It is just after 4 o’clock in the green and pleasant surroundings of Brandenburg. The scores are tied, with HCCW needing just one run with plenty of overs and three wickets in hand. As expected, the HCCW skipper goes for glory. He gets a massive bottom edge and the ball spoons up to midwicket. The fielder gets under it, but the ball bounces cruelly out. The catch is dropped (again). The match is lost (again). A frustrated and downhearted Britannia II have to work out just how we lost (again).
Standing outside Tempelhof station seven hours before and the mood was buoyant. Today was the day! The first win of the season was there for the taking, just as long as everyone played to their full potential. One trouble-free trip down the A115 later and Bliesendorf was reached, now equipped with a bouncy matting wicket instead of last year’s mud bath. The first goal was to win the toss and bat, which we failed to do, but we ended up being put in anyway. With the ball hooping around the first objective was to reach drinks without too much trouble, but this went out of the window with three quick wickets in the first six overs.
The fightback was led by opener Aarush (25), who was joined by Omair and Ali in quick succession and began to build some decent partnerships. Ali in particular showed the HCCW bowlers the long handle when given any time and room, before he was finally out when running low on partners for an admirable 45. A few good individual shots aside, the remaining batsmen didn’t cover themselves in glory and the break was taken with the score at 113 after just 23 overs.
We are no strangers to defending small totals, as everyone knows. With the right bowling 113 could and should have been enough, but some early dropped catches meant we were always playing catch-up. With our seam attack getting married (or watching) in Poland, skipper Sunil opened the bowling but found it difficult to control the new cherry, and though Matin, Ali and Asim struggled gainfully to extract some spin on the rock-hard surface there was nothing to do but wait till the ball lost its shine and turn to the spinners. However, with almost half the target reached and only one wicket down by the first drinks break, things were not looking good.
Overs 17 to 34 are usually the ones where we struggle, but this time the lads fought back excellently. Schayan and Neil worked in tandem to frustrate the batsmen and their excellent lines were rewarded with wickets, while Asim also bowled with great intelligence. However, sloppy fielding and more dropped catches did the damage again and HCCW got home in relative comfort.
The trip back to Berlin was much more sombre, with yet another loss going into the books. We all have to take a long, hard look at ourselves to see where the problems lie. The lack of a strike bowler apart, this was unfortunately a case of no excuses…the fielding and batting were simply not good enough. “Doing one’s best” can only take you so far before you simply have to take responsibility and win! As professional Scotsman Sean Connery said in “The Rock”: “Your besht? Losers always whine about their besht. Winners go home and f*ck the prom queen!”
Anyway, bring on Dresden!
The CricHQ scorecard can be found here: https://www.crichq.com/#matches/149139