Bonus game in that we were forced to come back off our surfing holiday early in Cornwall due to the poor weather. Unluckily, the weather followed us across the country from West to East and on the morning of the game and the night before it had rained. By the time we’d got to Holy Cross, the wind had dried it out a little, but it was pretty humid with dark ominous clouds racing across the ground from the estate end.
Dutton had won the toss and opted to field which I was happy with. We were a man down and they had a full team and they looked like a good mix of older blokes and kids, including one bloke (Smith) who I seem to recall was handy with the bat and could win the game on his own. So, if we fielded at least we might see 40 overs of bowling, whereas if we’d loss the toss and were forced to bat on recent form we might all be back home by 3pm! That’s a situation I don’t like what with having paid £15 to play cricket all afternoon,
We had a couple of new blokes Asif and Jaidev who’d played for the 4’s the week before and the rest of the players were usuals. The game got off to a surprisingly good start with Joe bowling from the ‘Graveyard’ end and one of the new blokes ‘Asif’ bowling from the ‘Estate’ end. Asif also plays for Middlesex’s disability team and his disability is in his legs, so before he’d bowled I had no idea what to expect. He stood at his mark with what looked like a 2 or 3 step walk/run-in and the moved through the crease and his bowling action and then brought his arm over at about 300mph! Jesus - he bowled at the same pace as Joe! Man it was fast. Over the next few overs not only did we see that it was fast but, it was also deadly accurate – length and width and the combination of both Joe and Asif, saw the Southend blokes struggling to make runs.
Joe and Asif got wickets early doors...
Joe got Wilson trapped LBW for 2 and Asif bowled Mathew ‘Pinno the Spinno’ Pinnock for 3.
10 overs in and they were on about 1.5 an over. Dutton then brought me on to replace Joe from the Graveyard end. I hadn’t been watching anyone in particular because they were so obviously struggling and didn’t have any shots as such - given the evidence in the first two overs. My first over went okay, but then bowling 1st ball to Dove, I bowled one a tad short and Dove put it over the boundary between covers and mid-off as I recall, in the same over he got one away through square leg for four. He wasn’t playing with any sense of caution and he edged one straight through to G-Man, who was right up to the stumps and it hit the gloves and was out again – unlucky in that instance. I then focused on bowling outside of the off-stump and he hit a couple of balls cleanly, but these were both fielded easily. Soon after continuing with an aggressive approach he mis-hit one straight to Jai at Point – having to move a little to his right to take the loopy mis-hit..
That then brought on Threadgold who batted well, I can’t recall where he scored his fours which is a mistake as I may seem him again in the future, but he batted well, took his time and was obviously quite aggressive with me – scoring a couple of 4’s. Before Dutton replaced me I had another wicket, again the bloke playing with intent (Darby) off a ball pitched on middle that then turned, he stepped back tried to cut it through point and cover, but similarly miss-hit the ball for easy catch in the covers by John Bedford for nought.
Dutton then replaced me with Ryan Davies who got Threadgold eventually. But the bloke I was most interested in was Smith who was not out for 25. Dutton described him as being ‘Boycott-esque’ and I seem to recall playing against him before and his team opting to go for a draw readily, rather than looking to win. Joe remembered him for playing a pretty good late-cut which we saw at least once in this match. But, again because we got off to such a good start and throughout the game most of their batsman looked pretty weak I didn’t really watch and analyse any of them in any depth. With regards Smith though, he’d definitely a decent bat who looks to play cautiously when needed, looking to put away the bad ball. Most of us in this game bowled pretty well with very few wides, I bowled no wides or no-balls for once which is nice and our fielding was pretty good especially given that there was only 10 of us. The fielding and bowling went so well that so few runs were made and it looked as though my initial assessment of another loss soon looked wrong.
During Dutton’s spell there was a unusual event, we have a player (No names pact) who very rarely takes catches. Because of this, one of the other players (Ryan) throws the ball to this bloke all the time when getting the ball back in the field. This seems to have paid off as one of Dutton’s balls was looped up into the air off of a miss-hit. Everyone looked and all thought the same thing… This is going down, there’s no way he’s going to hang on to it. The ball was in the air for some time – nice graceful loop and the bloke didn’t have to move – it was going straight to him and lo and behold he caught it! Dutton could not believe his eyes. Shortly after, a more difficult chance went his way – full stretch was required running diagonally towards the ball, it went in but did the usual thing and bounced out again. Two catches in one game would have been a miracle!
I enjoy fielding and again pulled of a good stop for Dutton during his spell at Mid-off, would have gone for 4, so was appreciated by all the team. Generally, everyone had a really good day in the field, weird how some days the ball goes in the gaps, today we were all in the right places throughout the match.
The game looked in jeopardy as we finished our innings having taken 102 for 9 wickets off of 40 overs going into tea. Whilst we had tea it started to rain – light drizzle. Once tea was finished it was still raining - Dutton said that we wouldn’t start in the rain as the rules are that we bat in the same conditions. We went out – had an over then came back in and then hung around for an hour or so as it continued to rain, sometimes a bit more heavily. In these situation’s I just want to get on with it, I’ve paid to play cricket and a little bit of rain to me seems to be no reason to stop the game. Dutton and the oppo’s captain had points to win for the league, so there was some discussion and weighing up of the situation, I’m guessing some of their players probably felt the same as me – just get on with it. With the internet everyone’s looking at their phones and it was generally accepted that the rain was going to stop and it would get brighter.
Some of the players inspecting the wicket.
Eventually with the strong wind the rain clouds blew away and blue sky was visible with a little weak sunshine, the game was back on.
Neither Joe or I got to bat which was a shame as Joe was gagging to bat after his last innings and he was due to go in at No.8. Tim Brown got us off to a decent start scoring 19 as the opener, hitting 3 consecutive fours off the bowling of Threadgold in one over, Threadgold was not amused. Asif had a productive innings, with his disability he tends to deal in 4’s and 6’s so at to reduce the amount of running he has to do. 6 x 4’s and a handful of singles were score before he was caught off of ‘Pinno the Spinno’s’ wrist-spin. John Bedford and Al McIver saw us easily home with a measured innings by Al, which was good to see as he usually just goes out and swings.
All in all a very enjoyable game, nice to win with only 10 blokes playing.