Report by Daniel Mortlock:
After last year's wash-out we were finally going to get a game at Lower Slaughter, although not yet against the Slaughters, as they'd been unable to get a side out for an afternoon game, instead going for an evening twenty/20 (as described below). So FAS instead took over the ground for an internal game between the football-inpsired It's Coming Home and the torso-inspired Gym Selfie Wankers, named for James Houlder's bulging instagram feed.
The afternoon started badly when Hal Dare decided to barrel down the track to the ground, covering a neighbour's washing (and indeed the neighbour herself) with a plume of dust that would have done Chernobyl proud. Said neighbour marched down the driveway and tore Hal a new one - Cliff's never managed to make him look this contrite - and then things got worse when it was revealed that this wasn't just any neighbour but the ground's landowner.
Once we'd negotiated that hurdle it was time to select teams, which seemed fairly balanced, but were soon revealed to be heavily weighted in favour of the Selfie Wankers. Their bowlers and fielders had an, er, field day, taking wickets and catches for fun. On the former score the star was Alex Grub, whose velociraptor-inspired grip yielded tidy figures of 2/12 against a formidable opposition top order, with Zoe Dare (2/16) also bowling well; and on the latter score it was James Houlder who showed he's wasted behind the sticks, making Jonty Rhodes level diving catches and stops for fun. Nigel Reynolds (59 off 41 balls) was at least able to take It's Coming Home to respectability, although on a good batting track 142 didn't feel like enough off 25 overs.
Sure enough, Rufus Dennis (33 off 27 balls), Daniel Mortlock (27 off 32 balls) and prodigal batsman James Wyatt (47* off 60 balls) made pretty comfortable work of the chase, although if all the edges generated by Harry Houlder (1/25) had been caught it might have been a different story.
Report by Daniel Mortlock:
All the pre-match excitement was centred on who'd make the cut from the earlier internal game and get a second run out against Slaughters United. For some reason there was a sense that FAS was going to be too strong for them, and the selection process reflected this: while put out a pretty strong batting side, most of the regular seamers were left to drink cider in the evening light.
After a dismal start, lowlighted by Henry Hall being dismissed without facing a ball, Harry Houlder (15 off 17 balls), Big Jim (14 off 9 balls) and, particularly, Cliff (51 off 52 balls) began scoring at will, repeatedly sending the ball - and hence the fielders - into the nearby allotments. But once Cliff was bowled by a virtual Doppelganger it all went wrong, and our target of 160+ soon receded out of sight. Some late hitting by James Houlder (15 off 17 balls) took us to 137 all out - we didn't even last our 20 overs in the end - and it was far from clear that this would be sufficient.
Very soon the question was really whether the aforementioned 160 would have been sufficient, as the Slaughters' burly openers returned the favour, smashing the ball further into the allotments - and more often. Our "attack" was made to look decidedly pop-gun in nature - and it's not recorded what Joe White made of all this from the sidelines - and the massacre ended only when the two batsmen were unilaterally retired by their captain, meaning we now had the extra insult of an opposition taking pity on us. From there it looked like the batting order had been reversed, or at very least shuffled, although the only material result of this were some cheap wickets for erstwhile batsman Jimmy Wyatt, who took 3/17. We also managed several run outs, and the final 3-wicket margin maybe seems like things were close - but the real truth is contained in the fact that the winning runs were hit with 10% of the innings remaining.