The Club Yoyo. Gav’s been up and down between the 1st & 2nd XI more times than a whore’s drawers. You would think that this would be the main headache for the captains each week – which team to put our Gav in. But it’s not. The main headache is what boundary marker to put people on when our Gav bowls. The answer is the next field if possible! I mean can you really call it bowling? For sure our Gav has burgled 6 wickets in a single game, but even Stevie Wonder can chuck a ball up high and hope for the best. It’s a frustrating game this cricket malarkey. But more about the man himself. Gav’s surname isn’t just Cook by coincidence. Oh no. Before his days as a brick layer (if only his bowling figures were as study as his walls) Gavala was a top chef at his local wimpy. Gav took up the name ‘Cook’ because he just loved making food. You can see this every week when Gav plays when he offers the batsman 6 pies an over.
In a previous life Gav must have been Chinese. He hates dogs. Detests them , so much so that Gav would rather have Adolf Hitler sit on his lap whilst he stroked him rather than the resident WMCC mascot Trigger. Maybe Adolf and Gav are mates. Have you seen the size of Gav’s cricket bag. Must be the largest in the world – big enough to fit a small Nazi in for sure. Can’t keep anything else in their surely – apart from those shiny new pads and gloves, and that unused bat. Don’t let the blotches of red fool you. Gav will tell you they’re from boundaries. Poppycock – after another 1’s fiasco Gav got out for a duck and went straight to the supermarket. Coming across the vegetable aisle Gav vented his frustration on the cherry tomatoes. Gav was eventually escorted out but caused a right palaver when his bag got stuck in the doors. Very embarrassing. Managers had to lube him up with butter to squeeze him into the gap – something Gav is still struggling to do when batting.
Signed from Margaretting in the 14/15 transfer window (undisclosed fee) JP was disheartened to learn that the WMCC ladies had since folded, and so decided to join the 2nd XI.
Since the change JP has taken the cricket world by storm, putting fear into the hearts of Division 8 batsman around the T-Rippon with his blistering medium pace half trackers and abnormally close eyebrows, not to mention his chin which for a young lad is abnormally gigantic compared to the other areas of his body – like Quagmire from family guy. Our JP suffers an unfortunate case of Narcolepsy and temporary tattoos, provided to him by the Woodham faithful. His voice also resembles something that a Gnat would produce – one of those annoying little buggers that constantly irritate everyone. However, just being too big to swat with a roll of newspaper we allow JP to stay - just so we can see him jump over the ball in fright whenever it comes near him. Hilarity.
Alas, despite this adversity JP, ever one to say ignore the naysayers has recently come about as a bit of a daredevil all-rounder. Against Island Tavners in 2016 he proved his worth with the bat, hitting a splendid knock of 48 until he snatched defeat out of the very jaws of victory and scooped a doddering ball straight to a fielder, costing WMCC the game and the batsman his chance at a maiden 50. Yet there is great potential in this young lass, and like the many scribbles of ink on his drunken arm, fortune too is written in the stars for seasons to come. If you don't believe that, you will also fail to believe JP holds the record for second best bowling spell in the history of WMCC, with an impressive 7-32. Sadly, once again falling two short to be the King of the swingers.
The “Yipes” can be defined as the following: ‘The loss of fine motor skill in athletes’. But can this term be associated with our very own Ian Ball? Firstly, Ian is a batsman (despite his wicket tally showing 18 victims #whodidballypayoff?) And therefore, can batsman get the yipes? Should we class our Ball as some kind of strange yipes all-rounder? The term yipes also implies the ‘loss’ of something. Is it possible to lose a you’ve skill never had? Can we count the nudge for single down to fine-leg a skill? It’s a run I suppose, but what happens when they put three behind square? And does the yipes only apply to athletes? I’m not knocking Ball’s age, but he does start every conversation off with “during the war.” Of course I jest. Our Bally isn’t talking about the Second World War. He’s talking about the Boar War. I mean this fella is so old he has pants and socks older than me. Can you smell that, that’s called jealousy.
But a fine figure of a man our I-Ball is. The club’s second leading run scorer only behind D. Fannon. Ball has hit three marvellous centuries for the club, his highest 120* against Bluehouse (never heard of them either – must have been a pre-war game I think). If you scan your eyes across a cricket encyclopaedia (or just ask Manu) it/he will tell you how the fielding position ‘slip’ was named after our very own Bally, because whenever the ball would fly off the edge it would either ‘slip’ out of his hands, or he would slip over in the process trying to snatch a belter of a catch. But when he does take a screamer, my god. It’s like watching a Gazelle. A Gazelle that’s been shot a couple of times and half-eaten by a lion mind you, but a catch is a catch. Now in the winter of his cricket years Bally has taken up the role of the old wolf. The calm head of the 1’s. The satirical comment waiting behind the bat. The salt of the earth kind of guy, ready and waiting to supply sweets to the team like a dirty old man at a playground. Mind you, as dirty old men go our Bally ain’t half bad. Heart and teeth of gold. Has offered to give his bat to the British museum after he has hung up his boots. They just don’t make them like this anymore.
Browny once told me that he was the club’s longest serving consecutive member, having started his glistening cricket career with the mighty Woodham Mortimer in the season of 2002, when I was just 8 years old and little Ribu was just a twinkle in Mrs Tripathi’s eye. I’ve never checked whether this fact is true or not, nor care much neither. But through the usual slurred words of Captain Brown I believe he meant to stress this as an achievement of sorts. Ha! 14 years of village cricket and still pony. “Give it up” they say to our Browny. But, with a bar as cheap as ours it’s very hard to cut ties, just like he finds it hard to cut a cricket ball, – so much so that Brown makes a weekly trip all the way down from Clapham just to drink from his favourite watering hole. If that’s not commitment then I don’t know what is. The club motto: ‘a drinking club with a cricket problem’, is the embodiment of Browny. He loves it so much that then he dies he wants to be reincarnated as a widget. Cracking idea that AB.
But this lad isn’t just a drinker. He’s a real sportsman too – someone in peak physical condition. Must be to win the ‘outstanding fielder of the year’ award on three separate occasions. Must be rigged mind you. Unfair to put anyone else at the club up against Browny when it comes to fielding. The maestro is a keen cover fielder, and regularly scares the batsman out of their wickets with those crazy eyes and gigantic belly button that looks as though it could transport you to another dimension. Something out of Stargate Atlantis. It’s so big I’ve seen him catch cricket balls inside it, not to mention those odd occasions when he uses it as a beer holder. But I’m getting off topic. Blooming terrific fielder. And quick too. Must of thought it was last orders or something. Has also been known to hold a bat when he wants too, and must be half decent after scoring over 3500 Woodham runs! I stress the half. But take no notice of my jibs because perhaps our favourite moment of Brown’s career finally came in late 2016, when after years of failing to hit 100 he finally reached his maiden century against Great Baddow. You just couldn’t write this fairy-tale. Long live Captain Brown, the patron saint of drunks and village cricketers.
Don’t let the profile picture fool you. This chap is one of sophistication and charm, sporting his beloved trilby hat that compliments the twinkle in his eyes whenever he turns up for a match. No one is quite sure where our beloved Nick came from, and to this day I don’t believe we have bothered to ask. Rumour had it that he was caught sleeping in the containers one night by Nathan. Other rumours suggest that Nick is one of those forest people and after watching us through the trees for a few years he crept up to the clubhouse, stole some whites and made out to be a cricketer interested in joining. Wherever you have come from mi’lad, we are glad you have!
An ever faithful member of the club Nick is the mastermind behind the 400 new tea and coffee mugs we have stored up in various locations around the clubhouse. But that’s not the only contribution Mr Goode has made over the years. In a match against Leighton Orient in 2016 Nick hit his high score of 69* (ONE SHORT of a 70) – the cheeky chappy – Connor Hayman’s favourite number. After hitting the half-century, he retired to give the other players a game, blooming nice guy our Nick. But it’s a good job that Nick left his pads on because in the last over of the game, needing 6 runs to win, Nick found himself chucked back into the fight like one of his handbag throws. A deathly silence followed. Skipper Jeeves couldn’t look. Camera phones at the ready. Could he do it? Could he write himself into Woodham Mortimer folklore and hit a six of the last ball. It’s a good job the bowler gave him a half tracker because our dear Nick did just that, smacking the chap back past his head for maximum.
We haven’t seen our Nick hit runs much since – ever prone to the injury, like the cut finger, or bumped knee he decides to use when stopping the ball – and the unfortunate case of shock he suffered upon hitting that same very six. We wish you a speedy return to Goode Nick.
Ah, Cameron. Where to start with this chap. The Sunday VC and 2nd XI batsman is very Kevin & Perry-ish, constantly moody and answering questions in short grunts. But despite this aggressive persona Cameron is quite the comical rascal who likes nothing better than extracting the urine out of anyone within earshot. Just don’t get too close to this youngster’s spraying speech – similar to his erratic bowling. They don’t call him ‘monsoon’ for nothing. This youngster is an avid fan of grime (is that a music genre these days?) so much so that you would think our Cameron is from the hood. What is grime anyway? Does the Dengie have a hood? Don’t ask because Cam will tell that man ‘shut up!’, as you look on unsure. On the contrary Cam could not be further from the grime scene, with skin whiter than emulsion.
But Cameron is quite the cricket prodigy. At 16, after a morning of cartoon network and coco pops, he made his way down to Westcliff and hit his debut 50 for the club in poor conditions. It was a very wet day indeed and although the team urged Cameron to close his mouth he couldn’t quite contain his excitement and let out a quick cheer, opening the heavens and soaking everything, before returning to the incredible sulk. Yet Cameron doesn’t just cause headaches through his whimsical banter. He is also a headache for all captains as to where best to field. Where is the least place on the pitch that the ball could go? Often a captain has wondered about the only chap in the club that can manage to do a long barrier going forward instead of sideways. In a game against Benfleet in 2016 our Cameron, after the ball crashed towards him, managed to stop it with his foot – only for it to flick up, smack him on the chevy chase and roll away past him. You wouldn’t think it possible.
But despite his lispy demeanour, constant use of colourful language and questionable choice in trainers this kid is very much one for the future. Past that moody attitude our Cam has a heart of gold – so much so that he has extended an invitation to every member of the club to attend his upcoming birthday in December, where a magician will be presenting balloon animals and servings of Jelly & Ice cream will be provided. His mum has asked however that no sharp objects or stuff that could get stuck in a young child’s throat be sent as presents please. Thank you. &a
Legend has it that there must always be a ginger at Pheasant fortress, and with the chaps saying 'bon voyage' to Beefy Pietersen we said hello to a Mr James "Oh-Your-So-Fine-You're-So-Fine-You-Blow-My-Mind-Hey"-Mickley. Signed in the 2016 transfer window for £37.5m from who knows where, Mickers burst onto the WMCC scene like a Chewbacca straight out of hyperspace, although Chewbacca has less body hair. His outdoor debut saw James smash a classy 59* against against the old adversary, Tillingham CC, as he strolled to the crease, cheeky grin slapped across his mosh, whilst he dispatched former Ginger Con all around the venue, causing the young bowler, quite dismay as a roaring of "who the f*** is Connor Hayman?" filled the ground.
After this snug little performance and a few more on Sundays he earned his first cap in the 1's at Eastwood, where rain unfortunately stopped play lucky for some of Eastwood's bowlers, who had heard of the myth that is Mickley and his slab of wood that love to knock the fluff out of leather.
But our young Jimbo has also show glimmers of other areas of expertise- and to date has the his first of many Woodham wickets as a bowler. No one is quite sure how he managed to burgle this little gem. But it is in the score book and that my friend's is what counts. The future, like this man's smashing head of hair, is certainly bright for both him and the club.