Waking up on Saturday morning to beautiful blue skies, it was hard to believe the forecast of the rain to come. For the most part, the men of the Plough arrived remarkably on time, eager to avenge an earlier loss to Croydon where we all felt the game could (and should) have been won. By game time, the skies had darkened and inevitable rain arrived but the drizzle was light enough to make a start. Duray promptly won the toss and elected to bowl, looking to take advantage of the Surrey League rain rules that so clearly favour the team batting second. We hoped to roll them cheaply and then smash a few to get the win before the weather really set in.
A little more than 10 overs in and everything was going to plan. Perennial bowling trophy favourite Matt Bolshaw bowled beautifully and picked up three wickets in his spell. He really deserved a few more, with several very catchable chances being grassed. From the other end, special guest Dan Meek from Bath CC showed us how much we?ve been missing some genuine pace this season. Despite talking himself down on the way to game ? ?I don?t even bowl in the threes at Bath!? ? he was rapid and caused plenty of problems for the batsmen. Dan picked up two poles and suddenly Croydon were 61-5.
Over the next 10 overs we thought we were into the tail but some controversial umpiring decisions somewhat halted our momentum. Dan had their number five caught behind first ball but he wasn?t given (he went on to top score), followed shortly by a run out that the square leg umpire declined. Thinking of what could have been, we lost our way a little and couldn?t keep the pressure on at both ends. The steadily increasing rain didn?t help matters, with several bowlers finding it difficult to grip the ball.
Puff Paul, in his first game for a long time, bowled exceptionally well and had their number seven tied up in knots but the oppo accelerated from the other end. Lilford, Duray and Bala had some good moments but generally bowled too many loose balls. The run rate increased and the partnership built to 100 until Ash finally got his man to make it 156-6.
Another wicket followed quickly to Bala but this would prove to be our last breakthrough for the innings. Croydon put the foot down for the last 10 overs and motored to 254-7 off 40, not helped at all by our enormous extras count (47 wides ? come on lads, we?re better than that!) At this stage the rain was falling heavily and we called an early tea. By captains? agreement, Croydon finished their innings and we prepared to go into bat once the weather eased off.
Tea has been solid at DSG this year but I feel they stepped it up a little this weekend. The range of cakes has been steadily increasing, culminating in the arrival on Saturday of superb chocolate eclairs and lemon meringue tart. Only minor deductions for being too keen to clean up, with at least one Plough missing out on half his dessert when he looked away for a moment and his plate disappeared. 7.5 out of 10 overall.
With only a small amount of time lost, the weather improved enough for us to get back on the field. Despite the late batting rush from Croydon, we?d calculated that we only needed 130 off 20 overs to make a game of it and sneak the win. That famous Italian opening partnership of Barrazio and Tisato was sent out and we set about aggressive stroke making from ball one.
After a recent lull in form, Barras began to find the middle again, hitting some crisp boundaries on his way to 17. I hit a few myself (luckily dropped three times!) and we rapidly moved towards 50 off the first five overs. Unfortunately Adam got an off-cutter through the gate and was bowled, bringing new lad Meek to the crease.
Given his talent with the ball we were keen to see his batting skills, and he certainly didn?t disappoint. After casually dispatching his first ball to the rope through backward point, he asked me in an almost-disappointed fashion ?is the other bowler any better than this bloke?? Several more boundaries followed and we raced to 89-2 off 11 before Dan was out LBW.
At this stage we were well ahead of the required run rate and just hoping we could last 20 overs to make a result possible. As Britto and I pushed the score to 103 off 14, the rain really picked up and unfortunately John asked us to leave the field for the sake of the pitch. ?We initially agreed with the oppo to wait a while for the rain to ease but they clearly weren?t keen given their position in the match. After a short break and watching the other two matches be called off, Croydon forced our hand by simply packing up and starting to walk to the car park. Regrettably we agreed to call it a day and made our way to the bar.
Despite the lack of a result and the frustration of the weather, there were plenty of positives to come out of Saturday?s performance. Bolshaw was the pick of the bowlers with 3-30 and both Dan and Ash deserved more than their 2-41 and 1-40 respectively. It was particularly pleasing to have Puff back in the side after a long layoff, and he was delivering his usual precise and niggling outswing remarkably like he?d never left. After a few early dropped catches, we picked up our fielding and finished strongly on that front. We really just need to work on achieving consistency throughout whole bowling lineup (and in particular reduce the wide count) to make ourselves a fearsome outfit on the field. Like it has been all year, our batting was strong again and we just didn?t have enough time in the middle to get the result.
Well played all and fingers crossed for better weather next week!