Nestled sweatily in the middle of London’s hottest week for months was one day of monsoon showers, apocalyptic thunder and hail.
Naturally it was on this day that the Big Cricket Punch-Up rolled into Chiswick for an industry T20 match – England Vs The West Indies (and the rest of the World), fielded by The King’s Ginger and El Dorado rum respectively.
Shortly before the match began, bartenders and other industry folk began to arrive and congregate at the practice nets, casting longing eyes at the punch bar being assembled outside the pavilion and concerned eyes at the gathering clouds above.
With a protracted rain delay on the cards, winning the toss would obviously be crucial. However, BarLifeUK was in the gents sabotaging Ed McAvoy’s box at the time and missed it.
Whoever won, it was the Windies in to bat first as England took to the field and skipper Nick Worthington looked confused about terms like square leg and silly point.
Encumbered as we were by fielding duties, BarLifeUK were unable to make our usual detailed notes, and so cannot bring you individual batting and bowling figures. However, certain events during the innings stood out:
Umpire Simon Webster being heard to say that giving Ian Burrell out for a golden duck LBW was his “finest cricketing moment”
The bowling of Richard Wynne and BarLifeUK doubling the Windies’ run count with extras
The entire fielding team closing in to within 10 feet of Duane Shepherd for his first delivery
Sean Ware being heard to say “I can’t keep this up for much longer” having run his first quick single.
Ed McAvoy dropping a sitter of a catch and basically losing the game for England single-handedly.
West Indies total: 131 for 9 off 20 Overs
Rain started to come down during the last few overs of the West Indies’ innings, and tropical storm-intensity thunder soon followed. As the players ran from the field to take shelter and drink punch, a fork of lightening struck a tree next to the pitch – the resulting thunderclap rattled the windows.
At this point, Dub Dub, unhappy with the amount of ice in his drink, held it outside of the pavilion canopy and topped it up with hailstones.
Hopefully these two events will convey to the reader how challenging the conditions were about to become for England’s batsmen. Any accusations of poor performance due to three hours of punch consumption during the rain delay are unfounded and to be ignored.
While the teams munched on some rather fine Caribbean food, courtesy of Ting ‘n’ Ting, the captains and Paul The Groundsman inspected the wicket.
It was a swamp and clearly unplayable, so they called and end to lunch and England openers Ed McAvoy and BarLifeUK took to the crease.
The West Indies cunningly outfoxed their opponents by rotating their best bowlers, as opposed to letting idiots (BarLifeUK) have a go like England did.
This tactic and a soggy outfield slowed England’s progress. Despite solid knocks from Ed McAvoy, Tim Homewood, Richard Wynne, Joe Stokoe and an epic slog-fest by Barry Halstead which contained the match’s only 6, The King’s Ginger’s men just didn’t score quickly enough to trouble the Windies’ 131 total.
The Big Cricket Punch-Up raised a total of £558, which is fantastic and if every charity asked for money in return for punch, jerk chicken and a cricket match, we feel the World would be a much happier place.
Thanks must go to match umpires, Simon Webster, Ed Bates and Stuart Ekins, to Paul The Groundsman for ‘getting his roller out’ and ensuring the match could take place in rubbish conditions, and to Hege Sundberg for so ably keeping score.
And last, but by no means least, thanks to the players and spectators who braved an early start and a soaking to spend their hard earned cash on a very worthy cause. See you next year!