The stage was set, all be it a cold, wet and windy stage, for Ploughmen Blue to take on the Twickenham CC at Twickenham. With temperatures struggling into double digits, and Matt Spencer making his debut captaincy performance, The Plough were happy enough to lose the toss and remain generously layered in the newly constructed pavilion as Twickenham chose to bowl.
Britto and Baz got things off to a solid and measured start as the bowling proved tight and consistent on a pitch that provided a true enough bounce to ensure once you were in, the runs would flow. In both openers got, and flow the runs did, putting on a first wicket partnership of 76 before Britto lost his off stump in the last over before drinks for a fighting 32.
Baz continued where he left off after the break, joining forces with Rich and Suri (24), upping the scoring rate against pace and spin alike, before falling short of his ground chasing a second run. An exceptional 81 left the Plough in a strong position at 3 wickets down, but a quick flurry of wickets saw the game open up as Twickenham enforced a strong fightback through an exceptional performance in the field. With overs running out, Tisato and Spencer had a swing to push the score towards 200, finishing the 40 overs with a competitive 9/181.
The sun decided to shine as The Ploughmen took the field and opened the bowling with the fiery pace of James Tisato and Matt Spencer. Keeping things tight, the batsmen struggled to get away, with the majority of runs in the first four overs coming from loose ones down the leg side. As the batsmen seemingly started to settle, so too the rhythm of Tis, getting one on the money, at the feet, and the bails flew for the first wicket. But it was Nige the destroyer that blew the game wide open, taking 2 in 2 balls, dismissing the set batsmen, and not even giving their number 4 a chance!
The game was for the taking and evenly poised at 3-65, but a 5th wicket stand of 100 saw Twickenham take control. Moral was dropping as were the catches, before the captain brought himself on the get the job done. A slashing blow outside the off stump saw the ball fly sharply to point, taken, OUT! and Spencer had his first wicket as captain to dismiss the number 5 for a well made 45. Surely the job was done? 4-165, 17 runs to win, 5 wickets in hand.
Spencer boldly brought the leg spin out from behind the stumps, and 3 wickets fell in an over, followed by another in the next. Twickenham losing 5-7 in 4 overs and the games was theirs to lose. Though chances continued to hit the turf, which allowed the game to slip away again, and the batting team got home by 2 wickets with 8-182.
An inspired comeback by The Plough saw an outstanding game of cricket, streamed live to all corners of the world as millions tuned in to back the death bowling, but the damage was done in the middle overs and Twickenham claimed the win.
Fighting spirit and inspired leadership brought together a team that wouldn’t give in until the very end.
We Plough on with our heads held high, pondering on what could have been.