Witcham (20pts) 106 beat Camden (6pts) 63 by 43 runs
When Witcham, invited to bat first on a damp green pitch, plundered 21 from the first three overs, it looked like it was going to be one of those days for Camden. Instead, it was to be one of those days, ball dominating bat to such an extent that only a further 148 runs were made in the match.
Those first three run-drenched overs were followed by a double-wicket maiden for captain Redders, a wicket maiden for Kelsall, and a further five maidens for Camden’s third new-ball pairing in as many games. Thereafter, 40-odd was added in a solid and occasionally violent partnership before Karan Derekar, in the middle of a miserly spell of 8-2-14-2, made the breakthrough. Fellow spinner Liam Wallman had been the main victim of the aforementioned violence, but took a much-deserved wicket with a beautifully flighted delivery. Latecomer Vish came on to claim a couple of wickets before Kelsall and Redders returned to polish off the tail. 106 all out, and Camden could reflect on a job half done and a more complete performance with the ball and in the field. Adler deputised admirably behind the sticks, and joined Bulusu, Fahim, Robinson, Sutton, and Vish (nonchalance personified) in taking a catch.
Before attacking another tupperware tea, Camden were gathered in a huddle by the captain, who noted that “yes, there’s lots of time [to get the runs, not eat tea], but let’s not piss about!” With that in mind, Redders couldn’t possibly continue at the top of the order, it being considered “a bit village” for anyone, let alone the captain, to open the batting and the bowling. The hosts had no such qualms, however, and the Witcham opening batsman certainly wasn’t pissing about, swiftly sending the Big Aussie Unit and Fahim back to the alfresco hutch. Sutton was joined by Hodsdon, the pair content to see off the opening bowlers, despite risking accusations of insubordination. Having amassed 17-2 from 9 torrid overs, the logic that it would get easier began to look sound when Sutton took six runs from the rotund first-change’s first over. It was to be a false dawn, however, as the Witcham medium pacer’s remaining seven overs yielded the remarkable figures of 5-5. An innings high partnership of 17 was ended when the burly Marlburian unerringly found a fielder with a meaty pull shot. Ex-former-ex-all-rounder Robinson tamed an already far from unfriendly full toss to short mid-wicket, thus signalling that it was no longer a bit village for Redders to have a bat. Following his own advice, the skipper hit his first ball for a majestic four before skying a catch attempting a repeat soon after. Sutton (16) was next to offer a catch, and the visitors were reeling at 42-6. Vish, equalling Sutton’s high score, scored the majority of the rest as Camden limped to 63 all out in 27 overs, Bulusu’s run-out denying the joy of all ten dismissals being out caught. To the question of whether his charges had obeyed his commands, Redders could only offer a wry smile and a can of ale.
The early finish delighted Robinson as it enabled him to scoot home in time for Eurovision. Requests for the disclosure of text messages between Robbo and legendary former Camden swing bowler Dave “Wazza” Warren have so far been rebuffed.
Meanwhile, on hearing the news of his former club’s travails, Middlesex captain Peter Handscomb began, as all Australians are obliged to, by saying “Aw, look.” The Victorian, who enjoyed a run-soaked season for Camden as recently as 2006, went on: “I didn’t bring the weather with me, did I? I know how those Camden boys feel – I can’t buy a run on these sticky wickets. You can’t drive, because the ball never comes on, so you’re sitting there waiting for anything short, but good luck picking the height and the pace at which it’s going to bounce. Jeez. Roll on the summer, mate.”
Man of the Match: Karan Derekar
Score Card: https://camden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4160643
Will Sutton (May 26, 2021)