Sunday?s affair against new opposition Warlingham CC, could easily be described as ?village?, ?amateur? or perhaps even ?very friendly? but to keep it topical I?ll go with a ?Sunday performance? ? straight out of the bottom drawer. There were some notable performances however and a couple of other incidents well worth a mention and, ultimately, it actually turned out to be quite a good, close match-up with both teams doing their level best to win it.
As for those incidents? Well, firstly, if the Colts play on a pitch before us, we must remember to put the boundary ropes back out again. Anyone round these parts long enough to remember Warren Farm?s ?Toy Town? pitches will know exactly what I mean. Same for both sides, of course? Just not very bowler-friendly. As if we don?t have enough on our plates as it is in this game!
We fielded first and kept it reasonably tight for the most part but we definitely helped their cause with some fairly loose bowling and fielding at times and, of course, anything that pierced the infield went for four. Our side was stacked with bowling and Lonnen, Smibert, Carson, Jones, Stephenson, Boyd, Ridgway and Davies all had crack at it. Apparently the oppo thought Nick was our best bowler ? which further aids the belief of this being a very friendly game. I personally thought Harry bowled well, ?UKIP? Stephenson got better the longer his spell went on and Boydy?s grenades kept the batsmen honest.
In summing up our bowling and fielding though, the most brutal appraisal must be saved for that man, Nick Ridgway. What has happened to this man? In days gone by I have witnessed this droid-like being pull off the nigh-on-impossible ? athletic feats normally reserved for the likes of Cirque De Soleil ? diving, wrong-handed catches and more brilliant acts of robotics than I can actually recall. Sadly, though, in his own words, he ?is not 25 anymore?. It?s troubling to see such a once-fine fieldsman degenerate into something akin to a blind paraplegic. A sad fact, perhaps demonstrated best by two moments of utter shittiness from Noodle Pip on Sunday. The first one, could?ve been so good too. Nick, thinking on his feet, anticipating where a ball was to be hit, quickly moved from his spot at first slip to run towards short fine leg, where the batsman had swivelled around to place the ball. Quite staggeringly, having then got into such a fine positon Nick neglected to collect the ball and quickly found himself chasing after the bloody thing, whilst allowing the batsmen the freedom of Dulwich. The less said about the second incident the better (although it was off my bowling, so it will get a mention). So simple was the catch that ?Scooper? Carson was already running in from his fielding position to congratulate me. I even considered not looking at one point, for the thought of having Nick under it filled me with so much confidence. I kind of wished I hadn?t watched now too, as the ball somehow evaded his grasp completely, having been hoiked straight down his throat. Such a terrible sight? A finely-honed cricketer simply gone to pot. I feel for his family.
Anyway? Moving on. They scored 271 off their 40 and Jackie continues to prepare the best teas this side of Peckham. John still doesn?t smile.
Our reply was a strange affair. Frankly, we should?ve chased it down with some ease thanks to the efforts of a few. Sadly, however, we managed to completely balls it up. At this time, it?s only right to mention the two debutantes ? James Spence and Will Smibert. The latter, particularly, showed some real class, missing out on a debut hundred which he actually richly deserved. The bowling wasn?t particularly threatening but you do still need to put it away and he did that with real aplomb ? finishing with 95 ? having bludgeoned, stroked, placed, nudged and whacked just 48 balls for it. In fact, he scored at such a good rate that by the time he was out we needed less than 100 runs off 20 overs! James too, unfurled some beautiful cricket shots at the top of the order before being cruelly denied a longer stay at the crease by some very generous umpiring.? Hopefully we?ll see plenty more of both players as they are very welcome additions to The Plough.
The other innings of note came from Steve Hamer. ?MC? did his utmost to give the oppo his wicket (I think he was dropped 5 times in total) and each time they gave him another chance he punished them, scoring 57 runs, before taking the rubbish fielders out of the equation and allowing his castle to be knocked over by the mildly impressive, Khan.
From there on it was a bit of a sorry procession, with only fleeting blows of resistance here and there. There was one moment in our innings, however, which really stood out. Patrick Gledhill, another fine, fine servant to the cause did something very? err? un-Patrick. In his own inimitable style, Paddy took to the crease and proceeded to blunt and block deliveries in a way only he knows how. Genuinely, I don?t know how he does it. It?s virtually an art form. I tried to offer some advice about moving his feet and trying to establish where and what his scoring shots may be and there was a brief moment, in between overs, as I approached him and was firmly rebuked with, ?I don?t wanna talk!? where I thought I?d done something to upset him or, perhaps, got into his head with my advice and unnerved him. Either way, Patrick was doing something I?d never seen him do before? Something I myself am only too accustomed to? He was ticking. Ticking like a time bomb! Now, Patrick is near-saintly as far as I?m concerned (unless he gets 5 pints of 3B?s in him) and it?s entirely conceivable that the lift home he gave to myself and Harry, whilst also going on a whistle-stop tour of the rest of London to take the Club Captain all the way to his door in St. John?s Wood, was probably his way of apologising. He of all people should know though that redemption doesn?t come that easy though and I just have a sneaky feeling that he may get reminded of this little episode for years to come.
Basically, Patrick was getting very exasperated, convincing himself that his slow batting was detrimental to the cause? Well, Paddy? It was. BUT?. You?ve played for this Club long enough now to know that no-one really gets that bothered by that kind of thing and there was absolutely no need for you to block a delivery from a bowler with the full face of your bat and then, out of nothing more than sheer frustration, swivel and whack the ball to the deep backward square boundary rope! Fielders appealed, some more seriously than others, Umpires Carson and Smibert converged and by the letter of the law should?ve dismissed Paddy for his random act of petulance. Fortunately, good sense was seen, specifically by their Captain who rescinded the appeal (probably because he knew that going at 2 runs every 1,300 balls, Pat was actually doing them a favour).
Thank you, Patrick? You made my day. You showed yourself to be that most fallible of things? A human being. And you know what?s more? A human being who very clearly cares a great deal for this cricket club.
Anyway, after all the excitement of Patrick?s out of body experience it all somewhat fizzled out? I dinked a simple catch back to a bowler. Boydy refused to believe he would be given out LBW, so just stood around for a while as the oppo celebrated his wicket (much to our amusement on the boundary). H played a couple of beautiful shots to give us a glimmer of hope and Carson did the same but the death knell sounded for our innings 15 runs short of our target when Uncle Farage was clean bowled, last man out.
It must be said that Warlingham were a decent bunch of lads and a definite keeper for the 2018 fixture list.
I even got away with minimal ridicule for my new spikes? Which was as nice as it was unexpected.
Roll on next weekend.
p.s. Nick ? I still love you, man.