Sad to report that there is nothing rock and roll to report from y pre-match this week with a quiet night coming up with my next week’s Slimmers World menu as exciting as it got. The only real highlight proving to be a message from Ruggy at around 11am informing that he had gone “old skool” the night before and not to expect too much either in terms of arrival time or performance.
Having lost the toss and been asked to field (would have done this anyway), Ruggy actually arrived a good five minutes before KO. Having looked into the guy’s eyes and fearful that the comedown could kick in at anytime I decided the only way we could get the big man through that tough period (I’ve seen Trainspotting) would be to toss him the ball and partner him with our young lothario Thomas Rogers.
Both openers put in archetypical spells with Tom bowling some beauties in his four overs. However that also included 10 wides before a bad back (wonder what he has been up to) put paid to him bowling any longer. Ruggy was as ever super accurate, very tight and wicketless with his eight overs going for just 22. I don’t like to give too much away re. our stats going into the awards period when they will all be published. However I think it worth raising that, at 2.4 runs an over, Ruggy is our most economical bowler by some way. Equally, it does take him on average 67.5 balls to pick up a wicket…
Following up, we had Jetset and Robocop, with Jetset the pick of the pair. With a spring in the step of a man following his dream he has bowled better and better as they year has gone on picking up plenty of wickets but I would have to say that this is the best I have seen him bowl. Full, straight and with an economy that Ruggy would have been proud of he limited the batsmen’s scoring options, built the pressure and picked up his rewards with a couple of wickets (both openers) to reduce Ash to 96-2 with around an hour remaining.
By this time Dino had entered the fray and he was also exerting an element of control after a shaky couple of overs and he got in on the wickets act picking up two in pretty quick succession to pull Ash up at 119/4 and with around 45 mins on the clock we were hopeful of limiting Ash to around 160-170. The last ten overs or so then got away from us a little, with some misfields, a few dropped catches, some short pitched stuff on leg stump and some tiredness all contributing to Ash pushing on to 191/4 after our allotted 2.5 hours (41 overs). All in all a good effort with lots to be pleased about. Whilst Rich P went for a bit of tap towards the end it is also very clear that with a couple more games under his belt we have another very tidy wicket to wicket (Jetset style) bowler on our hands.
Tea was an enjoyable affair with only a couple of personal downsides for me, one of which is the vice skips failure to secure my second cup of tea and what looked like a scotch egg but was actually something with a cream cheese and chive filling, leaving a rather nasty taste in the mouth.
Our run chase had plenty of ups and downs and more than enough to keep our travelling supporters clubs entertained (no Jez, mind). It started badly with both Stumpy and Walkie Talkie back in the hutch with 4 on the board after a turgid opening five overs. On a slow and low pitch and wily old pro Trev wheeling away from one end, scoring was proving to be tricky, the virtues of bowling full and straight again being advertised.
Dartsy and I set about a bit of a rebuilding job and were going along quite nicely starting to pick us some easy boundaries simply waiting for the bad balls. However when we both fell shortly after pushing the score along to 50, it looked like we would be staring down the barrel. It’s a good job therefore that Free Willy and Robocop are not intimidated easily and first with some watchfulness and then with some lusty blows started to get our chase on track. Having pushed us along to the low 90s we were starting to wonder what another three or four overs from the pair might produce when shortly after drinks Kelv hit the highest shot of the day to hole out to deep mid wicket. Rich then shared a nice little partnership with Glenn and kept the score ticking and with us in the low 100s for 6 and Dino entering the fray, the call was to keep going for it with around 12 overs remaining.
Dino and Glenn kept on top of the run rate between them – 5-6 overs and spirits were lifted again that the unlikely might happen. Hopes however that were soon dashed when both fell in quick succession leaving us 140/8 with seven overs remaining. Glenn falling for a very fine 51 showing again the value of his middle order presence. Play it as you see it was the call at this point and, blinded by love and an ambition only the young have, Tom saw this as a good game to win smashing a big 6 before holing out at long on with five overs left.
So it was left to Ruggy and Jetset to see out the final 30 balls which, in the main, they did without alarm, both men’s defences regularly tested by good straight bowling but more than up to the task. It was all going along quite nicely when with two balls to go Darty, umpiring decided to give a wide (biggest fine of the year for me) and Ruggy decided the run chase was still on (though mathematically impossible at this point. The big swish at the penultimate ball being outdone by attempting to run a completely unnecessary quick 2 off the final ball.
We ended up at 148/9 so a good old fashioned draw and it was with hugs all round we retired to The Hope and Anchor for a good range of beers, stories by the fire and the first time I have seen Prosecco forming part of a Stone CC post match drinks order.