Crusaders vs United Hospitals - Match report

Saturday 14 May 2016

The 4th of May is Star Wars Day. Well, this year, the 4th was undoubtedly with CUCC’s very own grizzly bear, Jacob Pockney. A gorgeous Wednesday afternoon at Girton College saw the Crusaders take on the United Hospitals. By now, the Crusaders have grown accustomed to Girton’s idiosyncrasies, and in this game, the home team’s local knowledge shone through as the Crusaders eased themselves to another victory. Winning the toss and batting first, returning captain Tom Day will have no doubt hoped for a fast start. While fast is out of the question with the club’s eminent badger and statistician Jonny French at the other end, the Crusaders’ start with the bat was very solid. The first boundary came after five overs, Day creaming the Hospitals’ opener through the covers; French, too, was lively, nudging his first runs for the Crusaders from his first ball, in his fourth game for the side. Despite Sam Jelley’s protestations to the contrary, I assure you that the joy (and relief) from the sidelines was genuine. Sadly, the Crusaders’ start did not push on as promised as Day (22) spooned a catch into the legside, a dismissal as soft as a marshmallow, and one that will harken back to the skipper’s 2015 propensity of giving the ring fielders catching practice. French soon followed, chasing a wide one that found his outside edge (14). This brought CUCC full debutant Dan Corner, seeking to follow in brother Tom’s footsteps, to the crease alongside vice-captain and best-looking team member, Henry Goodwin. Goodwin sought to be aggressive from the outset, skipping down the track and lofting the Hospitals’ spinner for a one-bounce four. Having lost Corner (5) in a similar fashion to Day, the Crusaders reached drinks with Goodwin and the club’s second best-looking player, Ali Dewhurst, set and looking to push on. Sadly, Goodwin’s hubris was to be his undoing soon after as, having swapped helmet for jazz cap, he pulled a long-hop to mid-wicket, departing for 19. However Dewhurst, no doubt spurred on by his desire to usurp Goodwin as the club’s best-looking player, pushed on, rotating the strike to great effect. He was ably supported by Webster (14), who struck a trademark lusty blow, Varsity Newspaper’s own Mistlin (12) and token Scotsman, McNab (12*). Nonetheless, the Crusaders will have been disappointed to only post 178 from their 50 overs, with a crucial knock of 58* from Dewhurst proving the ballast to an innings that otherwise lacked sustenance.

In the field, the Crusaders continued their dominance with the ball. Webster and McNab got the team off to a great start, the former snaring the Hospitals’ skipper LBdouche, before McNab nipped himself a pair of wickets, in no small part due to the athleticism of Avish Patel (yes, that Avish Patel) at backward-point. Jelley also continued his stellar form for the Crusaders this season, clean bowling two of the Hospitals’ batsmen; those in the slip-cordon claim their risqué chat about Jeremy Hunt is deserving of recognition for at least one of these scalps. Enter Pockney. Jacob Pockney, or ‘Cockers’ as he’s affectionately known by some of the faithful, has often been known for his off-field exploits as much as on. Let’s just say that the picturesque surroundings of Girton College are not alien to Jacob. Indeed, the mere whisper of ‘Pockers’ in Girton’s corridors elicits excited whispers, quickened heart-rates and no small amount of cursing. However, from now on, nobody can question Jacob’s achievement on the field. Bowling a probing line and length, Jacob picked up wicket after wicket, first seeing a rising length ball snaffled at mid-off by Jelley, before a near identical ball was snaffled by the second half of the dynamic duo, French. Then, it was the grabbers turn to get in on the action. Day, a man whose performance is never diluted by injury (in this case a broken finger, rather than glandular fever), dived to his right at first slip, before Goodwin elevated for a Strauss-esque catch in the gully. He finished with a season-best 4-18 in just four overs. By the time that Crusaders’ fourth-choice spinner, Avish Patel, came into the fray, the damage was done. But that did not stop Patel putting on a show for the fans, and making a case for selection against the Authentics, as he ragged five past the outside edge, before bemusing the Hospitals’ number 10 with a mesmeric googly that saw his stumps castled, and the game won for Cambridge. Another victory for the Crusaders, yes. However this day, the 4th May 2016, will always be remembered as the day that Pockney translated his talents from the Grange to the game.

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