A day many will remember as a day of Wouldve’s, Could’ve’s and Shouldves across England. However at the Dulwich Sports Ground, it was also a day for a group of Ploughmen to comfortably win a game of cricket led by captain courageous Leon Parks against the mighty SW United CC.
Leon won the toss on a beautiful day for cricket, and elected to field on a 35 over a side game to ensure we could all watch the football uninterrupted later in the evening. Opening the bowling was Dan Rumford and David Nielsen Scott. Dan quickly got into a great rhythm and bowled in beautiful areas the entire innings. He was unfortunately wicketless on a day where he could easily have had 3 or more wickets. He barely gave any looseners and bowled 7 on the trot, only giving 15 runs away from his 7 overs. DNS struggled with his line and length unfortunately leading to a relatively brisk start for the opening batsmen who may have gone on to put on a very handy partnership. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for the Plough, Mr Barnacle Food himself orchestrated a lovely runout from mid off.
Simon Crane came onto bowl after DNS was taken out of the attack and quickly struck as their number three sought to put the pressure back on the Plough. DNS took a brilliant high catch in deep mid wicket to dispatch him and very soon, 1 wicket became 2 became 3, as Simon Crane took 3 excellent wickets. The third wicket in particular was very sweet to see, as Simon bowled their number 5 the over beforehand but the wicket was not given.
The square leg umpire was convinced that the ball smacked onto Leon’s keeping pads and rolled back onto the stumps (?) leading to a bit of an outcry on the field between both teams. Lots of theories were put forward as to how the ‘magic’ bails were dislodged in such a fashion, with some theories involving a hidden gunman behind the grassy knoll. However, umpire’s decisions are always to be respected and credit to the Plough for (eventually) respecting it in this instance and letting the cricket do the talking with Simon getting the same batsman LBW a few balls later.
At the halfway point in the innings, we were very pleased with our performance, as they were 5 for a hundred odd and we felt quite comfortable with what we were chasing. However, at this point in the game, we brought our spinners on which changed the tide in their favour as they chanced their arms against Niraj and his friend and new Ploughman Vijesh which resulted a big uptick in the run rate and shifted the momentum in their favour.
However Rahul and Hector, staying true to the team song (“As it seams about, we’ll get you out!”) brought it back by bowling really well towards the end bagging 3 and 2 wickets respectively. This led to the SW United getting all out in the 33rd over, for a competitive total of 182. Special shout out to their number 6 batsman who scored 82 very handy runs. TO put it in perspective, their next top score was 29, so he really pulled his team’s chestnuts out of the fire.
Opening the batting for the Plough was Tom Lockhart and Bharat Ramesh, who by all accounts (especially their own) looked set to make a Plough opening record partnership. Unfortunately Tom got out caught and bowled and Bharat got out shortly after bringing an unfortunately rapid end to this dream.
These wickets brought in Hector at #3 and Leon at #4. Hector has been batting beautifully for a number of weeks now and today was no different. He smoked his first delivery to the covers with a text book cover drive and continued scoring quickly at over a run a ball before he got caught for 30 runs. Leon started off slowly but quickly caught up to Hector scoring rapidly and overtaking him by the time that Hector got out. Leon took particular liking to backward square, playing a number of shots through that region and put the Plough in a very commanding position.
Dave Nielson Scott came in next and came out with guns blazing, to all corners. At this stage, Leon was playing very much an anchor role as DNS was dispatching almost every ball that either dropped short or wide to the boundary. However, DNS played one shot too many and was caught trying to hit the ball again to the boundary.
Dan Rumford came in and quickly trudged back, bringing in Rahul to stay with Leon as they took the game home with two overs to spare. Leon batted superbly throughout the innings, switching between aggressor and anchor with ease and ensured that the Plough marched on to Victory!
After the game, in true Plough spirit, most of the team stuck around for drinks to watch the Euro Cup Final. It was a great sight to see both Plough teams come together and watch such a huge moment in English sporting history together. While THAT result didn’t go the way we wanted, I think it showed the immense power of sport in bringing people together and thats not something I think any of us will forget.