11 men of the Plough travelled down to a blustery Raynes Park High School Playing Fields to face Sutton Challengers CC for what was billed as a 12:30 kickoff, this however was news to the opposition as only 2 of their squad had arrived by 12:45. Captain Gray, forever the diplomat and after much deliberation, decided that enforcing the forfeiture of the toss would not be in the spirit of cricket and fancying his chances as an expert tosser anyway won regardless and elected to bat first, potentially influenced by the request of a member of team who needed a couple hours extra kip but shall remain unnamed.
Opening with the complementary partnership of Matthew Hickson and Steve Britto paid dividends as the pair saw off the menacing openers of Sutton, Britto eventually falling for a hard fought 9 from 42 balls. Logan Cassin and Paul Hynes both got starts but fell cheaply for 20 and 15 respectively whilst Hickson batted on, showing the kind of patience and resolve that many a Plough could do with taking note of. Eventually he fell for a monumental 123 from only 121 balls – over 50% of the Ploughs runs. This saw Max Gumpert who has been fostering an ever growing reputation as the man to close an innings, with his combination of hard running and his penchant for the lusty blows, seeing us to a score of 219 with the help of Adam Barraclough’s equally enthusiastic running between the wickets.
Opening up with himself and Jo Hockings, captain Gray was almost on the money immediately with the batsman preferring to take on Hockings who was struggling not for the first time with his length. After getting off to a flying start Gray was first to strike when Cassin was picked out in the covers for the first wicket. This did not slow down the other Sutton opener as he continued to scythe Hockings off middle stump all around the ground. It wasn’t long however before Gray struck again, the sharp work of Ben Hamilton snaffling an edge for another keeping dismissal. This was pretty much the end of Sutton’s resistance with Hockings picking up a couple of wickets before the ever impressive Gumpert came on to rattle through the middle order ending up with the superb figures of 5-2-10-4. Ronald Anderson making his Saturday debut bowled with menace and was unfortunate not to pick more than 2 wickets with edges flying down to 3rd man seemingly every ball.
The fielding in the covers of Cassin and Barraclough cannot go unmentioned, the standard being so high that at one point a drug test was requested by the opposition umpire.