Penn Street Cricket Club PSCC v Boxmoor on Sat 24 Sep 2011 at 13.00
Penn Street Cricket Club Won by 1 wicket

Match report
“If” - I’ve used that word a lot with regards to cricket, without ever really noticing.
“If only I’d not played round that straight one. I’d have made a ton for sure.” etc etc.
Growing up, my dad offered a more succinct lesson in the futility of wondering “if”, that involved his auntie and an imaginary uncle’s genitalia. This weekend I learnt it has a far more powerful use once you allow your viewpoint to become flipped. Because “if” carries with it endless possibilities too, it just requires a leap of faith - a willingness to wonder what might be possible. Rudyard Kipling knew it, when, in perhaps his most widely-quoted work, he talked of the need to heap “all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss” and on Saturday, Jack Mendy must’ve known it too as he watched Paul Goodchild shuffle innocuously out to the wicket, silhouetted by the lights of The Squirrel amongst the early evening dusk…

It had all started in standard end-of-season fashion. Penn Street, down to ten, bowled first and for a while were their own worst enemy as a passage of inter-family bickering not seen since Fridays edition of The Jeremy Kyle Show, began to cloud an otherwise pleasant September afternoon. Boxmoor’s openers took advantage of the collective blip in concentration and soon looked well set as neither the sight of a revved up goat nor a man-sized toddler running in, could force a lapse in their own mental state. Pete Lofty huffed, puffed and pulled off the seldom seen trick of serving up a hearty leg side buffet, consisting of out-of-date prawn sandwiches, whilst continuing to sledge a batsman who was comfortably devouring every mouldy morsel. At one stage, keeping Boxmoor to something in the region of 160 looked a possibility, but the Boxmoor no. 6, Tracy – a batsman with more comments than an Al Qaeda YouTube posting – rallied the tail on his way to a gutsy fifty. Had it not been for Jack Mendy and new spin sensation Swanny Briggs, we’d have been looking at a far greater total than the formidable 215 facing us as we strolled off for tea. With 6 for 27 from his 8 overs, Jacko had bowled his heart out and returned personal best figures in a display of intelligent fast bowling that featured, along with raw pace, some astute variation. This was a spell perhaps not seen since the days of Townsend or Bocock in their prime.

In response, 10-man Penn Street started brightly with a useful opening stand between Reavey and Smith, that amassed 59. However, when Reavey was undone for 35 by a ripper from the ever vocal Tracy (seemingly unfazed by Lofty’s teatime assertion that he’d been acting like a more than part-namesake of the popular comic strip detective) regular wickets then meant that when captain Cherriott also fell in the 30s after a belligerent return to form, only Jacko at 6, stuck on 32, offered any real ray of hope.

This left us with just one injury-ravaged Chairman, forced to drop down the order, followed by one self-confessed specialist of the number 11 spot, promoted to 10 through circumstances beyond his control. Glaswegians though, as we all know, don’t feel physical pain except when their side loses the Old Firm derby, and Rob battled on to offer Jacko whatever assistance he could. Nevertheless, his brave effort soon came to an end when he holed out for 4, leaving 1 wicket left and an unlikely 76 still required. At this point, few could’ve had faith that the win was still on. Even the local Reverend, watching from the bench by the nets got up and left; though in truth, this probably had more to do with the fact that seeing the ball from 22 yards in near darkness was hard enough, let alone the boundary edge.

So, facing the abyss, what must Jacko really have been thinking as Paul Goodchild approached? Perhaps for a moment he allowed himself to glimpse the impossible, to “dream” as Kipling put it, “but not make dreams your MASTER”. Whatever the thinking, the looks on Goody and Jacko’s faces as overs went by, showed quite clearly they both believed. Displaying thunderous strokeplay and a mature cricketing brain, Jacko farmed strike intelligently in between brutally clean hitting, to bravely protect Goodchild from a peppering, as Boxmoor's opening bowler steamed in through the fading light to tickle some ribs.
Singles became scrambled twos and twos became must-make, near suicidal threes as Goody battled admirably while Jacko sailed past fifty with ease. Street hearts were soon in mouths as a skier to backward square leg was caught cleanly by the Boxmoor fielder who subsequently overstepped the boundary rope with ball in hand. Was this the sign it was to be our day? If so, no-one watching could allow themselves the thought. Rapidly the target shrunk, until 32 from 6 sounded strangely, well… do-able! If we’d come this far, why not a little further? But to now have it snatched away, well that concept was too much to take.

As boundary after boundary flew off the young knight’s blade, two decisive blows finished it. The first capped a remarkable hundred off a mere 56 balls, the second a miraculous victory as Jacko completed one of THE great all-round displays at our club, ending on 104 not out to go with figures of 6 for 27. His second fifty coming off just 22 balls in 17 minutes.
But stats can only tell you half the story - Goody deserves all the praise that can be heaped on his creaking back, for a career-defining 7 not out in his 34 minute vigil. It’s not often a single figure score feels the equal of a fifty, and furthermore, has there ever been a more popular member of Penn Street Cricket Club? Not in my experience.
Next stop allrounder status? Watch his stock rise on the Fantasy market this winter.

Following a euphoric team bundle, the pair returned to an electric Squirrel Garden, charged with liquid-powered disbelief. This truly is the way to bring seasons to a close!

Kipling famously concluded:
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the earth and everything that's in it,
and - which is more - you'll be a man, my son.”

Few who witnessed our boy’s coming of age, will ever forget it.

Man of the Match: J. Mendy

Boxmoor Batting
Player name RunsMB4s6sSR
for 10 wickets
215 (0.0 overs)
A. Dukes ct  M. Reavey b J. Mendy 31
A. Humphrey ct  C. Hammond b J. Mendy 34
R. Ballard b  J. Mendy 17
M. Chapman ct  M. Reavey b J. Mendy 0
J. Sheikh ct  M. Reavey b J. Mendy 6
L. Tracey Not Out  53
N. Hussein lbw  b J. Mendy 0
A. Price b  C. Herriot 14
J. Scott ct  & b S. Briggs 6
P. Lovell ct  C. Hammond b S. Briggs 14
A. Hinton ct  J. Mendy b P. Lofty 1

Penn Street Cricket Club PSCC Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Paul Goodchild8.003700.004.62
Chris Herriott8.0131131.003.87
Jack Mendy8.012764.503.38
Mark Lander5.002100.004.20
Peter Lofty7.0059159.008.43
Simon Briggs3.001829.006.00

Penn Street Cricket Club PSCC Batting
Player Name RMB4s6sSRCatchesStumpingsRun outs
for 8 wickets
Matt Reavey st  A. Dukes b L. Tracey 35 3
Steve Smith b  P. Lovell 7
Mark Lander ct  L. Tracey b P. Lovell 2
Simon Briggs b  L. Tracey 2 1
Chris Hammond ct  b P. Lovell 0 2
Jack Mendy Not Out  104 1
Chris Herriott ct  b A. Hinton 32
Peter Lofty ct  P. Lovell b A. Price 0
Rob Sutherland ct  P. Lovell b A. Hinton 4
Paul Goodchild Not Out  7
A.N. Other  

Boxmoor Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
A. Price8.0028128.003.50
A. Hinton8.0041220.505.13
L. Tracey8.0029214.503.63
P. Lovell8.0254318.006.75
J. Scott4.305700.0012.67