At last a match only 15 minutes away from home I thought as I drove off to Southall ? in-it! Massive!
My sat nav directed me to the very nice and Olympic legacy funded home of London Tigers where upon I surveyed a very nice pavilion and cricket square and was warmly greeted by team mates and the oppo.
No sooner had we changed and Tom (I?m not angry Lonnen ) was reminding me of his last 5 wicket haul in an innings was against this same team a number of years ago in a low scoring match. I nearly fell asleep! But to my surprise the first conversation I had with a member of the oppo was exactly on the same match! Apparently Tom took the last remaining wickets when the Plough were looking down both barrels.
So to the match ? Tom lost the toss and reminded everyone that he had not had the best of luck tossing his coin throughout his Ploughman?s career! We all comforted him and took to the field to bowl.
We were a man down and the oppo provided a young chap called Sukh who played his heart out for us saving we think about 30 runs with his whole hearted display. He must have come down to the game in the hope that someone couldn?t make it or we were short and he really enjoyed it.
We opened with Nissan who found it a little difficult to direct his ?Michael Holding thunderbolts? but soon found the edge of the opener, the ball took a sharp edge and yours truly; ?Pat the Cat? took one of his best catches in a Ploughman?s shirt! (There have been so many!) Swopping low to his right he stuck out the glove and the ball thudded in. OUT!? Good we all thought and we continued.
Puff opened from the other end and was soon finding a very good line with his deceptive away swing. As usual the batmen played and missed, the run rate was low and we thought we had started well.
First change saw Tom come on and in his first over took a wicket; graciously offering Puff half of it as he knew the batsman had become impatient and frustrated facing him and Tom had benefited as he had looked to brake free, the other reason being that Puff was at the ground first and as he admitted himself it was the first time since joining the club that he had actually been on time!
London Tigers reached a commendable total, please refer to the score card for details. Everyone contributed. Even Durey in the gulley who commentated on full volume.
Durey bowled his allocated overs with guile and accuracy, he really is a talented bowler and we are a better club for him being so dedicated to us. ?Boydy bowled his grenades with great accuracy and has to be commended for developing his style and commitment to the cause! He never gave up and he had his reward by taking a wicket with a lovely catch from ding-dong Julian Bell. (You know he?s Lockhart?s roommate on tour!) Also bowling well was Dave Conway.
Pick of our bowlers in terms of wickets was Tom finishing with 5! How many is that in his Ploughman?s Career?
The close of the Tigers Innings came and we felt comfortable that we could reach their total.
A lovely tea was taken and we were really well looked after by the oppo who went out of their way to make us feel welcome.
Our innings got underway with Paul seeing the ball really well and he confidently went on the attack. He informed me that he hadn?t been out with the club skipper for a few weeks, his bank balance can?t cope with it! But his liver was at last working! And he could focus.
All was going to plan until Paul received a lovely delivery that nipped back off the seam and Paul simply played the wrong line, middle stump removed. Max Whiting played well and is a good bat, but he hit a ball to cover about a foot off the ground and was well caught. 11 for 2 and we realised that not all was going our way. London Tigers bowled well, nothing quick but accurate line and length which was difficult to get away. We lost regular wickets, Nissan is a good bat but he too fell to the catcher at cover and it was left to Tom to try and get us a reasonable, honourable score even though we knew defeat was starring right at us. Sukh our friend from the oppo batted well, using his feet to the spinners and looked really good until a straight delivery was adjudged to be LBW.
Our innings closed on 79 all out, a low total but at least we bettered the total of 74, and the last time Tom had taken 5 wickets; which no doubt he will remember for a long long time.
In summary; we fielded well but our hearts dropped a little bit with the fall of early wickets and we couldn?t get their bowlers away from their nagging accuracy.? A good oppo for a friendly fixture next season.