The Trinidad Test
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Carib Beer XI vs Marauders, Regents Park,

20th May 2013

Our second game of the season saw us take on a team we hadn't played before, the Marauders XI, a team apparently associated with the Dodgers, another team who generally dish out a good thrashing to us, so it was with some trepidation that we approached the match, expecting the possibility of a sound hammering. However, we'd secured a useful victory the previous week against a relatively weak IBM side, and, on paper, were fielding a stronger side this week, so just perhaps we could offer them a challenging game.

This week saw the return of our talismanic captain, leader and Chairman, Martin Haigh to the side to resume his position at the head of the team, and the erratic bouncer bowling Jarrod Worthy also made an appearance, giving our bowling attack a couple more teeth (although quite how rotten one of them had become would soon be plain to see). As usual, the two teams arrived in dribs and drabs (Mr Willis even returning to the Bank to collect his plimsolls at one point) and it was some time before our captain and leader, Martin Haigh, was able to take to the field for the toss with the opposition captain. Perhaps fearing a calamitous collapse, and a consequently short run chase for the Marauders, our leader wisely chose to insert the opposition, so we'd begin the game in the field. Unfortunately, however, with the usual late arrivals and the last minute drop out of our flame haired northern bakery magnate, Phil Cordey, to something known as "man flu", we still needed to request a couple of the opposition to help us out in some of the more difficult fielding positions.

To open the bowling, our leader, Martin Haigh, chose to begin proceedings by offering the first over to the compulsive bouncer bowler Jarrod Worthy, perhaps as a snub to the aging medium pacer Carib Rogerson as punishment for his constant threats to retire, who was at least offered the second over. The pitch was of the artificial variety meaning that we were able to borrow the spring loaded stumps, which offer the benefit of giving even the most innocuous of the Carib twirlers the chance to rattle the stumps, should the unlikely combination of a straight delivery coincide with the batsman failing to strike the ball to the boundary occur during the course of the game.

Jarrod's first over was a little rusty and erratic, but at least most of the deliveries hit the artificial turf, and only two extras resulted. Carib Rogerson, bowling through a rather large ditch from the other end kept things reasonably tight, even securing the wicket of the opener, Marauder Ward for a duck following the snaffling of a smart chance by one of their own stand-in fielders. Incredibly though, that wasn't the end of the wickets. Jarrod's second over of wides and bouncers included a straight delivery that clattered into the stumps, sending the other opener back to the hutch for a single. The very next ball, we were all dumbstruck as Marauder Lord edged his first ball, a wide bouncer, into the gully to be safely caught for a first ball duck. Incredibly, the Marauders were now 3 for 3 in only the 3rd over and we all began to hope that perhaps today was going to see the chance of a very unlikely victory.

Sadly, however, things began to unravel for the hapless bouncer bowler as his sense of direction, length and confidence seemed to desert him entirely and the rest of the over wasn't pretty, as the engine room of the Marauder's batting card began to climb into his half trackers, wides and full bungers. Sensing he was about to lose the will to bowl entirely, and realising that his heavenwards demands and face cupping groans were unlikely to be resolved by a third over of bouncers, our captain, Martin Haigh, wisely chose this moment to withdraw the now distraught bouncer bowler from the attack and sent him down to fine leg to lick his wounds.

To replace the now totally demoralised bouncer bowler, our newest member, and occasional beamer bowler, Carib Nag (Ken) was brought into the attack to join the old Carib medium pacer, Carib Rogerson, who was mercifully granted the chance to complete his overs in one go and, although down on pace, was at least keeping the ball on the square. Carib Nag began briskly, as usual, but for the time being, that was to be the last of the wickets, as the Marauders middle order settled into some lusty hitting and it wasn't until the old Carib Rogerson's penultimate ball that we were able to snag a further wicket. As before though, it also took an athletic looking catch in the deep by one of the Marauder's stand ins to secure it. The final ball of the vice-skipper's spell, however, was soundly dispatched for six onto a pitch at least a hundred yards away, a signal, unfortunately, of what was to come as the Marauders shook off their shaky start and began to accumulate some serious runs.

Our captain and leader, Martin Haigh, bravely brought himself into the attack, but the run-letting continued, with Martin's two overs going for 23 runs before he wisely decided to salvage his bowling figures from any further savagery, and returned to captaincy duties at mid-off. By now, with the scoring rate accumulating alarmingly, Caribs Tungate and Willis were brought on for some punishment. Carib Tungate's accurate but rather slow dobblers seemed particularly suited to the Marauders brand of six hitting and his 3 overs disappeared for a punishing 31 runs. The next three Marauders batsmen all registered 25 + scores and the inevitable retirements and it was more luck than judgement that accounted for Marauder Greene, sending the ball softly into the hands of Long Off for only our fourth wicket of the day. Sadly, that was to be the last of them, as having completed their overs, the ball was returned to the safe hands of Carib Nag (Ken) and the compulsive, and sadly now totally demoralised, bouncer bowling Carib Worthy to complete their spells and hopefully wrap up the innings without too much further damage to our already fragile morale.

Unfortunately, Carib Worthy's spirits had not been improved by his enforced stay on the boundary and his final two overs were a sorry catalogue of beamers, half track bouncers and wides. The Marauders' batsman wasted none of them, dispatching him for sixes and fours whenever the ball was close enough to them to reach. We all felt for him as when your confidence deserts you to that extent, there's very little way back during a match as every attempt to slow down your action and control your delivery stride ends up with the ball landing ever closer to either your own feet or those of 4th slip. Nevertheless, as the run-fest continued, we at least became aware that the Marauders innings was now thankfully coming to a close. Four batsmen had retired with 25 + scores, but even the numbers 9 - 11 seemed able to clear the boundary ropes with ease. In the end, and with very few volunteers ready to continue bowling, we managed to survive the final few overs and tentatively asked what the score might be. The answer was a totally out of reach 156 for 5, a score the Caribs have never even got close to, let alone challenged, so we settled in to the idea of at least not embarrassing ourselves too much with the bat.

Martin, our Captain and Chairman, now touted for volunteers to open the batting, but fearing injury, both physical and mental, there were very few takers, so Martin decided to step into the breach himself and open. Alongside him would be the Carib's chief statistician and Treasurer, Carib Berry. The opening bowlers proved, as we'd feared, rather useful and although Martin got off the mark straight away, it wasn't long before we began to lose wickets. On only the fourth ball of the innings Carib Berry was caught behind after bottom edging a quick one that he didn't see much of, to be replaced at the crease by the 25 Not Out hero of Fishponds park next to the cemetery, Carib Weaver, whose resolute defence and general refusal to hit the ball off the square we at least hoped would steady the ship after the early loss of Carib Berry. Sadly, his heroic defence was not to be repeated, losing his bails 4th ball for an unceremonious duck.

Next in, however, was our second best batsman, Carib Tungate, who along with our best Batsman, our leader and Captain Martin Haigh, might finally begin to get some runs on the board to begin our reply in earnest. Caribs Dan and Martin were able to see off a couple of overs, and push a few singles, but it wasn't to last as on only 4 Carib Tungate feathered one through to the keeper which was smartly caught, and he too was trudging back to the boundary, our top order well and truly decapitated. Our newest member, the beamer bowling Carib Nag (Ken) was next in, but he too failed to capitalise on an early single, and lost his off stump to the decidedly nippy Marauder Hammand.

Thankfully, however, by now the opening bowlers were completing their spells and the first change bowlers stepped up to replace them. Finally, we now had a chance to push the score along, although unfortunately, all our Captain and Leader Martin Haigh would have for company out in the middle was the injury prone nurdler Carib Willis. However, we were pleasantly surprised to see the two old Caribs indeed steadying the now badly holed Carib Ship. Mr Haigh even managed to unfurl a couple of his glorious trademark cover drives, while from the other end the probably injured by now Carib Willis began nurdling the ball around the square and snatching the odd two and our score began to climb into the twenties and beyond.

After another fine Haigh trademark cover drive had crossed the boundary for four we shouted to our Captain and leader, still bravely battling it out in the middle, that he was by now on 24. His response was typically Martinesque. The final ball of his innings was smashed skywards and cleared the boundary easily, leaving our captain on 30 and another enforced retirement to his name. Sadly, however, without our talismanic leader at the crease, this was only ever going to be a precursor to the loss of further wickets. Carib Moss, our Team Fixture Secretary, did at least manage to get some bat on his first delivery, but it was only enough to divert its trajectory a few degrees, providing another simple catch to the Marauder's wicket keeper, taking his tally of Carib scalps to 3.

Next in was the old medium pacer, Carib Rogerson, anxious to progress his post-bowling career as a batsman by scoring a few useful runs. Sadly, this also wasn't to be as a leg side full toss smashed into his left thigh as he was preparing to hoik it down to cow corner. Unfortunately, the young Carib officiating at the other end, the beamer bowling Carib Nag (Ken), failed to appreciate the true trajectory of the ball and sent the poor old Carib on his way for another miserable duck to his name, and his post-bowling batting career still not off the starting blocks. That the half blind Carib Willis, in his position as non-striker at the other end, also believed the old Carib to be out, shows how unfortunate a decision it actually was by the young Carib, our newest member.

Well and truly down to the tail by now, the compulsive bouncer bowling Carib Worthy now strode out to the middle, still mentally reeling from the ignominy of being smashed for 40 + runs in only 4 overs, the wides, beamers and bouncers still flashing before his eyes. Given how low he must have sunk following such a calamitous bowling spell, we expected his broken spirit to fold in the face of the Marauders' bowlers. However, there must have been at least a glint of steel somewhere within the shattered Carib as he was able to fend off the bowling for 14 deliveries, even scoring a very useful 9 runs, including a very streaky boundary, before skying up a catch to one of the close in fielders, finally ending his participation in a game that by now must be giving him nightmares - and if anyone was filming it and submitting the results to 'You've Been Framed', making someone else very rich.

At long last, however, the Marauders decided that as we were now 7 wickets down and still some 90 runs short of the target, and with only half a dozen overs to go, they would at least attempt to extend the game beyond 7.30pm by bringing on some of their lesser bowlers to clean up our tail. Amazingly, this was also the cue for some expansive cricket by the last three Caribs. Carib Willis succeeded in pushing his score along to a fine 18 before succumbing to a run out and returning to the boundary to nurse the small bruises his fingers and toes had likely accumulated during his mammoth stay at the crease, and to decide whether any hospital treatment was appropriate, and how many games he may have to miss as a result.

Our final two batsmen were the returning Carib Haigh, our captain, and the keen but butter fingered wicketkeeper Carib Bowen, both of whom continued to push the score along. Martin returned to add a few more boundaries to his previous not out score, taking his final tally to 42 Not Out, while our Keen Wicketkeeper, Carib Bowen, began to find some real form and, inspired by our Captain no doubt, began to unfurl some expansive cover drives of his own as the Marauders chopped and changed their 4th change bowlers and the light began to close in. In the end, our last 3 wickets had added some very agreeable runs to our total and by the time we'd run out of overs, we were very pleasantly surprised to see that our total had climbed past 100 and had settled on the very acceptable score of 110 for 8, only around 50 shy of our target, and much closer than we had hoped to get as we'd watched the top order folding like a pack of cards only an hour before.

Despite the thrashing and the damage to both egos and bowling figures, we all agreed it had been a very enjoyable game, and amazingly, the Marauders also seemed to agree, immediately offering us a return fixture the following year. Cracking open our tins of beer and arguing over who was taking the bags took up a few minutes, as usual, before we all headed off to the pub for a well earned pint or three.

Carib Beer XI Lose by 46 Runs


P Ward C sub B Rogerson 0 (8)
E Clifton   B Worthy 1 (6)
C Johnston C ? B Rogerson 12 (18)
S Lord   B Worthy 0 (1)
P Hinton   not out 28 (15)
R Chapman   not out 28 (18)
J Hamand   not out 26 (13)
B Greene C ? B Willis 2 (5)
S Outram   not out 28 (14)
J Clifton   not out 14 (14)
D Morey   not out 1 (3)
EXTRAS   2b 2lb 5nb 7w 16
TOTAL   (20 Overs) 156-5
Peter Rogerson 4-0-18-2 Rohit Nag 4-0-19-0
Dan Tungate 3-0-31-0 Jarrod Worthy 4-0-41-2
Martin Haigh 2-0-23-0 Barry Willis 3-0-20-1
Martin Haigh   not out 42 (30)
Gordon Berry C wkt B Hamand 0 (4)
Andy Weaver   B Hamand 0 (5)
Dan Tungate C wkt B Hinton 4 (13)
Rohit Nag   B Hamand 1 (6)
Barry Willis   run out 18 (25)
Andy Moss C wkt B Hinton 0 (1)
Peter Rogerson   lbw Johnson 0 (4)
Jarrod Worthy C ? B Lord 9 (12)
Andy Bowen   not out 23 (18)
EXTRAS   3b 1lb 4nb 5w 13
TOTAL   (20 Overs) 110-8
Hamand 4-0-16-2 Hinton 4-0-20-3
Johnson 3-0-12-1 Lord 3-0-14-1
Morey 2-0-17-0 Ben Green 2-0-10-0
E Clifton 1-0-9-0 J Clifton 1-0-8-0