And so to Kempton they went… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kempton_Park_Racecourse (for those that want a bit of background).
Kempton CC is a lovely ground in Sunbury and our hosts Magdalen CC were a decent bunch. Skipper Grant lost the toss, and we went into the field in search of wickets and dot balls. Lonnen and Wilby started us off. Lewis back off a good few weeks out took a little while to adjust his radar but was back to his nagging best by the end of his spell.
Lonnen did what he has generally been doing for years, bowled good balls and gave away very little to hit. The Magdalen CC left handers started well but didn’t really get away in the first few overs. Lonnen continued to beat the Magdalen openers with decent movement. And then….. it happened…. Tom beat the defence of the opener, wrapped him on the pad and was duly given an LBW. It’s always special when someone breaks a milestone but being there when Tom got to 700 wickets for me was very important. I’m at this club as Tom kindly introduced me, we’ve played a lot of games together and the man’s sheer bloody-mindedness to continue to improve is both astounding and inspiring. 700 wickets at less than 16 a piece is just mind blowing. He’s taken the new ball; he’s bowled third change and the quality is so consistent. Very very….. well done mate.
700 soon became 701 and we had the strong looking Magdalen CC batting order in a bit of a funk. Greeney and Stephenson replaced the openers, and both bowled well without much reward on one of the better batting tracks and fast outfields we have had all year.
At drinks Magdalen were 110 for 3 and 240 and above seemed inevitable, but we continued to do the basics well, bowling dots and fielding well and restricted them to 207. Mo bowled well and continues to improve but special mentions go to Lonnen 4 fer 21, Lewis 2 fer 24 and Rahul 1 fer 12.
Ploughmans support totalled two and Leo’s parents came to watch. The significance of this could explain the finish to the game later.
Britto and Grant opened things up… Grant found his touch immediately playing a couple of glorious off-side shots. The score total at 40 when I swept and failed and allowed a ball going down leg to play pinball with my pads and was bowled. Rohin entered and he and Grant found gaps. Both looked really fluent until said pie chucker got his second wicket as Rohin holed out for a well-made 21. Partnerships are super important in any chase especially when someone like Grant was going so well. Each pair got us about 50 a piece and that gave us a platform.
Leon entered the stage and he and Grant, who at this point had passed 50, batted really well together. At one point we started to look like the rate was getting away from us but Grant got us back on track taking 14 off the over. Leon departed to a one-handed catch at mid- wicket and Leo joined Grant. Grant was batting beautifully, the best I have seen and was getting close to a maiden ton when going for more quick runs but was undone by a delivery. He had batted beautifully and annoyingly fell 7 short of his hundred.
Enter the only man in the 700 club. 56 needed off 9. Tom and Leo just did what should be done, hit gaps, ran hard and put Magdalen under pressure. Some brilliant overs got us needing 12 off 3 and Leo in front of his parents finished it in style smashing 6 over the trees.
Plough Win ….. again. Fittingly Lonnen the man who started it off for us with the ball was there at the end.
Steve BuzzyBear Britto