   (19 Overs) 130-5
       
Matt 4-0-32-0 James 4-0-20-0
David 4-0-34-1 Ross 1-0-10-0
Steve 3-0-22-1 Wright 3-0-10-3