10 Ploughs arrived at Working and Horsell on Sunday, plus an oddly familiar new fellow that nobody recognised, but who turned out to be what Lewis Wilby’s face looks like when he hasn’t recently thrown himself out of a taxi onto a concrete surface.
Some of the team appeared genuinely traumatised by the experience of seeing Lewis uninjured like this for the first time, but quick thinking Skipper Grant took his first command decision of the day, telling Wilby to put his mask back on until stumps at the earliest. The situation cooled and the Plough batted.
Leon Parks and Will Stevens got us off to a steady start, making 21 and 26 respectively, both looking confident and solid, but unfortunately neither converting their score into something more substantial; Bharat and Grant did a similar job, both playing nice shots and bringing us up to 80-odd for 4 by the time they departed.
All was looking just about ok, if not necessarily rosy, when that peculiar cricketing ritual known as the *Sunday middle-order full ceremonial Harakiri* left us stranded at 103 for 9, after the next 5 batters had fallen on their sharpened swords without troubling the scorers too much by way of pencil lead.
Dan Rumford and Damon Greeney salvaged pride by getting their heads down at the end, and we reached 127 when our innings was brought to a close in the 38th over, with Dan on 15 not out.
(Perhaps we were jinxed? Earlier on, I’d proudly told the other batters waiting to go in that I’d be playing responsibly that day, since no lesser personage than The Earl himself had telegraphed to inform me of my selection to his Fantasy XI. But when it turned out that more or less everybody else had received the same memo, pride became regret. Used. A pawn in his wicked game.)
Having said that, I wonder if Grayser text-flirted Wilby? Let’s hope so, because if he isn’t in your fantasy squad, then you’re probably not going to win. Opening the bowling after the turnaround, he tied their right-handers up in knots by moving the ball away, and then tied the lefty up with unplayable inswing, taking out all of their first 3 bats.
Rumford plugged away at the other end, terrifying batters and slip cordon alike, who never quite knew when the next ball was going to pop. No reward for him, but keep at it Dan, plenty of wickets to come.
Rahul and Damon both bowled with really excellent economy (3.3 and 1 respectively), each picking up a wicket, and Niraj made life awkward for the batters on occasion, and would have been in the book too had a couple of stumpings not gone begging, for which my *ahem* apologies.
So, over the course of the afternoon one or two missed chances of the catching and stumping variety turned out to be expensive, and it might have been a real thriller had they been taken. But there was no lack of effort in the field, lots of noise and support for the bowlers, and everybody worked hard.
Honourable mention to Ollie, who made Point his own spot for the afternoon, and let nothing past. However, with such a low total to defend, everything was going to have to go our way for us to pull off the win, and Woking got there 6 wickets down in the 27th.
Still, an enjoyable day, played in a good spirit by both teams. Grant was his usual model of efficiency, getting us all there on time, and keeping things ticking along cheerfully in the field; our able, friendly and enthusiastic new recruits confirmed once again why this is such a nice club to be part of; Lewis looks a lot better and The Earl is still a massive tart.
Onwards and upwards.
Sir Thomas Lockhart
Editor’s note: The Skipper has made me aware that our author neglected to tell of the moment he was caught behind, off the back of the bat via the pad, and then casually asked “does that really count”?