With the usual threat of summer rain hanging overhead we welcomed Bredgar to Oakfield Park this week for their return fixture against us. Upon thorough examination of the oppo, it was noted that the bloke who tonked us for 150 at their place a few weeks ago [their regular skipper Tim – ed.] wasn’t in the team. Much rejoicing ensued, and Skip announced we’d have a timed game and would bowl first as usual.
King Louie and Dicky P opened the attack for Stone, the King bowling his usual tidy and economical stuff (6-3-3-0) unfortunately without reward this week. Dicky made the breakthrough at the other end with his sole wicket of the day, bowling their number one for 0. The ball clattered the stumps, with bails flying all around the gaff. Sadly for the Skipper – standing in for an injured Stumpy – the ball also kept flying after the event, straight into his boat race and down he went. As The Lord was risen, he hath immediately developeth a big ol’ shiner and, with his left eye rapidly closing up, off he went to apply ice and the gloves were thrown to muggins here at first slip, keeping wicket for the first time since the year had at least two nines in it. Dicky finished with figures of 1-23 and a black eye from five overs. Enter Scrappy and Dino at first and second change. The former kept it tight and accurate, being rewarded with a couple of wicket maidens and snaffling a caught and bowled in the process (2-20). Dino made a dodgy start, getting biffed for a couple of fours off his first two balls. However he soon got the hang of things and rattled through eight overs grabbing wickets everywhere, helped by a screaming catch from Buckets Boyling in the covers and one caught behind by Temporary Stumpy here (though I did put one down) to end with magnificent figures of 5-17, finishing off with a wicket maiden of his own, thanks to a catch from our battle scarred skipper, as he etched his name onto the honours board. Tom Rogers then made a welcome return to the bowling attack with a fast and accurate three-over spell going unrewarded (0-8). Their final two wickets were proving tricky to remove but Will Jessup came on late in the day and got rid of one through the gate (1-26), and the Bredgar innings was wrapped up on 116 by the Candyman (1-14) with Ed taking his second catch of the day. A very gettable target, though the slow wicket and variable(!) bounce would definitely come into play.
Usual meal deal comparisons and Facetimes to the wife to show how brave he had been completed, the run chase commenced with Dicky and a rather stiff legged yours truly. Alas our partnership didn’t last as long as last week and Dicky was bowled for a solitary run. Candyman liked Dicky’s total so much he copied it, leaving us 7/2 early on. Skip had mentioned he didn’t want to open but here he was anyway. Bredgar proceeded to chuck down a few filthy deliveries which I happily despatched to the boundary before I got hit in the gentlemens region with a straight ball and was gone LBW for 22, then Scrappy hung around for a few overs before he was caught and bowled himself for 5. Enter King Louie, who finally brought his nets batting form to the middle and played some great shots including a couple of lovely fours before he also went c&b for a top scoring 29. Tom joined this season’s duck club with a golden, but with the good Lord Rossington holding things together with his best innings for a while at one end all was well aboard the good ship Stone, and victory was still in sight as Dino entered the fray. Skip then decided to send us into a force 10 gale by edging behind for 23, Dino was in and out before you could say four ball duck and 96/4 had very rapidly become 97/8, with Ed joining Paul in the middle. Giving us some brief hope Ed managed to get a couple away to take us past the 100 mark with three overs to go, but as we all know there are good leaves and bad leaves, and Ed’s was spectacularly bad (funny) this week and off he trudged for just four. Will was last man in but just couldn’t make it back having been called through for a tricky second and was run out without troubling the scorers. We fell to a 14-run loss, losing our last five wickets for just six runs and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Awards – I’ll have to leave this to the editor as I missed the debrief and the drunk cricket game at the Foresters later in the evening but would assume Dino is enjoying a week with Big Pat for his excellent 5 wicket haul.