Sundays in south London are known for many things.
Living in England’s capital brings a variety of pleasures and opportunities for everyone to enjoy. Those weekends in the city that fall within the summer months brings time well spent outside with ciders and beers with friends and family. Those who have been living on the correct grape vine understand that summer Sundays are actually best spent standing in a field chasing a red cherry for victory.
Sunday sixth was another Sunday of note for those ‘in the know’.
It started with one skipper relishing the fresh opportunities of wickets and boundaries and finished with another, reflecting on what could have been and the pride that we had definitely earned.
Arriving at the ground was a rather more sophisticated occasion, with Damon Greeney gracing the DSG in his finest suit following his earlier exploits that day. Leading by example was not the phrase of choice for the successive arrivals, who were unable to replicate such a punctual and cosmopolitan manner. Nevertheless, a plough is a plough and with the correct baggie blue, a plough can be devastating.
Following an inspiring team talk lead by club man Si Carson, those ploughmen looked ready to take to the field after being awarded their Ploughmans CC baggie blue and gold.
Paddy and Tom looked geared up and ready as they shouldered arms onto the wicket lit by the spotlight like sunshine peering through the broken clouds.
The Plough start to the batting innings was a confident one with some strong striking over to the outfield, with an attempt to unsettle the opposition opening pair. Balls were flying and bouncing to the boundary, which settled the thoughts of a scribbling scorer attempting to keep up. A ball passing the bat, another keeping low and scepticism and uncertainty started to show.
Lane the first, Paddy the second and that vigorous start started to faulter. Stevens departed and Bharat’s run false started, exposing the indecision that a wicket had triggered.
The day was looking ominous of collapses gone by.
But Ploughmen are made of stronger stuff and Hector is made from that very same cloth. Striding to the crease he looked ready to take his game to a thriving opposition.
His talent shone strong with some shots to long on, but his partners in Ollie’s were unable to prolong. And then a Spencer, returning from his long slumber, fresh legged and keen to make an impact on the scene. He steadied his stance, and at his first glance, struck that cherry from mid air without so much of a snare. SIX! Welcome back Spence!
Hector’s flurry was a captain’s knock, but lasted no longer after a shout of MINE and the inevitable catch of a gentleman at midwicket.
Then entered Greeney to accompany the unyielding Matt Spencer. As was forementioned, Greeney (Damo) started the day looking fresh faced and spectacular and continued in the same blistering fashion. After all, it is the fine and proper way.
The pair were both finding the middle and were chasing parity with red balls finding successive and undisputed runs.
But good things can’t last forever, and dear Spencer was found chasing a straight one that clattered his middle peg. The innings thereafter wilted and waned with less being dropped and more being stopped.
One hundred and fourteen the target, a well grafted effort from a troubled group doing more searching than striking. Something to bowl at.
Spirits were rallied after some positive finishing from a selected few, brought passion and eagerness from the Ploughmans bowlers.
The prospects of Spence and Lonsdale marking their run-ups and stretching their egos a mere 15 minutes before the batters stood at the crease. We’re up for this.
Lonsdale with the cherry, striking fear into the batters belly with a first ball flying past his 4th stump.
Lonsdale with the cherry, bowling a ball that swings very, roars together after the middle was clattered by leather.
Efforts were followed by an elegant Matt Spencer, dancing his way to four overs with just one run off the bat.
One further over from Lonsdale, which commenced the middle overs from Damo and Adeel. Damo with his regular unrelenting line and length (as real gentlemen do), and Adeel bringing spin to the party (and a classy party at that). Both bowling fine and keeping things slight, with one bringing two and a game looking tight. Adeel the standout standard, playing with pace, bounce and spin, finishing with 3 to set us up for the win.
Composure in the skipper’s eyes bringing good decision after good decision kept the team in the game, with some clever field placements and bowling replacements, the Sunday Blue still had some cricket to do.
With 31 overs gone and 87 runs passed by, the back nine looked to be competitive and fine.
One more Lonsdale wicket turned out to be the end of our bowling exploits with two batters at the crease ready to fight to the bitter end.
38 overs passed, with 7 runs to defend – a skipper’s choice is a bowling skip, an unrelenting Hector threw himself the ball.
Another good decision made after 6 deliveries successfully navigated into a wicket keeping Paddy. GAME ON – 7 from 6.
And as it was a day started well in the fine and proper way, should it finish with a name well documented in Ploughmans CC cricketing history.
Spence to pace in to see home a momentous victory.
Nerves jangling and a dot scribbled. 5 more to go with 7 to defend.
A tight run taken and another to follow. 5 from 3.
The field growing in intensity and a batting team hoping for reward after a well-paced innings.
And it was, alas, the latter. Spence was unable to keep the ball from flying away with that victory that everyone batting had hoped for. Suspense lifted but a game really fought for.
A tremendous effort from another group of Ploughmen showing the plough spirit in its finest form.
The loss of the day didn’t keep the spirits away, with the #hotploughsummer shining on and shining strong.
Cheers, Oli x