A relentless procession of bowling quality is exactly what a side chasing runs doesn’t want and it is exactly what Raynes Park got last Saturday. A solid total was posted following a well above par score on a good wicket at Home and scoreboard pressure was left to do the rest.
The toss was won by Freddie and it was a good toss to win. A rather warm day in the sunshine on a batsmen friendly pitch suggested that batting first was the best outcome, and it’s what happened.
The ever reliable Stu Campbell opened up with Britto and they both proceeded to open up the Ploughman account by putting on a very solid 50 partnership which set the tone for our inning. Stu smacked several boundaries and progressed the score before being caught on 36. Enter Tis. He copped a decent first ball; the kind that makes the batsman think he has to play when probably he doesn’t. Not something you want when you’re focussed on getting your eye in. Sadly, gone for no score getting drawn into the shot and edging behind. Enter our intrepid captain, Freddie. The slight panic that we were experiencing a top order collapse soon subsided as Britto and Freddie proceeded to build the backbone of the innings at a brisk pace and compile more than a hundred runs together at good pace. Freddie smacked the ball around playing the aggressive, positive cricket that his frame permits. Out for 48 off 43, c&b. Pauly came in and failed, chipping a piece of his bat off in the process. Spencer kindly lent his bat to Pauly for the remainder of his inning which was lucky for Paul’s bat since it would have been launched into the Hollies on his walk back to the pavillion if it was in his hands. A few choice words were expressed by Pauly on the boundary before he simmered down and was not heard from again until later in the game. Tsonas came in and goodness me can he hit the ball. There was a six that cleared well into the tall trees to the south of the fields. The oppo didn’t bother trying to fetch that one. 35 off 21 by him. The rest of the order came in but didn’t need to contribute much since the day very much belonged to STEVE BRITTO who knocked up the club’s first ton for the year with a classy 117 off a mere 118 overs. That’s pretty damn close to a 100 strike rate! Basically chanceless, Britto played a measured but positive innings as he lay the foundations of the inning, serving time through the opening bowlers and multiple changes, adapting his style to suit the conditions and the requirements of the inning. Not one to bother too much about stats, he even selflessly allowed himself to be caught in the dying overs just to make it clear he doesn’t just score tons for the average.
Scoreboard pressure was created. Pressure isn’t a dynamic, temporary thing. It is the constant application of force to a surface area. Great pressure applied over time can cause interstitial changes in the properties of matter. Applied for long enough and at great temperature it can produce rare and valuable minerals. And that’s what our bowlers did on Saturday, they mined for diamonds. Opening the bowling it was Puff and Bolsh. Puff bowled one of the best spells I’ve seen him bowl in a long time. He bowled straight or just outside off, and he beat the batsmen with a variation of pace and movement. Bolsh seamed in form the other end and bowled tight. Scoreboard pressure was created. The batsmen decided it best to wait out the storm and they went into their shells, hoping to see off the openers and get to the soft change bowler underbelly. Well weren’t they in for a surprise. Before he was given a spell, Bolsh succeed in bowling 2 batsmen and getting an edge to Freddie at keeper. Ash bowled out for no wickets but for me he was the pick of the day. The pressure was most certainly not relieved when the change bowlers were brought on; Ross Grunter Lonsdale, Matt Frank Spencer, Stu Technician Campbell, Steve The Sonar Tsonas and James Nissan Tisato all steamed in and pushed down on the throats of Raynes Park. There was no escape. Who could withstand this revolving door of quality pace bowling? The oppo tried to play for no result but they seemed to overlook the only way to win in our comp is to score more runs than the other side. They pointlessly batted out their overs and fell short by 87 runs. Just not good enough; not even close.