If match reports are supposed to reflect the sentiment of the match this one would be short, rather painful and leave the audience wanting more. Something along the lines of…
“The Plough went down by 6 wickets as St Luke’s chased down 140 in just 20 overs. Thanks for coming.”
I was tempted to end this report at this brief and painful summary, file it away and never speak of it again. But disastrous days do happen and although it’s rare in recent years that The Plough are so comprehensively beaten, we must regroup, show heart and go again. So (deep breath) here goes…
Let’s start with the toss – a staple for any cricket game which follows a usual chain of events; home skipper flips the coin, oppo skipper calls and the winner chooses whether to bat or bowl. Now there has been some debate on the Podcast as to the best “flipping” technique when it comes to the toss – what height, what arc, what distance? Liam Gray’s effort that afternoon can only be described as more “fluff” than “flip”. The coin sliding off his hand and meekly tumbling to the floor. Liam pounced, covering it in his hand and sheepishly asking the umpire if he “could have another go”. It turns out this was to be one of the finest actions of anyone wearing the blue and gold that day. Liam re-tossed, the coin soaring in a majestic arc before landing the wrong way for the oppo skipper. The toss was won, Ploughmans were batting and the game was on. If you hadn’t guessed things, did not get much better from this point onwards.
Butlin and Suri strode to the middle. Butlin (4) was soon on his way back after fending a sharp rising delivery into the keepers gloves. Suri (5) was not far behind falling to a good catch in the covers. Hamilton and Connolly looked to dig in and rebuild and put on 31 before Connolly (22) gloved behind. Hamilton (17) was soon to follow trapped LBW. Joey Anderson (41) played the standout knock of the innings and looked comfortable as the Plough started to take advantage of some increasingly tired bowling. However he was beginning to run out of partners as Raees (6), Hockings (0) and CRS (1) all came and went. Withers (18) came to the crease with the score on 91 and put on a solid 38 with Anderson helping lift The Plough to what we thought was somewhere near respectability. Sadly once both had fallen the innings was brought to a swift end with Gray (0) the last man out leaving AJ (0*) at the other end. A few starts and a few loose shots but ultimately it was going to be tough to defend on a quick outfield.
A fast start was needed with the ball and Gray and Withers opened up as the cordon and ring brought the noise. Withers struck in his second over trapping the batsman LBW but we struggled to prevent St Luke’s getting off to a flier as they raced to 43 off the first 7 to bring the required runs to under 100. The Plough continued to fight and Withers struck again in the 10th over with a snorter that caught the gloves and looped to a waiting Anderson at gully. Was a second innings fight back on the cards?
To try and quell any Plough optimism the opposition continued to score at a quick rate and although Connolly and AJ toiled they could not provide further breakthrough. Anderson however came to turn his arm over and produced some good turn nicking off their main batsman to the gloves of Hamilton. 120-3 was soon 120-4 as CRS nipped one back through the gate and Hamilton took the bails off with the batsman out of his ground. 20 needed – they still had to get ‘em…
Turns out that sometimes the batsmen just turn around do just that. St Luke’s decided to “get ‘em” and a couple of lusty blows soon saw the away side race up to the Plough score. The Plough were to suffer further ignominy still as the scores were brought level thanks to a low one that scuttled through yours truly and straight into the helmet. Never happened before and sort of summed up the day. A four next ball confirmed the defeat and the Plough were left to lick their wounds and sip their consolation beers.
On to next week – can only go up from here!