The Saturday 1s travelled out to Ottershaw looking to break a 3 game losing streak and get their season back on track. As the imminent London heat wave prepared to flex its muscles it began its warmup in earnest on Saturday as warm temperatures greeted the Plough upon arrival. With the sun beaming directly down, Ottershaw’s field resembled more of a dust bowl than a lush cricketing outfield and boundaries were expected to be aplenty.
Losing the toss and having regard to the conditions, it was unsurprising that Plough were sent out to brave the conditions in the field. One of Ottershaw’s openers didn’t seem too keen to stick around in the sun and began swinging from ball 1. However, the Plough’s stalwart opening duo of M Bolshaw and A Paul have seen this before and were not phased in the slightest even if the odd shot went to the boundary. With impeccable line and length bowling coupled with some nagging swing, both bowlers bowled their nine over allotment straight with Bush taking three wickets and Puff two to leave Ottershaw reeling at one stage at 38 for 5. It could have even been worse for Ottershaw but for a few dropped catches, with one particularly poor dropped skier from the writer.
The 6th wicket partnership for Ottershaw was able to absorb the pressure of the heat and bat time despite good spells of bowling CRS and Grayzer. This kept the Plough out in the heat for longer which was always going to have a knock-on effect as the innings drew on.
Both CRS and Grayzer took wickets and it looked at one stage as if Plough might be able to restrict them to under 100 as Ottershaw were 90 for 8. Ottershaw were able to rally late and were able to scrape through to 121 after some late innings hitting before Leo Canelo Connelly took the final wicket with only his fourth ball (contrary to what it says in the scorebook). Overall, it was a good fielding effort and we went into halftime thinking it was a very realistic chase particularly given the depth of our batting which saw newly crowned Centurion Bush batting at 9.
Unfortunately, Ottershaw’s opening bowler was up for the challenge and he dismissed both our opening batsmen (including the writer on the first ball of the innings) in the first over to swinging and cutting deliveries accompanied with raucous send-offs.
Suri and Leo Canelo then took up the mantle. In what I can only describe as an unusual chase, it felt as if the game comprised of only boundaries, near misses or wickets as our 3 (Suri), 4 (Canelo) and 5 (Gumpert) all batted with strike rates over 125.
Suri hammered 3 fours and a 6 before attempting another and losing his stumps to their fiery quick. Canelo looked like a world beater until he chipped one to mid-off. His 28 runs comprised of boundaries only.
Gumpert (28) looked untroubled until he chopped one on, on one that kept low. Hockings looked solid until he launched an off drive which looked for all money to be four runs over the captain’s head until he stuck out a hand, parried it in the air for him to take an easy rebound.
The lower order did their best to edge closer to the total, but Ottershaw sensing victory brought on their strike bowler and he was able to deliver for them taking a key wicket late. It was unlucky because the Plough always looked and felt like they were going to be able to get home with a win – until we didn’t.
Mid-season slumps happen and the 1s should not be deterred. The talent is there and big scores for the Plough batsmen are not far away. On another day, our batsmen who got runs today get some luck which has deserted them of late. For example, Ottershaw drop Hockings instead of taking that worldie, Canelo smokes that chip for four and Gumpert chops for 4 more instead of onto his stumps. It then becomes a different narrative all together.
A win is just round the corner and there is plenty to play for in the back end of the season. Finally, big thanks to those who came down throughout the afternoon to support (Fred, Rich and Coxy (apologies if I left anyone else out who did)).