The Trinidad Test
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Carib Beer XI vs Dodgers - July 23rd 2009

The Caribs went into this game with the momentum of a great victory behind us, although we hadn't yet played against the Dodgers, we had seen their website, and had been reviewing it during the week for clues about their relative strengths and weaknesses to see what sort of game we were in for, hoping that we weren't about to have our arses handed to us during the evening and that we could possibly give them a useful game. There were a couple of hopeful signs, such as the allusion to the hammerings they had experienced during their early years, back in the 90s, when they were nothing but a small team of accountants, but there were also some worrying indicators, in that they had recently managed a 2nd wicket partnership of 186 runs, not out, normally a total we'd be happy with in two weeks of batting, but nevertheless, we approached the game with the confidence of a team with "momentum" on our side, and the belief that comes with a, so far, very successful season. Perhaps the 186 Not Out had been scored against a team even worse than us, and as such, was not a useful barometer of what was to be expected from them on the day, or just perhaps, they did in fact possess a batting line-up capable of putting us to the sword.

Arriving at Regents Park, as we do, in dribs and drabs, from all parts of the south-east, and via various off-licenses, we were able to delude ourselves even further, by arriving at the pitch earlier than any of the opposition did. We consoled ourselves in the knowledge that they had to travel from South London somewhere, and that this allowed a couple of us to grab some cricket balls out of the kit bags, a couple of bats, and to actually practice "CRICKET" on the boundary edge as we watched the slow arrival of the opposition team, hoping, against hope as it turned out, that they could possibly be intimidated by our commitment to excellence and fitness, as we generally are by the similar behaviour of the teams that we face.

Nevertheless, by 6pm both sides had arrived at the ground and our Captain and Best Batsman, Martin Haigh, had engaged the opposition captain for the pre-game discussions and the toss. As has happened all season, Martin duly lost, and we found ourselves told to field and began to head out and prepare to receive their openers. Unfortunately, we were not fielding a particularly powerful bowling unit this week, missing the Compulsive Bouncer Bowling Ringer Jarrod Worthy, along with our newest member, the pacey Uttam. To make matters worse, the aging medium pacer and generally most reliable bowler Carib Rogerson seems to be in the midst of a complete loss of form, which left only our Captain, Martin Haigh, and the somewhat less than useful 4th Change Bowler, Carib Willis, to hold the attack together. To replace some last minute drop outs, however, our Captain, Martin Haigh, had brought along a colleague of his, Mandeep, who had been corralled into playing at the very last moment to the point where he was forced to borrow the trousers of another colleague of his in the office in order to play, but who was apparently quite useful with the ball. Batting wise, bludgeoning northerner Phil Cordey was also unavailable, as was Chief Statistician Gordon Berry and Team Organiser, Rich Harris. Our heavily built middle order big hitter Glen Rayner also continued his absence, much missed by his middle order colleagues, although we were able to persuade Useful Batting, but rather less useful bowling Ringer Dan Tungate, to take his place in the line up.

The first over was taken by the ageing medium pacer Carib Rogerson, at the Dodger openers Taylor and Qureshi, and almost immediately, things didn't go too well. Whereas last week's mid pitch long hops were skied towards the close fielders, or patted back down the pitch, this week they were immediately despatched towards the boundary with expert precision, and the first over saw the Dodgers Batsmen open their accounts in style. Second over was taken by the highly regarded, by Martin, Ringer Mandeep, desperately trying to hold up the rather generous and roomy trousers he had borrowed from his work colleague, and he too struggled with accuracy as the ball continued regularly to fly towards the boundary ropes as the Dodgers Batsmen hit their straps. The third and fourth over were more of the same, Carib Rogerson's long hops being smashed to all parts, and his confidence visibly waning. One massively over pitched wide was dispatched to the point boundary for a huge six at one point, and the increasingly dejected old timer, shoulders slumped, began to seriously consider an early retirement and some well earned gardening leave.

Martin Haigh, our best batsman, replaced Ringer Mandeep, hoping to exert some control over the score sheet, but the carnage continued, as he too appeared to be struggling with his line and length. Amazingly, it was only the introduction of part time fourth change bowler, and imminent loser of the Carib Beer XI Bowling Award Barry Willis, who managed to slow things down a bit with some useful line and length. However, the early damage had well and truly been done. After only 6 overs, the Dodgers were already on 66 for none, and both openers had retired bringing two more heavy hitters to the crease in the form of Dodgers Hatteea and Radcliffe, both of whom continued to nonchalantly swat our hapless bowling to the boundary fence, seemingly at will. Before long, they too had passed the statutory retirement score of 25 and returned to the boundary edge to be replaced, as the Dodgers run rate continued put the game out of our reach.

Our Captain and Best Batsman, Martin Haigh, brought on the Useful Ringer Dan Tungate to see if an over or two of half track two bounce dobblers might be able to slow the run rate down. In the event, it was yet another inspired piece of captaincy by our Best Batsman and Team Manager, as one of Dan's long hops managed to sneak under the bat of one of Dodger Westhead and bowl him, fourth bounce, for, what must have been for him in the circumstances, a humiliating 1 run. Unfortunately, this wasn't to signal the collapse that we were desperately hoping for as it brought to the crease another heavy hitting Dodger, Cooper J, who continued the mauling of the procession of long hops and wides delivered by the Carib's increasingly toothless attack, before he too reached his compulsory retirement score and was forced to return to the boundary not-out in favour of the next batsman. On this occasion, however, the new Batsman, Dodger Matthew, didn't last long as a returned throw to the bowler, as he scampered through for a rare single, saw the stumps disturbed and an appeal raised to our usually relentlessly correct Official Umpire Michael Lee, who amazingly, raised his finger and sent the hapless Dodger on his way. There was some suspicion on this occasion, however, that the batsman had in fact made his ground and that Michael had erred in his decision and that the Dodger batsman had had his innings cruelly and unfairly decapitated. However, given the usually stratospherically high levels of accuracy he displays, and the already massive Dodgers total in the offing, he is surely to be forgiven this one mistake.

With the best of the Dodgers Batsman either retired or back in the hutch, the remainder of the Dodgers line up proved somewhat more manageable, and the compulsive boundary hitting of the top and middle orders slowed somewhat as the lower order nurdlers, although attempting to capitalise on the great start they had been given, weren't able to replicate the high scoring of their colleagues. Humiliated opening bowler Carib Rogerson had to be encouraged by his Captain Martin Haigh to return to complete his spell and against the lower order, managed to at least get the ball in some reasonable areas, even encouraging one of the Dodgers to sky a catch up to Captain Martin Haigh. Normally, given Martin's catching form this year, this would have been the signal for the ageing Medium Pacer to begin to trudge back to his bowling mark, but on this occasion, Martin pulled of a great catch, giving the miserable ex fast bowler at least something to salvage from his disastrous bowling performance. From the other end Ringer Mandeep returned to complete his spell and the Dodgers innings moved towards its conclusion, the Caribs having given up long ago any thoughts that we could ever overhaul their score, which ended on 161 for 3, the highest total we have ever conceded, and surely a total that could cause us some embarrassment if we failed to make a decent fist of our reply. Barry Willis suggested that we should aim to lose by no more than 100 runs, but, given some of our batting displays over the last couple of years, not something we could take for granted just yet.

Nevertheless, Captain Martin Haigh began to rally the troops on the boundary and cajole the unwilling volunteers to pad up and head out to bad. In the event, it was our Keen Wicketkeeper, Andy Bowen, and Tour Manager Andy Weaver who were to take the honours and begin our unlikely chase towards the Dodgers target. However, in only the second over of our already torturous reply, the heavens opened and with the resultant downpour hammering the ground, we were forced to race en masse towards the "hub" along with the rest of the park's occupants, or sit cowering under hastily unfurled umbrellas waiting for the storm to pass as rain dripped down our backs. As we contemplated the Duckworth Lewis requirements for what would constitute a game, we decided (as we had no rules) that should the game be called off, we could possibly, legitimately call the match a draw. Unfortunately for our win loss ratio, however, the sky gods relented and the rain tailed off and amazingly, we were able to recommence the game on the Artificial pitch, conveniently located two tracks to the left of our own now water logged pitch without too much time lost. Although once the team had re-assembled, we were to discover that Ringer Mandeep had run such a distance in an effort to avoid the rain that he had made it almost to his front door, and sadly, he was to play no further part in the game.

When our innings finally reconvened Andy Weaver hung around a while longer for his hard fought 3, while at the other end our Keen Wicketkeeper, Andy Bowen, played his innings of the season, advancing to 19 before being bowled by the Dodgers opening bowler. This brought one of our Best Ringers, Dan Tungate, to the crease, and before long, he was hitting it to all parts, although with the outfield, now decidedly muddy, many of his skied big hits made large wet craters on the outfield instead of racing away to the boundary as they had when the Dodgers batted. Even so, in only 15 balls, Ringer Dan had reached 25 and was forced to retire, in favour of our Team Manager, Captain and somewhat out of form Batsman, Martin Haigh to the crease. This time, however, Martin was not to disappoint, and we were to enjoy one of his customary batting master-classes, as he flailed the Dodgers' bowling to all parts. Before long, Martin too was able to retire with 25 to his name, at better than a run a ball, his eye surely now on the end of season batting award, inexplicably won by Tour Manager Andy Weaver last year.

Next man in Richard Harris failed to trouble the scorers to any great extent, to be followed by a tortuously slow 2 from our Floppy Hatted Twirler Ringer Bailey. Desperately out of form Medium Pacer Carib Rogerson, although playing a couple of nice scoring shots in an ungraceful 9 fell to a tossed up straight one from the Dodger's Twirler Carr, and of course, we were now into our tail. Line and Length Bowler Rob White managed a solitary single, and now petty much down to the dregs of our batting card, and with no possible hope of victory, we at least looked to bat out our overs. Barry Willis, obviously playing for his averages, after realising (although surely a fantasy) that he could possibly be in contention for the end of season batting award, hung around for a full 15 balls for his 5 runs, while at the other end, Keen Ringer Andy Moss missed a few on his way to a hard fought two not out. However, the game had now become a matter of pride, rather than victory, and as our scored eased over the 100 mark, for the loss of only six wickets, we believed that we had at least failed to disgrace ourselves, in the face of a batting line up that to be honest, was just a little to strong for us. Nevertheless, we'd had an enjoyable game, and as is customary in these circumstances, and with the season now half over, we headed off to the pub for a few well earned pints of Becks Vier on the way home.

Carib Beer XI lose by 51 runs

Ringer Andy Moss ready to miss one
Carib Rogerson trudges back to the boundary
Carib Willis kicks the ground in frustration
Carib Willis and Carib White
Carib Willis and Carib White confer
Opposition Slow Bowler, and Michael Lee
Carib Rogerson jogs through for a single
Carib Rogerson catches his breath, while Michael Lee looks on
Carib Rogerson prepares to miss one
Carib Rogerson, surprised by a short one
Carib Rogerson drives into the covers
A game of cricket, yesterday.
Carib Ringer Rob Bailey hits out
Carib Bailey as the rain comes down
Captain and leader Martin Haigh
Dodgers bowler, with Andy Moss looking on
Martin Haigh, Captain
Martin Haigh dances down the wicket
Rob Bailey on his way out
Ringer Dan Tungate skies one towards the boundary


Dodgers CC      
Taylor Not Out 25
Qureshi Not Out 27
Hatteea Not Out 27
Radcliffe Not Out 28
Westhead   Bowled Dan Tungate 1
Cooper R Not Out 27
Mattew Run Out 0
Lowe Caught Haigh Bowled Rogerson 3
Paterson Not Out 2
Cooper J Caught Weaver Bowled Mandeep 1
Carr (Did not bat)      
EXTRAS     Not recorded
TOTAL   For 3 (20 overs) 161
Peter Rogerson 4-0-35-1 Ringer Mandeep 4-0-29-1
Martin Haigh 4-0-27-0 Rob White 2-0-13-0
Barry Willis 4-0-27-0 Dan Tungate 1-0-6-1
Andy Moss 1-0-17-0    
Carib Beer XI      
Andy Weaver Caught Mattews Bowled Paterson 3 (8)
Andy Bowen   Bowled Paterson 19 (20)
Dan Tungate Not Out 25 (15)
Martin Haigh Not Out 25 (19)
Richard Harris   Bowled Lowe 0 (2)
Rob Bailey   Bowled Lowe 2 (9)
Peter Rogerson   Bowled Carr 9 (13)
Rob White   Bowled Carr 1 (4)
Barry Willis Not Out 5 (15)
Andy Moss Not Out 2 (7)
Mandeep (Ran Home when it rained - not seen again)    
EXTRAS     17
TOTAL   For 6 (20 Overs) 110
Patterson 4-0-23-2 Cooper J 4-0-28-0
Lowe 3-0-21-2 Cooper R 3-0-7-0
Carr 3-0-9-2 Hatteea 3-1-7-0