On a very hot summer’s day in June, the Plough arrived at the beautiful Banstead CC pitch. First look at the flat and true deck, we knew the winning captain had to bat first. Plough Skipper won the Toss and quickly elected to bat first. Given that there was a small ‘Will it come home’ this year start to a not so famous football series called Euro Vison or European cup or Euros VS a not test playing country Croatia had definitely little to no bearing. I was told later on England did win that game.
Now back to the real sport and sportsmen. Our openers Steve Britto & Jo Hockings opened the innings and right from the word go made it very clear to the oppo that they are in no mood to leave the pitch anytime soon. They both made a very quick 87 for the first wicket with Jo scoring a swashbuckling half century. In came the inform batsman of the year Max Gumpert and the balls kept disappearing to all parts of the ground. Taking us to a quick fire 130. Couple of quick wickets after that however, skipper Leon steadied the innings and in walked Hot-shot Hector and on a sunny day with no clouds in sight it started raining sixes and fours in Banstead. They both steered us to a very good and par score of 217 with some last over contributions from ever waiting and ready to go and bat Matt Spencer and Leo Connolly.
With a target of 218 the batting for Banstead started steady but no easy runs were given on the day with Matt Bolshaw and Leo Connolly keeping it very tight, both were unlucky in that spell not to get any wickets as a few edges went to no man’s land and some leaves from the batsmen just about touched the stumps. The first change bowlers Simon Crane and Rahul Nair did a decent job however the breakthrough was given by none another than Hot-Shot Hector who took a brilliant catch to get rid of one of the opening batsman. Special mention to Matt Spencer who, making a comeback after along injury break, bowled a tidy spell even when the incoming bastman was looking to up the run rate. Matt Bolshaw and Leo Connolly on their return spells made things harder and grabbed a few well-deserved wickets. Leo particularly bolwed a fiery spell to send shivers down the batsmen facing him. Bolshaw just showed what an experienced bowler obsessed with line and length can do and Banstead CC were always chasing a Run rate of over 10 per over. In the end a very well fought 16 run victory was sealed.
This was one of the best victories I have been part of in a long time on a cricket field. The entire team was fired up and on it all throughout the game and fielding with all their heart. Supporting the bowlers and inspiring each other to fight till the end and keep control over the game at no point did the opposition feel comfortable in that run chase and it was their home ground where The ‘Dirty Old’ Plough had come, saw and very easily conquered.