Teston kindly stepped into the breach this week after scheduled opponents Borden pulled out due to a player shortage, which happily meant I wouldn’t have to face their terrifying 12-year-old girl spinner. Our own lack of numbers meant a gallant ten-man Stone team headed down to Teston’s lovely ground in some decent sunshine AT LAST.
Skip wandered in to the mass of semi-naked blokes clogging up the changing room to announce we had won the toss, and on a brief show of hands we decided to bowl first. He even threatened to let me have a trundle at one point but luckily I wasn’t required. Walkie and Dicky opened the attack this week on reasonable deck, but were unable to make the breakthrough as Teston’s openers got them off to a good start. First wicket fell on 76 as a result of a crap call (but definitely not the worst of the day) for a third run, Muttley and Stumpy completing the run out between them. Teston’s other opener moved to 50 shortly after, before Walkie broke his heart and one of the bails next ball with a great delivery. Dicky got in on the act with the scores unmoved on 109, taking the bails off with a similar ball to the one that ruined Skip’s face a few games ago, before Walkie picked up his second wicket caught by Muttley. He would finish with figures of 2-14, easily the pick of the bowlers as everyone else went at more than four an over – even the usually economic Muttley went for 16 off the 40th over as Teston closed on a good looking 162/4.
Tea dispatched, and with the skipper’s advice of “enjoy it and make sure you call for singles” ringing in my ears we walked out to commence the run chase. Seven balls later I was skulking back to the pavilion after a second ridiculously good catch in as many weeks off a leading edge sent me on my way for naff all. Gracie came in at three trying to shake off a 10-pint hangover and took 13 balls to get off the mark, eventually departing to a yorker (again) for 7. He was later informed that the chap who removed him was bowling his first over for five years, which pleased him greatly. The returning Stumpy was next man in, as the rest of us settled in for a masterclass from our two most experienced players. This masterclass ended precisely one ball later as Skip called Stumpy through for a run that was never ever ever ever on, their fielder came in with a direct hit and a fuming Stumpy was storming back to the hutch run out by the merest of margins (five yards!) without facing a ball. He took it in good stead though, using only 132 expletives as he got changed.
Perhaps it was part of a dastardly plan by the captain, as Muttley headed out to join him with our score on not many for three. Rossington obviously didn’t fancy coming back in to face the music for a while and worked his way up to 45 in a partnership of 91, before a big waft at a flighted ball from Teston’s wonderkid 12 year old bowled him. At the other end, Muttley was taking sweet revenge for that expensive over earlier on, clubbing some juicy half volleys and full tosses to the fence where they belonged. Dicky joined him at the other end as Muttley went steaming past 50 (his first for Stone) with even more clubbage, and with five overs to spare the game was won as Dicky pulled one to the fence. All smiles in the end and Stumpy even forgave Skip for his misdemeanour. Muttley would finish a brutal innings on 81* and obviously take home Big Pat for another week of fun. She must be getting bored of him by now.
Shitbag was eventually awarded to Vice for choosing to watch Joe Root smash a hundred at Lord’s rather than play Teston again (I mean who wouldn’t?), BUT there was a stewards’ enquiry in the pub later. Those in attendance [a quorate of six players from the team – ed.] decided that running Stumpy out without him facing a ball was punishable by either a) death or b) Shitbag. As we’re low on numbers next week, Rossington is duly awarded the golden poo.
Lessons we have learned this week:
DON’T smash Muttley’s bowling for 16 off an over because he will destroy you.
ALWAYS come to the pub after the game if you don’t want to receive Shitbag.