Friday night 10pm: Skipper calls me to establish if I was observing the curfew. Luckily I was able to respond positively as I was indeed in bed having consumed my six pints of Pride and curry before the lock down. This was Christmas Eve aka Willesden Green Eve. The excitement the same, it was just a question if Santa would bring all the presents I asked for.
Waking at dawn it was time to check the kit and prepare mentally for the Caribbean sledging. Beautiful day, temperatures promised to hit 24C. This was the big one.
Crossbats assembled like excited school children promptly at 1.30pm. No surprise our West Indian friends were late and the time was put to good use discussing plans for Portugal.
The toss lost, we were soon toiling in the field, chasing flying balls to the boundary as Willesden Green set about the task with their usual flair. Slowly this new breed of Crossbats began to fight back and tighten the game. Runs started to dry up as key wickets fell. Jones in fine form tying up the middle order with figures of: 8 Overs, 2 Maidens, 14 Runs, 3 Wickets. Man of match!
In a super human effort we held them down to just 172 runs, which after 40 overs was excellent work. The tail was particularly well polished off by Dunbar (still smarting from being taken off early in his first spell) and his Dad, Fraser.
Tea was taken at dinner time as Willesden Green, feeling the cold breath of a loss at their heels, started to drag the game out even more in the hope that bad light might save them.
Needless to say, anything over 100 is a stiff task for our team, so this was not going to be easy. Spiro, fearing the opening salvo of fast bowlers may bring on another nose bleed, elected to drop down the order and give new boy, Fraser, a go with the bat. Fraser ( nick name to be decided) did not disappoint and was shortly back in the deck chair sporting the Duck Cap (see picture). That left Winch and Collier (see picture of him keeping) in the middle and with some superior running between the wickets and sumptuous fours and sixes, they took us to victory.
A long awaited quality win over the old enemy. Well done.