M.Gumpert – 51 runs, 2 wickets for 12 runs off 3 overs inc. 1 caught & bowled
D.Rumford – 29 runs
M.Wildig – 3 wickets for 23 runs off 7 overs inc. career 1st hat trick
It was on a rather overcast Sunday 29th August, the penultimate fixture of the August Bank Holiday weekend, that PCC took to home soil to face new opposition Vishwa CC from Croydon, one of the largest commercial districts in Greater London, with an extensive shopping district and night-time economy.
The home side was headed by dear leader Simon Carson and ably deputized by Max Gumpert who was keen as mustard for a productive day out the morning after a very fleeting Saturday league outing against Ottershaw CC when only 2 bowlers and 2 batsmen featured in our scorebook.
We got off to a great start with Max and Paddy putting on an opening partnership of 52 runs inside 13 overs drawing back vivid memories of the batting exhibition over at Salisbury when the bowlers copped a Sunday roasting of epic proportions. Paddy put on a classical display keeping the good deliveries out and supporting Max very well who went downtown smoking anything too full or too short.
The signs were looking very promising for a 100 run opening stand for the 1st 20 overs especially against a polished VCC opening bowling contingent who were very accurate with their line and length. Unfortunately, the 1st change of bowlers had the ball moving off the pitch with Paddy out lbw on 10 hard earnt runs.
Having come all the way from Oxford for the weekend, Duray came to the middle eager to make up for the TFC outing the day before and looked very good during his initial few deliveries of getting the eye in before looking to go the long handle given his rich vein of form this year with the bat. Unfortunately, Duray holed out to long on and before we knew it, we were 2 wickets down for 53 runs just before the halfway point of the 35 over innings.
Tottenham Tennant strode to the crease and was impressive with leg side hoicks coupled with a solid defence when the ball was pitching on his stumps. This provided us with much needed stability in the middle order as the run rate was starting to drop and tremors were being felt at the boundaryside.
Max passed his 50 much to our relief and we thought he was in with a good chance of going on to make a ton by rewinding the clock back 12 months ago when he hit a hatrick of 100s over that long weekend. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be as Max was dismissed through a slips catch. Having said that, any of the PCC fantasy league captains who had him down as skipper for the weekend would have been rewarded handsomely with dream team points that day inc. the bloke himself who was down as his own triple points captain.
With the next change of bowlers coming through, we collectively thought that the game fortunes would turn in our favour as tends to be the case with Sunday fixtures; advancement of the run rate once the opening pace bowlers have been kept at bay.
The next half a dozen or so overs proved to be anything but, as VCC brought on a leg spin bowler with an unusual bowling action that is described in the WhatsApp group chat as like a ‘frog in a blender’; an unusual jump followed by an unorthodox no-look release of the ball that would have flummoxed the best batsmen going around in the Surrey leagues.
Kennington recruit Raees did a great job negotiating the slow bowling, rotating the strike and dispatching anything loose to the boundary. Credit to him in his first season as he has been working hard in the nets and putting in some good showings in recent weeks. No doubt a big score is coming for him soon and credit to Oli ‘’let it go’’ Lonsdale for creative scouting of stars of tomorrow over in the Borough of Lambeth.
With 6 wickets cleaned up and only 90 runs on the board, it was down to the tail to wag and see us through to a total as close as practicable to 150 runs. Dan Rumford led proceedings (29 runs) with a piece de resistance and was ably supported by Mark Wildig (12 runs) much to the relief of the home camp who were staring down the barrel of being cleaned up for less than 100 runs. Dan has been an excellent addition to the squad and provides badly needed late order hitting when the runs are drying up. There was one hit in particular that sailed over deep backward square leg and nearly landed on the neighbouring ground.
With 144 runs on the board and 10 wickets down, we breathed a collective sigh of relief going into the tea break realizing that the game was still there for the taking and that we needed to bowl well. In fact those who played last year in the match vs Clapham Inn CC would attest to the value of not giving up when the chips are down having collectively successfully defended a similar score after starting off from one of the lowest of low points.
Rumford and Wildig opened the bowling for us and after a few nervous few overs settled down very nicely finding their rhythm, line and length. Wildig, in particular, was very unlucky to have an lbw appeal turned down which would have been overruled no doubt in an ideal world with hawkeye/third umpire facilities available. To his credit, he put in a sterling effort to move the ball left, right, up and down the deck across the allotted 7 overs catching the batsmen on the hop/in no man’s land.
As his 5th over loomed, there was an air of excitement that the game was about to turn with energy levels in the field on a high, Yanni effervescently encouraging the bowlers every step of the way/over by over and a strong set of change of bowlers to come.
With 4.3 overs completed, Wildig produced 3 deliveries akin to ex. Aussie fast bowling great Peter Siddle who rocked England back in November, 2010 at the Gabba in Brisbane.
It was a wonderful moment for all of us to be part of and credit to Mark for his resilience to overcome setbacks as we now warmly welcome him to our hat trick club which has been untouched for circa a decade; in the words of Raees ‘’a great hat trick and the last ball was top of off stump…unbelievable stuff…best moment ever’’.
Carson provided much needed flight and guile during the middle overs as the VCC tall timber were eyeing an early finish inside the last 10 overs. His 2 wickets were well deserved and really helped us to stem the tide as the red cherry was flying to all parts of the park once our opening bowlers had finished their spells.
With the oppo’s no.3 batsman getting set for a big innings, a.k.a. an uber contributor in the field not quite in line with the spirit of the game, it was time to unleash Max – which the skipper had in the back of his mind after the tea break. As he has shown throughout his decorated career with Morden CC, Max is an impact bowler who can turn a game on its head i.e. take wickets at many different stages of an innings whilst drying up the runs faster than the No.3 bus arrival at Brixton tube station.
Initially he set him up with/for an avalanche of short pitched deliveries finally convincing him to wear a helmet before getting one through his gates which was met with delight by everyone in the ring who were happy to see the back of the overzealous ‘no ball’ chanter from the 1 man ‘brass band’.
Despite valiant efforts of 2-12 off 3 overs Max couldn’t quite get the batsmen either through their gates or into the reinforced slips cordon during the death overs as VCC negotiated their way to 145 runs.
Putting aside the occasional moments throughout the day of argy-bargy particularly with the ‘brass band’, it was competitively fought out with plenty of peaks and troughs for both sides. Particularly with the sun setting on the penultimate month of cricket, it’s reassuring to witness/learn how the Sunday sides nowadays are going from strength to strength with a gradually more even spread of contributors particularly with the bat looking at the list from No.1 to No.11; more narrow losses compared to the earlier years filled with thumpings akin to a free trip to the Sunday roast carvery.
With end of match acknowledgements and scorebook QA concluded, we congregated in/around the DSG clubhouse for liquid convivials including but not limited to mid strength beer, the Puff Paul cocktail recommendation and shots of distilled beverage made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila (cheers skip…they felt like an extra 100 runs on the board).
Shout out also to Tom Lane for rewarding the faithful earlier in the day with his fine fielding over at long on inc. one comfortable catch; No doubt the bed time reading of the pearls of wisdom from a concerned O.Lonsdale many moons ago yielded dividends as the hands were kept off the butter/ghee before walking onto the field; take note Mr I.Eaton!
‘’7fer, 700th and a Hat-trick its been a good bank holiday weekend for the Plough’’.