Sunday?s weather heralded what should have been a marvellous competitive match ? the sun was out in force with a slight gust of wind. Conditions were perfect to play in.
The guys had billed this as Stump Gate II (evidently, Posh Tom hadn?t gotten the memo because he was still on Bus 37 five minutes to 1, I think, deliberately late) but there was no need for my involvement this time with the stumps. The Plough had the pleasure of Inca cheering them on but little did we know that there wasn?t going to be much to crow about except the early exchanges.
The opening bowlers took a couple of overs to settle down but once settled, delivered an accurate line and made full use of the pitch. As a bowler, today was about bowling slightly shorter than the usual good length to make use of the uneven bounce with regular balls staying low. As a batsman, it was about getting out your front foot early to stave off the dreaded LBW finger. Barraclough looked very comfortable against the opening bowlers swatting a six to cover amid cheers of ?I like the sound of that? while Britto was exemplifying the Ploughman textbook front-foot defence. Out of the blue, Barraclough got out to a delivery which he went after but straight down to the man at mid-on.
Every Ploughman dreads being the guy to give their fellow Ploughman out ? you have to make a split (real-time) decision without the benefit of Snicko/Hawkeye/hindsight/countless video replays. And I know every Ploughman tries their darn? best to think of some reason NOT to give their fellow Ploughman out (was it outside the line? was there a hint of it bat in it? was it bat before pad? did he have his foot sufficiently forward?) Both Leon and Hamer fell to LBW decisions with the ball staying low ? sometimes it?s just one of those days and you have to tip your hat to the bowler for making the best use of the conditions.
Wickets fell regularly (yours truly, guilty of playing the wrong shot even after Britto had told him to ?concentrate? every single ball). Both Gray and M.Spence tried to bring an air of respectability to the innings with Gray particularly, playing some very well-timed majestic lofted straight drives. Memorably, Uncle Ukip managed to stave off the ?Golden Triangle? (aka a hat-trick of golden ducks). Plough, eventually all out for 87.
Given that tea wasn?t ready, we took to the field straight away hoping to make some early breakthroughs. Both Gray and M.Spence bowled well without reward ? as always, the Plough gave their best in the field (two tough chances) but it was always never enough. The opposition reached the target well within their allotted overs.
Chins up everyone and onto the next game!