The sunny weather and hot heat baking down couldn’t crush the sense of excitement buzzing around DSG. Not only was it Plough game day, there were 2 teams out… playing at the same ground! Considering the unstoppable monolithic titan that the Plough has been recently, there were already tongues wagging at the possibility of a double victory beer session at the end. How. Little. We. Knew.
Batting first on a wicket that seemed to offer a decent amount for the bowler, appropriately named for the day “The Heat” Buckley and Fred Gumpert strolled out to bat. Despite some vicious variation of bounce in the wicket it seemed as though nothing could phase these two, pillars of ice cool mentality. Unfortunately, Rich fell for 25 to a good nut that clipped the top of the stumps and the opening stand had to end. As Max joined his brother on the field, I believe the words I said to Ash Paul were “don’t bother padding up we won’t be needed.” For about an hour those words made me look like Nostradamus. The two brothers, forming a stonewall defence, managed to punish any loose balls from the opposition despite some very fast bouncers and horribly skittish pea rollers. The two guided us well over 100 with only one wicket down. Out of nowhere an excellent delivery clipped Max’s off stump and the partnership had to end. This is where things started to go, execrably.
Captain Carson came in just 50 runs shy of the career milestone 1,000. Safe to say it was a good job he came in early as now he only needs 48 more runs to get there. Sandeep Kumar followed in and looked to attack. Unluckily, a couple of gorgeous looking shots failed to fully connect, think Ponting pulls, Cook cover drives and Sachin’s straight drive. However, the one that got him was more like WG Grace after one too many lunchtime whiskies as he missed a slow straight one that thudded him on the pads.
To compound the issue Fred finally fell for a fluid 48 to one of the best throws I have witnessed at Sunday level for a long time, with a laser throw from close to the boundary; a direct hit. This meant Oli Lonsdale and Yanni Baveas were in aiming to stabilise the ship. It wasn’t considered, however, that Yanni had accidentally pointed the cannon backwards and blew a hole in the hull as he ran out Oli.
El Capitano strode out though with his typical swagger ready to, as well as show everyone who Walter Big Wang was, end the game right there and then. Clearly having nards that big must’ve made it difficult to rotate on his pull and he also missed a straight one that thudded his pads. However, demoted down the order to fulfil the Flintoff role, Trent strode out looking unphased by the crucible he was walking into. The opposition were fired up by this point and looking for blood that he wasn’t willing to give them. Yanni didn’t mind though as he holed out.
Now it fell on myself to come out and make the 8th wicket stand, like Broad and Trott. Unfortunately this would make me Broad and I don’t think I can deal with that level of obsession from Tom Lonnen yet. Thankfully, Trent spared me this as he got a bad break on a very bad ball. In fairness, he did say he needed a drink. He could have gotten himself that drink as the ball was bowled, before striding back to the crease, tapping twice, then dispatching it onto the railway tracks. Instead he played early and the ball going down leg bounced off his thigh and into his off stump.
Nigel came in, joining myself who looked in laser focused mood as I dispatched two balls in my first over for 4. Two factors affect what happened next. Firstly, Nigel had told me earlier he hates batting and doesn’t want to do it, so I don’t want to enforce that. Secondly, I have the attention span of a goldfish and decided to attack a straight ball which I missed and was bowled. Nigel didn’t have to face a ball though, so I guess mission accomplished. We closed on 162 after 33 overs.
The bowling was tough after tea, with Ash Paul and Oli Lonsdale taking the new ball. We knew we needed to restrict the run rate and some serious gas being put down from Oli’s end whilst the captain put it on a penny did so. At first drinks after 12 overs we had them just 1 run ahead of the rate. We just couldn’t get a wicket to fall despite some chances dropping in the only location they wouldn’t be caught.
A mature decision from Ash allowed Max to come on and bowl some really fast balls that pulled the rate down. Not just this, he managed to get a couple of nicks. However, on a day where no one would want to be a keeper, where even the breeze just felt like a hair dryer being blown on you, Yanni put them down. They were tough chances, but we all know how big his hands are and have seen him take those before.
Looking to keep bowlers fresh, Trent came on to provide some relief bowling. He very nearly brought a load of relief as a couple of shots went up as well as a close LBW shout. It was not meant to be his day though as nothing could quite go 100% right. Thus, Nigel came on as wickets started becoming more needed even though the RRR wasn’t going down. He bowled his typical probing line and length, teasing the batsman with the ball. On any other day after this spell we would have the opposition at least 3 down, with balls being skied left right and centre, but nothing would go to hand.
In almost sheer desperation Simon Carson and I were handed the ball. The grizzled lion definitely showed the cub how to do it however, as he worked a lovely line and trapped the batsman in front. Mario couldn’t have been Plummer. Sensing a hint of a comeback we all perked up. This grew a little more as I ripped my first ball past the bat and off stump from leg. The next nearly caught the batsman LBW if not for a lucky inside edge. It was the story of the day, nothing would quite go right. Simon continued toiling away and managed to pick up another wicket as one was skied to me. However, the very next over I squandered it all as the new batsman picked up balls that could be described as ‘decent’ and just leathered them smashing my last over about and pretty much wrapping up the opposition victory.
Despite the loss there were some typical hijinks after the game with a catching tournament. Duray Pretorius after a shocking performance in the other game managed to ‘tie’ with Max Gumpert, not quite rescuing his dignity. Surely an all club rematch is going down soon? Tour?