It’s always a daunting moment being asked to do a match report; you feel you want to capture the essence of the game as much as possible, etc., etc. But then, when you cast your mind back to the two previous match reports and the quality of literal skill, you feel like you’ve been given an impossible task.
I mean last weeks’ efforts weren’t just gems, they were legendary. One was (literally) poetry in motion (Bob Keogh is an exceptionally talented individual) and one was exemplary in its use of bold formatting. But what was amazing was a quick realisation that the bold-formatted effort was a second account and was effectively a replacement for a first-effort poem as well! Matt Spencer (who is also a talented individual – well, in some ways) should really have gone with his instinct and submitted his first effort. And finally, to top the weekend off, there was a third, still-to-be-published, masterpiece by Niraj.
Hmm, yeah, thanks Duray for your nomination! It’s certainly going to be a challenge to follow that. It was a good job that I got some pointers from Mr Spencer himself:
- Make it funny
- Make it witty
- Comment on tea quality
- Work at recreating the atmosphere of the game such that read the reader feels like they were there experiencing it for themselves….
I will do my best at achieving 1 of the above in recounting the day for you all. Here goes.
We won the toss and Duray opted to field to make a statement. Little did we know Duray?s ‘statement’ ended up being a proper statement: that he was 104kg, 4kg of which was his appendage. Thanks for that, Duray.
Recovering from the above, the two Matt’s were asked to open; Matt Bolshaw (MB) down the hill and Matt Spencer (MS) up the hill. Your correspondent was asked to field at mid-off (for both) and one can only assume for ball-shining and bowler pep-talk abilities rather than for genuine fielding prowess (given those skills had long-since evaporated – scholars maintain they were last seen in 2010).
MB began proceedings on the beautifully-looking wicket and immediately found line and length. How does he do it?? I was later informed that it’s because Mid-Off was extremely good at relaxing the bowler and showing a mutual respect and appreciation for the game of cricket. It must be true because the first over brought our first wicket: slightly short of length, cutting away from the right-hander who could only manage to glove it through to star man Kesh behind the stumps. Applause must be given to the batsman who walked and we were on our way.
MS’s first over was equally eventful. Mostly because I was shining the ball with increasing acumen (effects of quality shining were detectable after approximately 8 legal deliveries). But seriously Matt found line and length as well, and you could see the batsmen collectively have that realisation moment that the Men of the Plough weren’t here for shits and giggles – we were here to win. And as the day progressed it was beautiful to watch.
While, MB ended up getting a 4-fer, MS’s contribution can’t be underestimated as he, along with MB, constantly tested the batsmen as they came and went. MS also got their star batsman (and many-a-time thorn in the Plough side) out for a golden duck, courtesy of a great diving catch by Ajit ‘I always sleep with by glasses just next to my arse’ Prasad.
AJ’s fielding performance cannot go unmentioned here, as he was inspired. That short-leg catch was a fantastic effort and really lifted the field that was already performing at a high level (even if you exclude my ball-shining). AJ’s quick-thinking also ran out another bat and while MB was desperately appealing for LBW – never mind MB, we still had our man and no doubt that ball will snaffle future batsman as the season rolls on.
MS was replaced by Daniel Thomas – who got the ball on the spot from the off and bowled with quick aggression. Some inspired fielding changes also gave DT some deserved reward after some batsmen shots had managed to use the extra pace and find the boundary.
But the last word was down to AJ who was brought on to bowl spin. Regretfully for the recount, the last word wasn’t to be success for AJ as the last bat had to retire hurt after top-edging a ball on to his nose. An unfortunate way to conclude the innings, and we wish their player well in his recovery.
Croydon Lions AO for 67 (67-9 with 1 retired hurt).
I’d say the best bit about tea was how we all read out a favourite moment from the previous week’s Plough newsflow/whatsappgroup/texts/etc whilst eating finely-cut sandwiches, cakes, fruit, and a curry of sorts (which smelt delicious). It was a good tea, and as you can imagine we were all in high spirits given our efforts in the field (I was particularly happy with mine: MB should really give me 2 wickets for my advice and ball-shining)
In response we knocked the total off in quick order thanks to an unbeaten 40-odd from Kesh; an inspired knock at the right time given we’d lost 2 wickets in relatively quick succession. Kesh’s style of hitting silenced the brief screams of excitement from the field and although we lost a third wicket we romped home with plenty in the tank.
A great win. Well done lads.
But that wasn’t the end of the day. Given it was an early finish, we then travelled to DSG for fielding practice in the sunshine. Good day all round.