On the eve of the most important day in English sport since Ben Stokes fell over and ‘fluked’ those extra four runs in 2019, we made the short journey down to Chislehurst to face old foes Foxbury Exiles. Rain threatened to spoil proceedings but we got underway on time, with a fresh face in the team in the shape of Sashi’s friend Karthik stepping in to fill the shortfall in numbers this week. Vice was leading the team this week and showed off his excellent tossing skills as he showed us five correct calls while we got changed. Striding out confidently announcing we would definitely be fielding first, he returned 30 seconds later to pad up as he lost the toss and would be opening with a slightly hungover yours truly.
The plan was to get through the first ten overs, alas we managed seven before Vice chopped off (yes chopped off) after a decent start and was trudging off for 19. I followed shortly after for a measly 5 as one down the leg side caught the shoulder of the bat and looped straight up to the keeper, leaving us 31/2 and Foxbury proclaiming that ‘it’ was ‘coming home’, which didn’t annoy us at all. At this point a steady hand was required, and Karthik certainly looked the part as he played some good-looking shots along with Stumpy, moving the score on to 72 before Karthik was out, bowled for a decent 25 (I missed most of it as I was skittling Walkie in the nets as usual). Dicky P was next in and hung around long enough to see Stumpy depart for 22 and add 7 himself, both men seeing their stumps clumped. Walkie recovered enough from his mid-game net disasters to smack a couple of decent fours on his way to 18, while Scrappy went in a similar fashion to me for 7. It was at this point that some wally watching on decided to point out that there had been no ducks so far in our innings as King Louie walked out to join Sashi in the middle. Guess what happened next? And guess what happened when Paul went out to join Sashi next ball? Will Jessup joined Sashi for what could have turned into a vital 8-run partnership before Sash was bowled for 10, and our innings closed 139 all out.
On to tea and the now (new) normal meal deal and cigarettes feast, Scrappy however was left rather disappointed with his Raheem Sterling flavoured energy drink. Grub disposed of, we set out to defend our slightly disappointing total with gusto. Walkie and King Louie then proceeded to bowl the best opening spell I’ve seen in my time at the club, both bowling their allotted eight overs straight through and virtually winning us the game between them – Walkie claiming 4-16 (including 2 wicket maidens) and the King 2-18 (including 1 wicket maiden). By the time they had finished, Foxbury were 35/6 and on the brink of a huge defeat. Vice then brought himself on to mop up the tail, taking 3-16 with a fast and accurate spell before Ryan extricated himself from the heads of a couple of Foxbury’s batsmen’s heads to grab the final wicket. A great bowling performance and an equally brilliant fielding display with everyone on form and diving around like lunatics, boundary saving stops from Paul and Will being the highlights – we barely gave a run away. Foxbury were dismissed for just 85 to give us victory by 54 runs.
Onto the pub for celebrations and to award Walkie player of the day for his bowling and holding a tricky catch, and to scowl at Vice for securing himself a ticket for the Euros final at Wembley on Sunday in which England will surely triumph…