Stone CC vs. Foxbury Exiles CC, 14 May 2022

Next into the smokin’ cauldron of red-hot cricket came Foxbury Exiles on a glorious day down at Oakfield. A bit of selection faff with half the team still swottin’ like boffins for exams and various others on duty elsewhere meant the injured Real Skipper came back into the team for what will probably be his only game of the year. He made a good start by winning the toss and electing to bowl, and once we had recovered new man Mowla from Dartford Station, the attack began in earnest, at exactly 23 minutes past one.

Walkie and Sash began the assault, with the Fake Skip holding onto one at cover point to nail Walkie’s only wicket of the day. Sashi’s radar was a bit wonky to start off with but he eventually found an edge behind to Stumpy with his last ball of his spell, before a glut of LBWs and some spin wizardry from Mowla got rid of two of ’em. Meanwhile Dory continued his brilliant form by getting another trapped in front. Gracie took a good catch at cover to give Dory a second wicket of the day, before Rossington executed the slowest run out in history of their man Palumbo (clap along kids) for a diamond duck. Mowla grabbed himself a third wicket before the one-legged Skipper came on late in the day and proved he doesn’t even need a second leg or a run up by bowling their Number 9, leaving Paul and Fake Skip to combine and get rid of their last man with a decent catch at square leg. Foxbury all out for just 95, and wickets for all the bowlers again in another great fielding display. We conceded 23 extras, however, which would come back and chomp us on the arse later on.

The reply began with Fake Skip and Gracie opening up. However Gracie’s horror run of scores continued with a duck, from what both Sash and I thought was a perfect yorker. I copped a bouncer in the grill shortly after which really pissed me off, so clubbed the next ball for 4. Stumpy and I moved the score onto 25 before I fell LBW for 16 to a slightly low one at which I played a crap shot. Maybe the whack in the grill discombobulated my brain as, a short time later, I gave Rossington out to one (so he says) he never hit and then gave Walkie LBW to one that he did hit. Fortunately, the Foxbury chaps ‘fessed up and admitted he middled it, perhaps intimidated by the umpire at square leg, and Walkie somehow survived. He made the most of this second chance by plipping one up off the glove to their keeper three balls later. Stumpy clubbed one straight to mid-off for an epic 8 off 70 balls, followed shortly after by Sashi. The stage was set for the Skipper to heroically see us home with his one good leg and he began in trademark fashion by scooping a four to backward square but, alas, it was not to be and he fell for just 5. With Dory still at the crease, anything was possible and he gave us hope with the most glorious six over square leg to push us on to 73-8, before he fell to a straight one. Mowla and Paul took us to within sight of victory before the former was gone bowled for just 2. This brought utter novice Liam (whom I haven’t mentioned yet) to the crease with Paul, who gave him an impromptu cricket lesson five seconds before he faced his first ever ball. It must have worked as he would end up not out, and showed everyone the correct way to leave the ball by simply not moving a muscle. He was still in his batting stance at the non-striker’s end, too – great dedication. Paul was last man out to a dubious (ahem) LBW decision, and the game was lost by 10 runs. Extras top scored for both sides, which tells you everything you need to know.

Fair to say we lost that one ourselves, mainly with the bat with only two getting into double figures. All good things come to an end, and sadly so does the winning start to the year. As footballers say, we go again. I hate that statement. Anyway, onto the awards – let’s say I was fully expecting my first Shitbag award this week for some dodgy decisions, but as usual Walkie managed to usurp me (on a 5/4 vote, cheers Stumpy) with his even ropier umpiring. Dory gets to show Big Pat a good time for the second week in a row for figures of 2/14 and 13 runs including that magnificent six. Honourable mention to Mowla, who turned up with 3-23 and is definitely welcome back anytime.

– Billy