Having started to find some form in the league, Saturday was a key game for the Plough taking on Spencer who at the time were bottom of the league. With the Plough only two places above it was important to get a good win and start to pull ourselves back towards the top half of the table.
After yet again more availability issues we pulled together an 11 featuring 3 debutants, several players in their first season for the club, a returning ex-captain and a previously retired Chairman. A Frisbee warm up was mentioned but the Frisbee didn?t turn up until 12:50 because of a puncture so that made things difficult.
Anyway, Duray won the toss and much to the Chairman?s dismay we were batting. After some introductions and who?s whos to get to know our new ploughmen, Ovens and Britto set about providing a platform whilst the rest of us sat in the sun. On a bizarrely spongy artificial pitch the boys started well but Ovens unfortunately fell for 5 caught by a rather large Irish gentleman at first slip (more on him later). Dave Risley then fell in the same over to a ball that I can?t really remember what it did, but he got bowled. Dave seems a very nice bloke though and an excellent addition to the Plough, so we will forgive his duck (more of this appreciation of new people to also come later). This brought Nick Dowell to the crease, fresh from Fridays flight from Australia. He and Britto then set about what can best be described as dismantling the young attack on display. Britto eventually fell for a well sculpted 38 and Duray after him for an entertaining 27. Whilst this was happening Nick was ticking off landmark after landmark and reached his 150 in the 35th over. Wickets then started to fall more regularly, luckily this was me and debutant Ranny and not Nicko, so runs continued to pile on at the same time. 2nd debutant Nick Risley chipped in at the end with a very stylish 20 not out alongside 3rd debutant Pete/Keith Garlando who managed to bat out a wicket maiden in the last over of the game. Good job mind as Coxy was refusing to bat!
You may have noticed I have missed a wicket here, that?s because it was a wicket that required a bit more attention than the rest. We finished on 338 ? 9 and Nick Dowell scored 213 of them, before being caught at point with a couple of overs to go. Nick batted for pretty much the entirety of our innings on a scorcher of a day (granted he is probably more used to heat than the rest of us being Australian, but still it was hot) and although the scorebook is pretty hard to decipher as there are literally so many runs in it, I made it 37 4?s and 6 6?s which is an incredible effort and according to Lonnen a Ploughman?s first 150 let alone a double hundred and easily a high score that will last for a very long time.? I could go into each and every one of Nick?s 37 4?s and 6 6?s but one there were so many I can?t remember and no one has the time to read about that many boundaries, a truly ridiculous knock that was a pleasure to watch. Well Batted Nick Dowell!
After watching that batting display, tea was pretty mediocre, ham and cheese sandwiches and a chocolate tray bake cake. Definitely seen better, a harsh 3/10 from me.
Bowling wise thanks to our large total, we were always confident of keeping them well below our score.? Me and Coxy opened up and Coxy immediately had them reeling with his opening spell of 8 overs 3-21, bowling an excellent tight line up the hill. Other than the 3 wickets the highlight of our opening spell together was the 23 dot balls in a row we managed to bowl, with Britto gleefully managing to count all the way through and remind the batsmen of their slow progress on a ball by ball basis. The rest of the bowling was shared round with Duray and Matt ?Indiana? Jones continuing the tight lines bowled by the Chairman in particular.? The new boys then got themselves a go with Nick Risley showing promise, despite some obvious rustiness! Ranny also gave a very strong account of himself with the ball returning 8 overs 2 ? 24. Pete/Keith Garlando then ripped a few leggies after profusely denying he was a kiwi and took two debut wickets.
Throughout this period Spencer provided some resistance with the large Irishman (who insisted on commentating the whole game with very obvious statements whether he was fielding, umpiring or batting) and an actually very good 15 year old, who will not be playing for Spencers 5th team for very long, putting on a 100 run partnership. They managed to look in some sort of control for a small period of the game until the tight lines and scoreboard pressure finally got too much. Once these two were out and Ranny in particular was turning the screw with his tight lines, the game looked very much beyond Spencer. So much so that having been warming up since March, Chris Ovens was finally given the nod for the last few overs. Despite a couple of beamers Ovens actually finished with 2 overs 0-8, certainly not a poor result going at 4 an over in the last few overs of a game!
Special mention must go to the new boys who all put in an excellent shift and all brought something to the team, whether that be a top fielding performance from Nick Risley or top chat from Ranny and Keith. Overall we had far too many runs on the board for what was a young Spencer side, thanks to one of the best knocks I?ve ever seen in club cricket.
Nick Dowell, take a bow son.