Cometh the moment, cometh the man – a rousing victory for Camden. Always chasing but never behind.
Ghosts of Camden’s distant past were still tormenting as we made the long journey deep into the western boroughs of Cambridge. After a few missed turns, we finally arrived at Elsworth, previously famous for the Camden twenty20 (total runs scored, not overs). Upon arrival, it appeared as though a machete might be required to make our way into the ground’s inner sanctum. Only to be pleasantly surprised with a firm and even batting surface, sure to see plenty of runs and a swashbuckling days play. The captain’s third consecutive loss of the toss was cheered when we were put into the field yet again. Little did the opposition know they were playing right into our hands. As long prophesied, Camden had finally become the run chasing juggernaut it long promised to be.
Strike bowler Ryan Kelsall started with the new cherry. True bounce with only a little bit of movement. The opposition opening batsmen had evidently heard about the stories circulating through the corridors of IVC, and the grunting sounds confirmed matters leading to some unfortunate odours to emanate from the crease. Sadly, the scare factor bought no reward from the first spell. Behind the wicket, veteran keeper Chris Clarke was busy imitating superman with an impressive aerial display and reckless disregard for what remains functional. Many runs down the leg-side were saved. Not all superheroes wear capes.
At the other end, Kumar Venigalla was straighter than a Catholic priest at Sunday school. Very tight bowling. Monotonous, almost dull and yet paradoxically, precisely what was needed. This was bowling that brings huge expectation of a wicket from a foolish and frustrated shot. Alas, it wasn’t to be. A highly commendable 0-22 of 8 overs! Considering the excellent batting surface, the first 10 overs went for a miserly 35 runs.
The first change brought Karan Derakar who bravely toiled and applied excellent pressure without success. Figures were not assisted by a clown-like catching performance by someone positioned perfectly at the deep extra cover (For this transgression I shall write 100 lines. For the record, I slipped but still managed to get fingers on it). 0-43 off 8 overs.
Next came Liam. After his first over was punished for 15 runs, it was time for drinks. The opposition was just beginning to get away a little… Liam went to find a good place to lick his wounds. After play resumed, cometh the man. A wicket maiden and the breakthrough we desperately needed! Not long after, a second victim and Camden were on our way towards the tail. A very mature display under tricky circumstances of 2-54 off 8.
Sometimes things happen that can only be explained by an omnipresent higher being. Today was such a day. Those lucky enough to be in attendance witnessed probably the best two run-outs ever seen in the history of this great. First, Karan’s devastating long-range strike at the bowler’s end left everyone confused, including the umpire. He was in no position to judge but gave it anyway out of shock. And later, the most graceful, gorgeously executed barrel roll and throw from the square leg by the sprightly youngster, D Mitchell. This took everyone’s breath away. In fairness, after hitting the ground Dave was already out of breath before the bail even came off.
By now, the opposition had revealed their belly and the predators were beginning to circle. Martin Baker came on to throw Hail Marys into the howling wind, with deliveries taking even longer to arrive than normal. When they did finally get there, they produced 2 much-needed wickets including a double snatch catch by yours truly. A gritty performance yielding 2-49 from 8.
Kelsall returned to finish his spell, cleaning up the tail in quick succession with full straight ones the tail isn’t ever sure how to deal with. A respectable 3-31 off his allowance. Camden left chasing a challenging 208.
Doyen cricket Steve Robinson and resident AI wunderkind Fahim Kawsar took to the crease. In somewhat of a role reversal, Fahim was slow to get off the mark after 11 dots. Then a full toss pie was put away for 6, followed by the finest flick off the legs since Steve Smith’s heroic Ashes performance, to make it 10 runs from 2 consecutive deliveries. Sadly, not long after, he was taken before his prime after being trapped in front in controversial circumstances. At the other end, the club stalwart made yet another steady and solid start finally proving he isn’t just a pretty face. Next out of the pavilion came leading club run-scorer D Mitchell. His overall tally was left unchanged after unsuccessfully pleading bat-pad before also being triggered for lazy legs.
The falling wicket brought out the big Aussie unit with the golden arm. A new bat, without a single cherry, lulled the opposition into a false sense of security. A solid partnership of 96 runs was formed as the ball was dispatched all over the nether regions of Eversden. The thunking sound of the pavilion roof was particularly satisfying to the rowdy spectators. J Adler went on to make 54 runs before getting out exhausted. The run rate was still in check with Camden requiring 71 further runs for victory. Steve went on the earn his latest half-century before being bowled for 58, extending his impressive run. Too bad that the statistics don’t count this for this shortened season!
Once Kumar approached the crease, things accelerated further still. A rapid-fire 26, including a maximum, put Camden into a winning position. Sadly, the much-anticipated father/son partnership was not to be with the younger and, some say, more attractive Venigalla out for a quack.
Chasing not too many at just over 6 runs an over, Strike bowler Kelsall clearly had something to prove to the selectors, ably turning over the strike with ease. And didn’t the opposition hear about! Before superman joined him in the middle, things got a little weird. A wide was called followed by the hurling of some exotic words with incest connotations. Apparently, a popular fetish on the tube sites, or so I’ve been told. Once play eventually resumed, a full toss from the bowler with an unusual interest in his sister claimed Kumar’s wicket. Not to be undeterred, Superman took away the mounting pressure with 9 more valuable runs before also being triggered. K Derekar got to claim the final runs and pump his hand into the air to signal a wonderful victory!
Full Scorecard: https://camden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4415961