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Fixtures and Results | Match Reports

Date Against H/A Link Result Captain/Score
Sun 26 / 9 / 2021 Ward End Unity Away Won by 15 runs. Old Mo 267-8. Oppo 252-7.


Fitmen prevail in high scoring Ward End of season finale

I pity the bowlers who play week in, week out on the sloping pitch at Ward End Unity. Not only does some poor sod have to run in up a considerable hillock, but then they see a decent ball dispatched to the shortish boundaries across a lightning-fast outfield. It’s no easier for the bowlers from the top end who if slightly off-line get glanced down the hill for more runs. It’s the graveyard on crack, which for anyone interested, is readily available in the local area.

It was a delight to see Mo Azam installed as skipper and all the pre-match banter concerned “Mo’s hole”. It’s still there in the dangly blind sight screens which have now well and truly given up the ghost. #For those not in the know, Mo smashed a straight 6 off the first ball of last season's game into said dangly things creating “Mo’s hole”. Well worth a view in the off season whilst collecting afore mentioned crack deal.

Now skippering for the Fitmen is an art in itself, a delicate skill. Calling heads, winning the toss and batting first...tick. Setting canny field placements and then trying to get everyone to remember their canny placement for left and right handers....tick. Win the game...tick. However, there are the dark arts as well to be considered. First up, batting order. Ooosh.

Murphy's law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Fitman law is everyone who thinks they can bat, can’t and those that can bat, can’t be arsed and would rather let those who can’t bat bat to keep the peace. There were so many arrows, crossings out and tantrums that a new page had to be used in the scorebook. So it was that Chief “can’t be arsed” Bice and Eames strolled out to the middle in glorious sunshine. Second Fitskip dark art, who to umpire? Fastest finger in the Club Bal? How many balls left Sharif? Not quite sure on the LBW rule everyone else? Thank god I'm one of only 4 people at the club who can score.

So finally (!) to the action.

Mr Ahmed (downhill) was rapid. Even faster back in the day apparently. Despite beating the edge on numerous occasions Harry used the pace beautifully, cracking a couple of 4’s backwards of point in the opening over. Mr Bashir (uphill) was accurate allowing only 4 scoring balls in his first 5 overs. Harry continued to only deal in boundaries with another 3 all on the offside. Bicey finding it more difficult was yorked by an even quicker delivery to be first out for 7. 30-1 in the 7th over. Harry then fell for 21 to Mr Ahmed with yet another snorter of a yorker.

Following the withdrawal, after a brilliant season, of Rob Nutt, Wassem called up one of his pals and so it was that the super talented Raja made his Fit debut. Quality from the off. How do some players look like they’ve got all the time in the world? Mo came in for a dot, 4 Byes, 4,4, dot, inside edge to Mr Ahmed sort of innings. Bugger. The tail was starting early this week with in at 5 (I've scored 2 centuries for the Fitmen) Sharif waddling out to join Raja. These two kept the scoring ticking over nicely with Raja’s charging down the pitch to freak the bowler out a thing of beauty. 83-3 after 16, 117-3 at drinks. A good start.

Straight after drinks Raja decided to up the rate, smashed 3 boundaries and then out bowled for a classy 67 off just 49 balls. Proper player. Raj in at 6 joined Sharif but only 3 balls later Sharif feathered one to the ‘keeper to be out for a 28 ball 16. Now five down, the Fitship was wobbling. Have no fear, Samuel L Nokia is here to save the day!! Following his previous innings, Fit career best 35 against Coftonians, the confidence was oozing through every pore of his being. “This batting malarky is a piece of piss!”. Ah not so my young Padawan, cricket is a cruel and wicked mistress. Spooning one up to mid-off on a 2 paced pitch will scupper the best laid of plans. 145-6 off 25 overs.

Scoring duties delegated, Martin in at snowman, given instructions to hang on in there. Raj was in superb form knocking 5 boundaries for a run a ball 25 out bowled by the young chap. Then for me, performance of the day came from Tony Thaper. It’s been a tough old year with the willow for TT, but this 21 not out was sublime. Leg glances, pulls and drives all going for 4 in a tidy 20 balls. Great work. Martin, inelegant missing multiple full tosses, managed to scrape a 44 before skying yet another full toss to be out caught. Wassem thinking there were 3 overs left, blocked his first ball. Then told it was the last over smacked 4,4,6 to give the Fitmen a very decent total of 267, but would it be enough?

What the hell are those cakes called you brought for tea Waseem? Heart attack rolls? The sugar rush was immense. Little sugary crack pockets. Wow. Can’t wait for full cricket teas to be back on the menu next season because those bad boys combined with Sunny’s wings will be a match winning formula. Opposition beware !!

Dichotomy: “a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different”, has to be the word of choice to describe the opening spells of Waseem (downhill) and Raj (uphill). Waseem’s 8-0-20-0 was the best bowling performance of the day and probably won us the game. Control, pace and subtle variation. Exceptional and so unlucky not to grab a wicket. At the other end, Raj’s 11 ball first over was the stuff of nightmares. However his next 3 overs were sublime, getting the top 3 of the Ward End batting unit out with swing and guile. Bowling their talented main bat opener for 12, swung the game massively in the Fitmen’s favour.

Mo took over and bowled intelligently for 5-0-23-1, uphill keeping the scoring in check. Then on came Bal Singh for a hugely important bowling spell in his season long battle with George Dawes for the “biggy” Bowler of the Year title. At drinks Ward End were circa 90 odd for 4, well behind the required run rate but as per every fixture here, that meant nothing.

Bal bowled really well, beating the bat and not allowing many easy scoring shots. Martin toiling uphill wasn’t bowling well and being taken for at least 8 an over. The talented left hander going on to make a quality 80 runs with his partner nearly having a heart attack due to the amount of running on his way to 49. Bal 8-1-39-0 was SO, SO unlucky. Looping, mis-timed shots falling into gaps and the edge just not coming. Cricket is so unfair....Then Martin finally pitches one straight, the left hander takes an almighty heave....and misses to be out Bowled.

Minimal celebration...a touch of wild whooping/cigar/champagne moments with the away crowd on the boundary (Steve and Kate), thanks for the lager Steve!

However the game was FAR from won. Raja finally put the Ward End number 6 out of his Marathon running misery to grab a wicket, but this just allowed bloody Mr Ahmed back in at number 8 who couldn’t half hit a ball. 5 lost balls later and Raja 1-54 and Lockyer 1-41 had taken the brunt of the biffing. Suddenly they needed 90 from 8, 70 from 6, 40 from 4...OMG, not again!! Another 2 huge 6’s off the increasingly rapid Lockyer (fastest this reporter has ever seen....mid 50’s) and it was all going tit’s up.

Commeth the hour, another massive hit heading over the fence, but No! Harry Eames pulling off a fantastic catch off the bowling of Lockyer finally ended Mr Ahmed with 63 off not very many. (not a 16 ball 50 though). Just time for a little round of handbags. Our Samuel is renowned for his roaring send off’s when grabbing a key wicket. But once all the dust settled, the game finally ended with the Fitmen winning by just 15 runs. 517 runs scored, economy rates ruined and back to the boundary to polish off Waseems crack cakes and discuss another famous win.

As we all know the secret to Life, The Universe and Everything is 42.

Would you believe, 42 Fitmen played a part for this fantastic club of ours in the 2021 season?

Thanks to Steve and Kate for helping out so many times. Thanks to all the Captains and all the dark arts work of the committee that goes unnoticed to keep this club running.