Club Day 2017, a day where geography was the talking point, with those living North of the River taking on those from the South (with some poetic licence applied in order to balance the teams). Some fighting talk on the WhatsApp group preceded the game, with challenges laid out to any who would accept one and a series of mini battles set to form the early tactics of both captains.
The chairman began proceedings with a ceremonial toss and Carson decided that South were in need of a beer and would therefore bat first. Duray, still not really sure what was going on in the world at this point led us out into the field. The start from the south was electric, Tisato out LBW much to my delight, but in truth robbed by a lack of bounce and unfortunate to go in this way. A huge relief for the South! Hamer then arrived at the crease, first ball 6 and a mental note made not to bowl there again (I then forgot this mental note, see John Ryves and his lusty blows later on in the report). Nigel then caused havoc from the other end, sending Grayzer quacking for a first baller and Hamer departing later in the over to a smart catch by Kev Chau. Two wickets and one run from the over against Uncle and the North reeling at 9-3 off two overs.
From here the North began to rebuild through Britto and Puff, who scored slowly to start with but eventually started to find their way as the south rotated the bowlers to try and find a breakthrough. Britto began to find his range opening his 6 count for the year, hitting back over the bowler?s head twice (Duray, see my mental note about not bowling there) and Ash started to push the ball round nicely, eventually falling to Duray caught at cover by Tom Lockhart for 15. This brought Tom Lonnen to the crease and a very chirpy Harry Davies to the bowler?s end, both looking to satisfy their part of the bet. After an 11 ball over, Harry began to find some rhythm (which you?d expect after bowling that many balls) and Tom Lonnen was in the end unable to dispatch him for 6. Congratulations Harry, you?ve won yourself some free match fees, should you ever play with Tom again this season and well bowled.
Back to the main event though and the South?s bowlers continued to keep the scores down despite Britto?s best efforts to keep it ticking along. Beesley as ever keeping to his tight lines, dismissing Tom with a wonderful send off and Nigel coming back on to dismiss Matt Rees (again with a send off) in what will go down as one of crickets greatest ever battles. Expect to see that one repeated on Sky in the rain breaks for years to come.? Posh Tom and Kev Chau both bowled well for no reward, with Hapgood, Barras and new boy Will also bowling well. Will finishing with 1-13 and the wicket of John Ryves who after some lusty blows had smashed himself to 31 off only 25 balls (again, don?t bowl there). Good cricket from both.
With the tail wrapped up fairly quickly after this, Steve Britto was left stranded on 51 not out, having retired earlier on in the day, a good knock from him that rescued the North from what looked a perilous position early on. The North finishing on 169 all out from 33 overs, with me and Nigel both taking three wickets.
In a sensible turn of events to ensure the second half did go ahead and half the teams didn?t end up staying in the club house conveniently close to the beer, tea was delayed until after the game. Don?t worry, a tea rating will still follow later.
The second half began in earnest for the South, with our wicketkeeper batsmen/bowler Adam Barraclough taking the attack to the north from the off, from the unusual position of number 1 in the batting order.? Tom Lonnen?s first over dispatched for 11, until he had the last laugh with Barras caught off the last ball of the over by Grayzer at Long On. Harry also departed quickly bowled by Chairman Coxy with Nasser Khan following shortly after caught by Britto off Tom Lonnen at gully. A very sharp catch leaving Nasser feeling aggrieved at picking out the wrong fielder.
Super Kev Chau and Tim Hapgood began the rebuilding process and were ticking along nicely, with Kev looking ever so comfortable with Lonnen bowling in the ?Hit Zone?. With the openers off though there was no let off, with Ash and Liam coming into the attack and really showing the North?s depth in the seamer department. ?Chau (6 runs), Hapgood (7 runs) and Medcalf (8 runs) all departed to the change bowlers after some nice shots, but in reality, minimal resistance was offered. AJ in full sunglasses and jumper combo and North?s skipper Si Carson then continued to apply some pressure with AJ dismissing Beesley and Lockhart with only a few boundaries in reply.
Some lower order resistance was desperately needed, in order to get anywhere near the total and with a partnership developing between me and Duray it looked like there was still hope. The only issue is I love to swing across the line and when you do that to bowlers like Liam Gray and Tom Lonnen, they start to make you look silly. An over of not getting anywhere near Grayzer followed by being plum LBW to Lonnen, was not my finest ten minutes with the bat. This did mean the main event from earlier was in to bat though and having dominated with the ball, the stage was set for Nigel to take us home alongside Duray. Unfortunately, Nigel loves a golden duck and one ball later it was all over. South all out for 108. Tom Lonnen the pick of the bowlers with four wickets and with all the other wickets shared around.
Overall a convincing win for the North but a cracking game, played in the right way. Tea was stepped up a notch, chicken wings a personal highlight and with the addition of post-game beers, I?m giving it a solid 8/10. More beers and even rum followed. A belter of a club day if you ask me and bring on the potential for seamers vs spinners next year.