As I sit here on a cold stormy evening staring out of the window wondering how to do some justice to this responsibility entrusted on me to do a decent job of narrating a very well fought game on Sunday, I suddenly realised how for the past couple of weeks the colour changes, the storm, the weird hue settings of nature is almost so similar to a dark graphic novel or an early Zack Snyder movie.
So just like the spartan soldier Dilios this is my attempt at narrating The Battle of Streatham & Marlborough
11 brave men of the Mighty Ploughmans with their strong fierce leader Leon-idas took the field against the very experienced Streatham & Marlborough. Taught never to retreat, never to surrender and that freezing on a wet windy cricket field in service to The Ploughmans is the greatest honour of our lifetime. Everyone was on time and ready for the game.
The two leaders decided a 40 over game will be played and our skipper won the toss and chose to bowl first. The pitch for the battle was the one closer to the houses fenced alongside DSG with short boundaries on one side. Skipper was clear this is where we hold them and stop them scoring too many runs and this is where we win.
Just as our ferocious opening bowlers Matt Hopper and Damon Greeney had completed their first overs. Zeus stabbed the sky with thunderbolts and hurricane winds, but we kept our Ploughman reserve and carried on. Hopper and Greeny bowled a very tight line giving nothing away and were very ably assisted by the outfield and inner circle fielders. First 10 overs only saw them score 30-odd runs and the slow run rate pressure meant Hopper got a well deserved opening wicket. Greeney was unlucky not to have scalped one for a fantastic spell of seam bowling. Hopper finished his first spell with 2 wickets.
In came the deceptive, street-smart and very effective bowling pair of Justin Cash & Archie Fiddes – where Justin was bamboozling the batsmen with his spinning, skidding deliveries. Archie with his immaculate line & length deliveries served with venomous pace meant the batsmen had no clue what to do. I am pretty sure at one point I heard one of the opposition players say to the new incoming batsman be careful of the ‘Bumrah-esque’ bowler. Archie finished his first spell of 5 overs with 4 maidens and 3 wickets for just 3 runs. Justin finished his spell with a very respectable and well deserved 2 wickets. At this stage they were 90-odd for 7 wickets.
The skipper brought in a couple of new bowlers including yours truly, however unfortunately it wasn’t our day and just like the winds battering the sight screen our bowling was taken apart by a very young adventurous batsman who took good advantage of the short boundaries. We also bowled a lot of extras which didn’t help either. In no time the batting team was now on a very comfortable 150 without losing any wickets.
Leon the leader had enough by this point and brought back his trusted opening bowlers along with Leo Connolly and they responded brilliantly by cleaning up the uncontrollably wagging tail to cut the innings for 168. Greeney got a deserved wicket this time and Leo claimed one too. Archie got another wicket and ended his brilliant day with outstanding figures of 5.3 overs, 4 maidens, 4 wickets and giving just 4 runs!!
With a target of 169. Club Stalwart Steve Britto and the stylish Iskandar Eaton started the innings for the Ploughmans. By late afternoon a thousand more clouds and faster winds bolted out the sun. ‘Then we will fight in the shade’ said one of the Plough and fight we did.
The bowling of S&M was very tight and they strangled our openers who showed great resolve, strength and dominance, choking the initial onslaught by spanking some glorious shots to loose safe deliveries. Just at the end of the first spell Iskandar’s masterful defences were penetrated.
In came the leader, with ice in his veins, to steady the ship at one end and let the glorious sword/bat of Britto do the talking at other end. A dodgy low rising cunning delivery saw Leon’s innings end. Then walked in the most elegant, wristy batsman I have seen in ages. Chris Butlin took on the bowling like he had been on that field for three days. Some of his shots will be etched in my memory for ever. On the other end Britto carried on doing what he does best, batting nonchalantly and getting us closer to the target. However, some really tight bowling meant we were always behind the asking run rate. Gearing up for a nail biting finish the glamorous Yanni (acting Beer Team XI skipper) joined the nervous onlookers at the boundaries and kept fuelling the team with all necessary battle beverages. Looking to up the run-rate, Chris lost his wicket bringing on Leo ‘The Thunder’ Connolly who effortlessly kept hitting the ball to all corners at a stormy strike rate of 147+. However, in the end we fell short by just 2 runs.
It was a gutting result. The Ploughmans showed great spirit and as every after game, a few beverages and stories were shared. One thing was clear from one Ploughman to the other, the word was spread that bold Leon–idas and his 10 men gave everything on testing conditions. They might have lost this battle but the season looks very promising!!
Rahul (I definitely looks like an injured battered Dilios right now)