Carib Beer XI v GHD - 21st May 2014 - Greenwich Park.

This was the Caribís first match of the 2014 season at the second attempt (our first scheduled match having been rained off at Regentís Park a week earlier). Our opponents were the GHD side captained by long time foe of the Caribs Steve Curtis. The week prior to the game had involved some head scratching as to was to take on the skipper role for the Caribs in the absence of captain and chairman Martin Haigh and ageing medium pacer/vice-captain Rogerson. Carib Willis desperate to get out of the role himself nominated Carib Weaver who was happy to take the reins for the first time in his Carib career. Stand-in skipper Weaver showed permanent captain Haigh what to do and promptly won the toss, electing to bat first. It was decided to have a reduced 15 over a side game due to the threat of rain.

The pre-match discussions has also centred on the choice of ball colour, with yellow balls being used for the first time in a Carib match.

The usual mumblings of not being too keen to open the batting were resolved by the stand-in skipper Weaver taking on the role with Carib Willis who had by now realised this was a good way of having his batting done and dusted quickly, so he could make the most of the absence of alcohol-phobic Mr Haigh and start drinking sooner. Barryís plan worked perfectly as he was clean bowled on the second ball of the innings and was soon back on the sidelines with can of Fosters in hand. Excuses of not seeing the brand new yellow ball were suitably ignored. GHD had clearly opened the bowling with their best option and the Caribs struggled to 8-2 after the first  four overs with keeper/batsman Carib Bowen also back in the hutch for a duck.

Ringer Rehan had made a brief trip to the middle only to retire hurt with a poorly finger, reminiscent of Carib Willis moaning from a couple of seasons ago. However at this point there was a much needed injection of pace from the Carib middle order with newest Carib member Holmes, ringer Tom and beamer bowling Carib Nag all putting together decent innings. Carib Nag  (Ken) top scoring with 23. Meanwhile at the other end Carib Weaver was playing the test match anchor role, scrapping his way to 6 runs having been dropped earlier whilst on 1.

The middle order efforts meant the lower order did not have many balls to face, but they didnít do a lot with them with Caribs Cordey, Worthy , Moss and returning with poorly finger Rehan scoring 3 runs between them. Helped by 19 extras this brought the final Carib total to 81-8 from the reduced 15 overs. This left a required run rate of around 5.5 an over. Given the GHD team had the unspellable Balasubranarian in their midst who had scored 50 runs in the match the previous season this seemed a very achievable target.

The GHD innings started steadily with a score of 13/0 from the first 3 overs. However then followed a crucial over to turn the match towards the Caribs. Beamer bowling Rohit (Ken) realised that pitching the ball on the wicket in line with the stumps was a good tactic, with this leading to 3 wickets in his over, all clean bowled (though the third was a little fortunate as Rohit(Ken) tried not to bowl out female opponent GHD Stride, but knocked over her off stump anyway). This meant Rohit (Ken) was on a hat-trick and so was of course immediately removed from the attack as Carib tradition dictates.

With the heart ripped out of the GHD top order the Caribs turned to the bowling of Essex boy Barry Willis. When eventually persuaded to part with his nice thick wooly jumper Barry bowled slightly less wides, but still gave away 10 runs in extras in his 2 overs (a theme of the Carib bowling in this match). Northern pie magnate Carib Cordey was then brought on and in amongst the wides managed to match the achievement of Carib Rohit (Ken) and took 3 wickets, also all bowled. Clearly the Carib bowlers had decided the catching of their colleagues was not to be trusted at this stage. With 6 wickets down the stand-in Carib skipper then turned to the part time bowling efforts of ringers Tom & Rehan and bowling award runner-up from the previous season Carib Moss.

The string of wides continued, with ringer Rehan matching the total of Willis of giving away 10 extras in amongst some good deliveries. However during this spell there was another key moment, 50-scoring GHD Balasubranarian was at the crease and threatening to start a match changing innings. But Ringer Tom produced a great ball with extra bounce which took the edge of the GHD manís bat, keeper Bowen taking a superb sharp catch behind the stumps. Carib Moss then took the opportunity to boost his bowling averages by taking the wicket of the other female member of the GHD team Priya who had been holding up an end.

This left the GHD team final pair of Finch & Curtis at the crease. A handy partnership was put together (boosted by the very large total of 34 extras), leaving 12 runs required from the last 2 overs. Carib Rohit (Ken) bowled a very tight penultimate over, going for just 2 runs, meaning 10 required from the last. The stand in skipper elected to give Carib Worthy the responsibility of the final over , ignoring regular death bowler Carib Cordey. 2 singles came from the first 2 balls of the over, leaving a still gettable 8 from 4 balls. The next ball was hit hard, but in the air in the direction of Rohit (Ken) at a deepish mid-on. Cool under pressure, the catch was taken and the Caribs had won by 7 runs in the final over of the match.

So the first match of the season ended with a Carib win in a very tight finish, the usual suspects then sloped off to the pub in Greenwich for the usual post-match analysis. It seems the verdict on the yellow balls is still on the agenda, with surprisingly those who scored a low amount of runs not being in favour of them.

Scorecard - Carib Beer XI WIN by 7 runs

Carib Beer XI      
Barry Willis   Bowled Farhan 0
Andy Weaver   Bowled Dawkins 6
Rehan Zaidi   Not Out 2
Andy Bowen Caught Bala Bowled Farhan 0
Alex Holmes LBW Bowled Finch 11
Tom Horn   Bowled Curtis 17
Rohit Nag   Bowled Finch 23
Phil Cordey Caught ? Bowled Finch 2
Jarrod Worthy   Not Out 0
Andy Moss   Bowled Farhan 0
EXTRAS     19
TOTAL   For 8 (15 Overs) 81
Farhan 3-0-3-3 Balasubran-Arian 2-0-4-0
Pearson-Clark 1-0-10-0 Finch 2-0-17-3
Dawkins 2-0-9-1 Priya 2-0-9-0
Ben 1-0-8-0 Alexander 1-0-12-0
Gurtis 1-0-9-1
Dawkins   Bowled Nag 2
Alexander   Bowled Nag 10
Anton   Bowled Cordey 6
Stride   Bowled Nag 0
Saif   Bowled Cordey 0
Pearson-Clarke   Bowled Cordey 0
Balasubran-Arian Caught Bowen Bowled Horn 8
Priya Caught Worthy Bowled Moss 0
Finch   Not Out 6
Curtis Caught Nag Bowled Worthy 8
EXTRAS     34
TOTAL   For 9 (15 Overs) 74
Jarrod Worthy 3-0-13-1 Rohit Nag 3-0-9-3
Barry Willis 2-0-17-0 Phil Cordey 2-0-8-3
Tom Horn 2-0-6-1 Zaidi 2-0-12-0
Andy Moss 1-0-8-1    

Carib Beer XI WIN by 7 runs