The long-promised heatwave finally arrived in London in the first weekend of September as eleven Ploughmen travelled west to Putney CC. The suncream was flowing and skipper Grant Wolledge won the toss, and with a healthy batting line up on paper, opted to kick things off with a bat, on what looked a good pitch and various reports of a bat-friendly deck in years gone by.
Fred Gumpert and Grant opened up, the latter hoping to build upon the 93 made last weekend. However, it didn’t go Plough’s way early doors, with Fred getting a duck, and Grant out for 7, leaving Ploughmans 20-2 in the fifth over. This brought Paul Hynes and Will Stevens to the crease, and they began the job of bringing about some recovery to the innings. Their partnership lasted 10 overs and was worth 47, but then Will was bowled by the first change spin bowler, who ended up being the pick of the bowlers.
This sparked a middle-order collapse for the Plough, who slipped from 67-2 to 80-6 within 6 overs, as Paul was caught for 36, Leon Parks was bowled by the spinner who bowled Will and Max Wright chipped one back to him right after knocking him for a 4.
Trent and Niraj brought some calm once again to the innings, putting on 25 together, with Trent anchoring the middle overs nicely by protecting his wicket and Niraj sweeping the spinner for a couple of 4s to take some shine off his figures (3-16 off 8 overs…) before clipping one up in the air and being snaffled.
Greg Willis then strode to the crease, and his first order of business was to run Trent out by calling through to the keeper, and Trent couldn’t make it back to the bowler’s end before he took the bails off after a bit of fumbling, leaving the score at 111-8.
Greg was joined by Archie Fiddes, and the pair of them proceeded to give their own bowling a score to defend in the next innings, by putting an unbroken 61 on for the 9th wicket, with Archie scoring 19*, which is his highest score for the club, and Greg making 36* batting at number 9, leaving Ploughmans with 172 runs to defend, which was at least 50 short on a nice batting wicket.
However, in true Ploughman spirit, everyone was geed up and ready to go out and make a good fist of defending the total, helped by the maverick decision from Grant to open up with Niraj’s off-break bowling to try and bamboozle the openers, and it worked as Niraj bowling the Putney opener for a duck to give some early impetus to the bowling effort. There was a slight hiccup as the number 3 batter came in and whacked his very first ball for 6.
Archie steamed in from the other end, bowling brilliant line and length to only concede 3 runs in his first 3 overs, and the first bowling change of Greg into the attack brought about the demise of the other Putney opener with an LBW that the umpire tried every possible excuse to not give, but eventually the finger went up, and Putney were 32-2.
From then on it was very much not Plough’s day, as the numbers 3 and 4 for Putney proceeded to put on 140 for the 3rdwicket to win the game with 15 overs to spare, and caused Ploughmans fielders to spend considerable amounts of time digging through shrubbery to fetch dispatched balls.
Despite the result, there were some notable contributions from bowlers and fielders that made it into a contest more than Putney would have liked. Damon Greeney came on as Putney’s centurion no.3 was hitting everything that came his way, and Damon slowed him right down, with 3 overs in the middle of his spell only going for 7 runs. There was also some excellent wicket-keeping by Leon, who provided an extra barrier to anything down the leg side, with only 1 bye conceded all day. Niraj followed up his wicket with some dynamic fielding at cover, putting his body on the line for anything on the drive, as well as the lesser-spotted Fred Gumpert bowling spell.
All in all, it was not Plough’s day out there, and Putney were good value for their win. As ever, the game was played in a good spirit, and our hosts distributed some fun post-match awards at the clubhouse afterwards. Fun in the sun had, but not the result we wanted.