The latter half of July had been badly affected by the weather, with both weekends essentially washed out. This meant that, by the start of August, we were very keen to get back to playing again. A further bonus came when this week’s opponents contacted us in advance to notify us about a post-game (60th) birthday celebration for one of their club members in the form of a barbecue. Once more, we were welcoming a debutant player, Deen (a shortened form of his surname, which we might not be able to pronounce, he suggested), who had spoken to Skip at the Hesketh nets.
Brasted won the toss and put us into bat first, which proved entirely the right thing to do. The Power Two, playing for the first time together in more than a month as openers, lasted only 19 balls – Skip was caught for 2 off two balls, then Vice went at the start of the third over, caught and bowled for 3. Candyman, keen to work on his batting this season, went in at 3 and put on a partnership of 27 with Ryan at 4, but netter found runs easy to come by. The wicket was not doing much but the lack of pace meant that the ball was tricky to put away, even taking their whopping great slope into account. Ryan went for 11 in the eleventh over (not quite a Nelson, but not far away) and Camo was clean bowled, also for 11, three overs later. No-one looks particularly comfortable or secure when batting, with neither the resolute and defensive (Stumpy and me) or the more attacking-minded (Walkie, James and Slates) scoring many runs. Wickets fall at regular intervals and we are finally all out for 95 from 31 overs. The only real highlight is Nick’s big 6, which is celebrated mid-pitch by Deen watching the ball sailing away with his arms raised aloft (bat in hand) as he walks down to meet him. Great stuff! Another highlight is that, earlier in our batting, Deen offers to do a beer run and refuses to take any money for it. This man clearly has a future with this club.
Since the main event will be after the game, tea is a reasonably short break, but it does contain one minor incident of note. Skip resets their match clock, innocently enough, but their skipper protests this as he feels that they should have the remainder of our time in addition to their own. Skip apologises and offers to rectify the situation but it doesn’t prevent a bit of toy-throwing on the part of his opposite number. Dismissing this minor twattery, we take to the field again and, in their reply, it becomes clear that home advantage is relatively modest in these conditions. Alex East, who gains the moniker King Louie because of his comment that he is swinging the ball almost too much, is the pick of our bowlers, taking 4 for 8 from 9 overs, with 4 maidens and conceding no extras. Otherwise the wickets are shared around, with Seen keeping up a fine tradition of taking a wicket on debut, well taken behind the stumps by Dave Bateley. However, there aren’t many runs to defend and, while wickets fall regularly as in our innings, their skipper hangs around to make 22* and we can’t get rid of their number 10 at the other end, so they see them to victory. A loss by 2 wickets.
The barbecue is started and the oppo are gracious hosts, with our clock infraction dismissed by virtually everyone. Skip is awarded the SBotD for his underwhelming performance with the bat and his Cher-like attempts to turn back time. Recipient of the Big Pat is young Alex for his tremendous bowling performance.