The journey was going to be long, for some it was going to be rough, but was it worth it? Yes, by God it was.
On a small little ground, reminiscent of back garden cricket with the local boundary rules, cricket magic was witnessed that day in quite a few ways. Like the elite athletes we are, we carb loaded and took on fluids (ate crisps and tried to shake the hangovers). Batting first we watched Mouse and Logan the Samurai open up, spanking the first over for 14 runs. It looked like we were set for a huge score here, the small boundaries and dry pitch were a match in heaven for the man who’d just scored 160*. Judas.
Motoring along we hit a bump in the 4th over as Logan got run out. This was no issue as we had Iskandar coming in and their third man had no clue what he was in store for. Two beautiful late cuts sent Iskandar rocketing towards 10 before we hit less of a bump and more of ditch. First Fred got a leading edge to the bowler and had to go. In walks Chris, looking placid and not fazed. Dot ball. Then his off stump goes. Enter Hector ‘I have the shittest chat in the club’ Barnicoat-Hood. Then he walks off. Hattrick ball and the Rhino walks out, focused on one thing and one thing only. Getting to 35 so that he secures the batting trophy. The bowler runs in and balls a beauty that strikes Duray on the pads. Luckily, we had the calm head of Anoosha umpiring to remember that it’s his decision that goes.
Having survived the hattrick ball, we were about to show why you have to kill the plough off when you can, as every head you cut off grows another who’ll dispatch you around the park. A very solid 50 run partnership from Issy and Doozer took us to 103 for 4 and in a strong position, until Iskandar smashed it straight to mid-off. A pretty Iskandalous shot after a good start.
Out walks big Cannelly ready to show why holding that catch was a mistake, as he leathered the first ball for four.
Trying to keep the run rate high Doozer holed out to mid-wicket chasing his 50, which due to a scoring error had actually already occurred. His job was done though, he’d burgled the batting trophy and a 50 in the same day!
Suddenly the batting started looking more and more T20 as the strike rate batters who’d been hoping for a good platform got ready, little did we know Bisi was about to play like an innings like Murali vs England at Trent Bridge 2006. The 80 run partnership for the 7thwicket was full of scything shots that regularly sent the fielders into the adjacent field to annoy the sheep and search for the ball.
Just as we looked to be on course for 250 Leo was sledged out by Spence. The shout of ‘speed up’ was followed by a stumping next ball and sent me out to bat. Slicing the first ball short of a fielder and then blocking, I decided to give the fielder another go and gently tapped it into his hands.
Matt Spencer came in with a cheeky cameo featuring 2 huge sixes, ensuring his strike rate stays well above 100. Once Bisi fell to a good nut it was only a matter of time and despite some Boycott like defence from the skipper we were all out for 214.
Perhaps it was the rain that feel during tea, or perhaps it was the fear of such an aggressive opening bowling unit, but their openers did not seem up for the fight.
In the first over Logan first destroyed middle and off, before a couple of balls later taking off stump so perfectly a photo of the wicket could have been put in the national gallery. Tails up we looked to finish this early so we could get our rest in (pints and fast food). Hector bowling homing missiles that would bend either direction seemingly at will forced uncomfortable shots, of which one was snaggled by Spence.
He would have had another if it wasn’t for some poor catching from myself.
Unfortunately, the drop seemed to instil some confidence in the batsman who made a small recovery. Not to worry as the Brett Lee of Ploughmans comes on. Spence looked ready to fire some balls past their nose, and did so.
Feeling the heat like it was a test at the Wacca and not a damp September day in Kent, their batsman was strangled by a bouncer into his ribs, with Fred taking an excellent catch behind the stumps. Spence followed it up on his next over with a beautiful slower ball that got the batsman fishing and an easy take for the walking Gully, Duray. First ball next over and Noosh manages to get an edge again to gully. Duray then decided diving to take the hattrick of catches wasn’t worth it, clearly didn’t want it enough.
However, soon the Leg Spin Twins were on to finish off the tail. Knowing captain Carson needed 3 wickets to reach 150 and that I didn’t have long to try and take a wicket I came up with a cunning plan. Never let the first over finish and you can never be taken off. On the 5thball of the 11 ball over their bat played on.
Then, quite simply, something incredible occurred. My following over, much in the same vein with some wild lines, saw a shot absolutely smashed towards cow corner. On the run Cassin picks it up one handed, unleashes his Low Gun and the ball flying about 2ft off the floor the entire way, pings the top of off stump leaving the batsman about a metre out. While the celebrations began, I was just happy the stump did the stopping off that ball and I didn’t have to risk breaking my fingers for it!
After I was dragged off for bowling dross, Duray and Scooper managed to finish them off with some incredibly tight bowling, with the captain getting an LBW so plumb even after the batsman pirouetted a full 360 you knew he had to go. This didn’t stop him complaining.
Duray ended the game with a solid ball to bowl their number 11. A massive win by 85 runs was well enjoyed, even more so as for most it was the end of another hugely successful season.
An excellent day out with some lovely pints at the end, a brilliant opposition and some unbelievable cricket played.
Who can wait for next year? I know I can’t.