Tom Lonnen glanced at the clock in his saloon – 1257. His gaze transferred to the thermometer on the dashboard – 34 degrees. A solid red line on the GPS caught his eye – gridlock on Park Lane. In the back seat child number one wiped the sweat from his brow on child number two. In the boot, dog started barking at a squirrel in Hyde Park.
?Happy father?s day?, he thought.
Sunday saw the inaugural meeting of Ploughmen and Eastside CC. On the hottest day of the year the oppo were in no hurry to get to Dulwich and at 1345 we got a 35 over-a-side match underway.
Harry Davies, fresh from his lager filled adventure the previous evening, opened the bowling with Noodle. From very early on it became apparent this would be a real test for Plough as Eastside looked much better at batting than timekeeping.
Nick bowled a very tidy opening spell and deservedly picked up two wickets, including the dangerous looking opener caught and bowled. Lonnen, aka Dad of the Year, (who had arrived in time for the start, looking relieved to be out of the car and with two children and dog in tow) replaced Harry and was soon into his stride, beating the bat multiple times for no reward.
Eastside were quick to punish any bad bowling and the Plough were further afflicted as dad of the year left the field to attend to his offspring. While he was away the Eastside number five took a liking to Boydy and Uncle?s off spin and led the charge.
Captain Britto turned to Pip for a much needed breakthrough and he duly delivered, Lonnen returning to the field just in time to take a steepling catch.
That wicket proved a turning point as Eastside suffered a mini-collapse from around 170-4 to 206 all out. The catching was a particular highlight, with Leon, Lonnen (x2), Nick, Boydy, Kevin and Harry all taking their chances and James completing a run out.
Nick was the pick of the bowlers, picking up four wickets, well backed up by Lonnen who will bowl much worse and get more reward, and Matt Rees who kept an end tied down at the death. The spin trio of Davies, Stephenson and Boyd all fell foul of the short boundary at various points, all of which meant a target of 207 from 35 overs.
After a hearty tea Britto and Leon emerged to open up.
It was soon obvious that while Eastside?s batting was decent, their bowling was probably stronger, as both opening bowlers adhered to a very tight line and offered no easy scoring chances. Britto was first to depart, nicking to slip, soon followed by James who was caught by an act of fielding described as a minor miracle by all those who witnessed it.
Enter stage left Tom Lockhart who provided the best entertainment of the day with an innings of wonderful shot-making, the highlights of which were a rock-back cut shot and a one-legged pull. He was eventually out for a quick-fire 31, but it was a knock that resurrected victory hopes for the Plough.
At the other end Leon?s resistance was eventually broken for a well-battled 27, which left us needing about 100 off the last 15 with six wickets in hand.
Lonnen and Noodle came together and knocked the ball about without looking troubled to take the score up towards the 150 mark. The quality of Eastside?s bowling was always likely to tell however and when Lonnen was caught in the deep, Nick soon followed in similar circumstances and from then on the odds were stacked in the oppo?s favour.
Chao, Davies and Boyd came and went before Matt Rees followed up his display with the ball with a lovely cameo before the innings was finally ended, Plough ending 30-odd runs short of the target.
All in all an enjoyable day?s cricket played in the right spirit in glorious weather. Certainly no disservice to lose to Eastside, who will be one of the better Sunday outfits we come up against.
Kevin Chao – arrived in jeans and sweating profusely. Claimed he didn?t know how hot it was going to be
Boydy – Fielding at long on — Ball 1 = through legs for 4. Ball 2 = diving stop on the boundary. Ball 3 = Hit straight down his throat and takes a nice catch. Redemption complete.
Stephen Britto – giving a wide and when questioned on it by the oppo replying ?well you should have turned up on time?*
*he says this isn?t what happened, but never let the truth get in the way of a good story
Tom James – calling ?no-ball? as the ball clattered into Nick Ridgway?s stumps
Tom, Tom & Tom – At one point Lockhart, Lonnen and James lined up at keeper, 1st and 2nd slip
Harry Davies – for claiming he drank at least three pints in 90 seconds. Enjoy India Harry?