Stone CC vs. Hunton Wanderers CC 2nd XI, 12 September 2020

With a hat trick of wins in the bag, we enter the weekend with a home game against Hunton Wanderers. The morning in the Chung household started well with the little one sleeping through until 7am (considered a lie-in these days!) and a cooked breakfast to get the day going. Unfortunately our esteemed leader didn’t fare as well as he got stuck in a traffic jam heading down towards the ground, and as the man with the keys, we couldn’t get set up at all.

The oppo start to get a bit testy, their nerves clearly showing as the skipper begs for a toss. With Vice denying him the pleasure, he slopes back to his team still in want as we marvel at the new sign that has been erected in the ground stating that it is neither a toilet nor a rubbish bin, something we are sure will be needed throughout the day.

We eventually get the keys and the stumps come out. Flags go up around the ground and the opposition skipper gets that much anticipated toss up that he’s been asking for over the past 30 minutes. We unfortunately lose the toss and are put in to bat (should be a nomination for sh*tbag surely?!).

Vice and Billy go out to the middle (which looks like a healthy green patch of amazon rainforest) and get us off to a good start. Some big hits and a few fine shots sees us scoring quickly and both boys looking good at the crease. With one man hanging out of his arse after a hearty birthday celebration the night before and the other with half a leg it was clear that the boundary was the way to go, and both boys help along their big bash totals whilst running in-between. Vice is the first man to fall bowled out for 38 runs, and in comes our late arriving skipper at number 3. He doesn’t last long and falls for 3 – the same number that he came in to bat.

Yours truly came in afterwards, feeling good after missing a few. A hard edge hits an elder statesman fielding at slip square in the chest but he gets up (thank goodness) stating he is ok, having spilt the catch and not only earning a dent in his pride but surely also a bruise on the heart.  Always thankful that we’ve got the defibrillator at the ground now. Unfortunately not ready for the short ball, I glove one upwards (fine looking swing but no connection) and am caught behind for 8 runs. 

Meanwhile at the other end, Dan the man is in and gets off the mark very soon after taking his guard. It was not to be today though and he falls bowled for 2 runs. It seems as though we’re well in to the tail now as the remaining wickets fall for 6, duck, duck, duck and Paul joining Dicky at the crease towards the end of our innings. A few runs scored, Dicky hitting 7 not out off of the finest pie chucking we’ve seen in a while and Paul making 4 not out, and we’re 139 at the end of our innings.

Time for tea and then straight to the field to defend our total, which we feel was short of where we should have been. Slates opens up with a wicket in his first over, taking their number 1 batsman for a duck. Game! On! I trundle along with the ball swinging well and take my first wicket in my third over, getting their number 2 batsman plumb LBW and he walks back to the pavilion with 17 runs to his name. 

Their third batsman hits a few big shots, and then took the liberty of hitting me back over my head for 6. Having had enough, the very next ball I bowl him out and send him trotting back in shame for 16 runs. Slates ending his spell with 1-24, in comes Vice and with him an umpiring change. The replacement umpires clearly missed out on all the free specsavers and opticians express offers as they call some ridiculous wides for both Vice and myself, one call having to be corrected by Scrappy as the batsman actually hit the ball and yet it was still called a wide, before confusingly being changed to a no-ball. 

The skipper shows why he’s the man in the prime position (no, not that position!) and shifts the field which sees Vice strike, getting their highest scorer out (with a catch by the panther) and we continue on. A few fiery pep-talks from Gracie and we keep going, trying to do the little things well (i.e. actually stopping the ball with a long barrier rather than letting it roll past us). A few very noteworthy fine efforts in the field and some good stops but the oppo are still scoring. I finish on 2-36 , Vice taking 1-23 and he’s ended his spell sure that this week will be his week in the performance of the day stakes.

Dicky comes in and bowls tightly, the batsman struggling and he takes 2-32, but this could have been more. We won’t mention who dropped the catch. Young James Jessup begins his spell with a first-ball wicket and it’s getting close now. He drops the dolly of the day off of his own bowling but we need a couple of wickets, they need a couple of runs and we are well into their tail, sniffing that 4th win and a pint of the Shovel’s finest. We get oh-so-close but can’t get those elusive last wickets and the oppo get the winning runs, James finishing 2-18.

So we don’t manage the 4th win but do celebrate Vice’s birthday with some cake and a beer at the ground. We keep him happy by awarding the opening partnership with the performance of the day and give Walkie the sh*tbag for bragging to the oppo that he has hit it in to the trees before (which he hasn’t) and then strolling out to the middle, walking back to the pavilion without actually hitting the ball. A couple of pints in the Malt for a few of us and we head into next week seeking a win against old foes Tonbridge Foresters at home.