Ashes Tour 2006

Once again, the sun shone down on the glistening Woodford Park Oval, where the Shrimps XI sought to bring about yet another victory over the Hobnob XI.

Pre-match online banter had seen the hobnobbers talking up their chances, whilst the Shrimpers were as confident this year as they had been in the past. The hobnob team looked to be stronger than in the early years of this now traditional fixture, with a fine mix of strapping young fellows chumming up with some wiser older heads. The shrimps returned to their tried and trusted blend of hungover football hooligans marshalled by a selection of slightly better looking and less hungover old farts.

This year’s hobnob captain was TROLI, who had concerned the Shrimpers with his tales of his proper cricketing education whilst at Wellington College. He took the toss with the scarcely less educated Scrooge, who won the toss and had no hesitation in electing to bat first – GO SHRIMPS!

The Shrimps XI

Already Scrooge started to outflank his opposite number, mixing up his batting order to ensure that his stellar batsman went in once the hobnob bowling heavyweights (Lawrie Figzal I am referring to you) had blown their bowling oats. The shrimps were delighted to see Super Kevin Bremner finally open his batting account for his team, but The Balti Express showed his mettle with some early wickets.

At the other end, Dan19 bowled like an inexperienced youth on his first full night with his young lady friend – plenty of enthusiasm but little rhythm and not enough penetration. The hobnob cause was helped by a running mix up between captain Scrooge and Alad, who at least paid his skipper back with a brace of crunching boundaries.

Some tight bowling from Maguire was not matched by TROLI, who did at least surprise Shrimps key man Finch with a rare straight one. When Aggro waddled out to join Andover Royal, the shrimps were struggling and action was called for. Aggro and Andover responded manfully, with a series of swashbuckling blows to the boundary, accompanied with the now customary gaggle of wides from the hobnob back-up bowling. Their fine partnership put shrimps back on course for a formidable target until Sharpy astonished Andover with a delivery which actually reached the other end of the pitch and castled the Shrimps hero. The hobnob effort in the field was top class, with Maguire sprinting 75 yards to pull off an amazing stop on the boundary, and then smoothly relaying the ball to the waiting Compo, who whistled the ball in over the stumps.

However, instead of staying the Shrimps run-feast, this only stirred the champions desire even more, with Hugo Boss mixing cautious defence with an almost Gower-esque suite of drives, cuts and glances. With Aggro bullying the hobnob bowling and notching a splendid half-century, the shrimpers finished with a brutal 154/6 off 20 overs.

The Hobnob XI

The mid-innings break saw much LOLing from the shrimps at 5p Throwers tattoo of the Roadrunnner on his upper thigh, regrettably (unless Tart Man has taken photos of which I am unaware) this must stay hidden from the wider world. Perhaps on reflection this is a good thing.

The hobnob XI innings was opened by the lithe and athletic duo of Chicken Balti Pie and BiscuitsRUs. Once again Scrooge, comparable to Mike Brearley in so many ways, pulled off a tactical masterstroke by opening the bowling with the canny spinners of SKB, who repaid his captain’s faith immediately by pitching in with a cheap over. Keeping his opponents in a tactical whirl, Scrooge then switched back to the banana swing of Finch and the more prosaic trundlers of MOI. After a couple of well-taken boundaries, Biscuits was castled by the geriatric left-armer, bringing Dan19 to the crease. Dan and CBP rattled along at a rare rate of scoring, with fours and sixes sizzling off the bats of the hobnob heroes. The shrimpers fielding grew ragged, with a wild Aggro throw whistling away for four overthrows.

Dan19 was bowled by a brisk seamer from Sav, who had finally left his deckchair to bowl a lively spell. Andover’s bowling took some stick from CBP but he responded superbly, with a well-disguised slower ball beating the Happy Hammer’s defence for a blatant LBW. The Chirpy Cockney disputed the decision, but from my vantage point of wide 3rd man it looked absolutely plumb. The West Ham fan soon realised his goose was cooked and left the field of play having notched a splendid 50.

The hobnobbers were well ahead of the run-rate at this point but were gently pegged back by steady bowling from Scrooge, and another SKB cheap over, and a scatty mix of wides and unplayable jaffas from 5p Thrower and then by Hugo. Scrooge then played his final card of the day, electing various family members to bowl, with Boycott sending down a splendid over, bamboozling Compo who then blazed at a wider one – MOI stopping a certain boundary with a breathtaking stop, technically it was a chance, but no matter as the pressure was beginning to tell, Abbo hoicking a tough chance to be caught by man of the moment Hugo, and Compo also falling to “No nickname” Brother of Scrooge.

The final over started. Sharpy facing MOI with eight runs needed to win. MOI used his aeons of experience and put down six straight balls, reasoning that if Sharpy missed one he was out, but the rotund former stundent was equal to the examination, cannily placing each shot beyond the reach of the Shrimps fielders. The Sharpshooter was well supported by AndyRFC, valiantly peeking out over the top of his pads. Fair play gents – you deserved at least a draw.

So as ever the roll-call of thanks: thanks, in no order of importance whatsoever, to AJD for getting the match organised, booking the pitch, bringing food and if I heard correctly donating the match fees to a worthy cause (?), Bats and Glo for bringing food, Bats for not minding that my kids ate a large amount of it, The Balti Express for digging out Woodley’s dirty smelly spare kit, everyone who turned up and, as usual, I’ll sign off by saying let’s do it again next year!


Shrimps XI Vs Hobnob XI
Sunday, 5th August 2007
Woodford Park, Woodley

Shrimps XI won the toss and elected to bat

Super Kevin Bremner b Balti Express - 1
5p Thrower b Dan19 - 0
Scrooge run out - 3
Alad b Balti Express - 13
Finch lbw Troli - 1
Andover b Sharpy - 24
Aggro not out - 50
Hugo not out - 13
Extras (12b 30w 7nb) - 49

TOTAL (6 wickets, 20 ovs) - 154

Did not bat - Memories of India, AbovetheI, Sav

Bowling Analysis
Dan19 2-0-10-1 Balti Express 3-0-17-2 Troli 2-0-29-1 Maguire 2-0-5-0 Biscuits r us 2-0-14-0 Sharpy 2-0-14-1 Compo 1-0-6-0 AndyRFC 1-0-11-0 Schards 2-0-17-0 Ayjaydee 1-0-10-0 Abbo 1-0-7-0 Chicken Balti 1-0-2-0

Chicken Balti lbw Andover - 52
Biscuits r us b Memories of India - 8
Dan19 b Sav - 14
Balti Express c Aggro b Boycott - 23
Schards c Finch b Scrooge - 8
Ayjaydee b 5p Thrower - 3
Compo c Andover b Brother Scrooge - 4
Sharpy not out - 6
Abbo c Hugo b Brother Scrooge - 1
AndyRFC not out - 1
Extras (6b 4lb 23w 1nb) - 34

TOTAL (8 wickets, 20 ovs) - 154

Did not bat - Troli

Bowling Analysis
SKB 2-0-9-0 Finch 2-0-11-0 MOI 3-0-16-1 Andover 2-0-31-1 AbovetheI 2-0-20-0 Aggro 2-0-17-0 Sav 2-0-13-1 Scrooge 1-0-4-1 5p Thrower 1-0-6-1 Hugo 1-0-12-0 Boycott 1-0-3-1 Brother Scrooge 1-0-2-2

RESULT: Match Tied

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