Officially, this was week two of Stone CC chasing a vector for disease around a field for an afternoon. However, as we all know, for many this has been a lifelong pursuit. Often requiring something stronger than hand sanitiser to resolve the situation.
After the disappointment of being on the end of a runfest last week, we travelled to take on Upchurch 3s on what turned out to be a scorcher of a Saturday in the Kent countryside. During our stint at The Womb, the sight of yout’ wearing matching tracksuits and wielding bats would elicit an air of nervous caution. These days it still makes you think, but with far less fear for your wallet, as we sized up an opposition of varying ages, knowing that someone was probably going to be put around the place by someone younger than Skip’s underpants.
In the absence of the aforementioned leader – assumed late because of a parade of hearses outside his new residence, Vice won the toss, elected to field and took the new ball alongside Slates (0/13 from 3) who was making his first appearance of the season. A youngster and ‘apparently’ a former SCC Batsman of the Year snaffled at the top of the innings for the Binman saw him to 2/11 (5) after his first spell, later returning to pick up another later in the day and call it an afternoon’s work with 3/21 (7).
A brief spell from Slates gave last season’s Bowler of the Year, King Louis, the chance to drop the first track on the difficult second season album. Bowling as tight as ever, the King removed the opener LBW, before finishing 1/24 (9). His sparring partner for the spell Sashi, whose wicket brought one of the moments of the day – a stunning diving catch from Bill taken at full stretch at mid-off. 1/20 (4) from the Tangerine (easy [a]ppealer – not giving up on that one), sporting his flowing, lockdown locks.
The King and Sashi aside, time for Muttley and Scrappy to spearhead the attack – the former a text book exercise in tight bowling against an increasingly aggressive batting attack. Split over two spells, the first four overs were very much a job for the team going for just nine runs. Upon return, time to cash in, picking up two wickets for the addition of only four runs, finishing 2/13 (6). Scrappy was just happy to be out and about, as losing his voice with the first ten or so overs demonstrated. Classic first game back story – slowly remember how to bowl, ending with 1/30 (6) having edged the danger man behind, well taken by Stumpy. Our bowling efforts rounded off by Double 0 Dino, who tweaked through his five overs for twenty runs (0/20 (6)), before the Vice scooped up a run out off the last ball to see the opposition all out for 150.
In for the artist formerly known as tea. It’s fair to say the big winners in this alternative reality will be the people behind meal deals, although something to keep a close eye in over the coming weeks. Although mystery still shrouds the contents of the toolbox Dino sat astride during the break.
Time to bat, and out to the fore strode Slates and Bill in pursuit of the 151 runs that would see us to victory.
And then back strode Slates, falling for a platinum duck off the first ball of the innings.
Time for the Skipper to join the fold, and with pressure starting to build after a run of dot balls, the ever-reliable approach of flash hard came out to play, as he top-edged one away for four. Cue the opposition captain immediately moving to close off that unorthodox source of runs, much to the amusement of Rossington – who called out the knee jerk, reactive nature of his counterpart. This battle of wills lasted just one more ball, as the Lord did exactly the same, only to be easily taken by the newly placed fielder. Excellent work, all round. One can’t help but think if he’d spent less time napping on the wasp infested casting couch by the side of the pitch, things might have been different.
Skip out, Vice in – and in what’s becoming a trademark style there were some big shots from the second in command, although not enough to sustain an innings as he fell for 16 from 12 balls, and on a similar thread, when last week’s top scorer Gracie fell for single run, Upchurch have us by the short and curlies on 31/4.
At the other end, Billy demonstrated the comparable patience of a saint – offering some steadiness before falling for 25 having been at the crease for some 47 balls. Sashi’s innings ended with four runs to his name, which introduced Muttley to the batting efforts. Having picked up a couple of deserved wickets at the close of our time in the field, confidence was very much the order of the day – demonstrated by crashing the first ball he faced over the fence for four. Matt and Stumpy at the crease, SCC somewhere around 60/6.
They say it’s the hope that kills you, and as the club’s Charlton contingent would come to know all to well come Wednesday night, it’s not far off. Matt and Dave batting beautifully in the conditions at a pace well in line with the required run rate. Unfortunately, Matt fell for a very well played 34 from 51 deliveries, caught LBW as the result of what looked more like fatigue than anything else. And given he’d more or less carried the innings, it’s easy to understand. Still, 126/7 with plenty of time left – very much still in the mix.
Alas, the tail offered, little by way of wag. Scrappy out for three, King Louis for a three-ball duck and all of a sudden, it’s a shoot-out: Stumpy and Dino at the crease on 135/9. 16 runs required to win.
14 runs to win.
12 runs to win.
141 All Out
Stumpy popping the ball up for the catcher at mid-off to bring an end to our innings, and a nine-run defeat for the men of Stone, falling for 31 from 54 deliveries.
A second defeat of the season, albeit a far closer finish than many had anticipated given our earlier standing in the game. A small consolation, but nothing more than that. Once the ink has dried on the scorebook, unfortunately an L is etched into the history books.
Big Pat’s Big Pat on the Back went to Matt for his performance with both bat and ball; whilst a week later and post-pub discussion yesterday, SBotD remains under a steward’s enquiry.