Reigate Priory CC VI-kings vs. Stone CC, 16 July 2022

A journey down to Reigate on a hot summer afternoon promised much, but immediately began with a locked gate followed by an immediate trip to the nearby pub. Suitably refreshed once the gates opened, and with the advice of Stone captains past ringing in my ears (“don’t fuck it up”, “crush them”, etc), a negotiated toss in a 35-over game saw us put into bat, where we would surely put on an enormous total against a supposedly weak oppo.

The innings started well with me crunching two 4s in the first over, and regular opening partner Gracie getting one away to the fence himself with a few quick singles in between. Reigate then tied us up for a couple of overs before Gracie popped one around the corner to the short-ish fine leg for 5. Dicky joined me for a bit before I got the hump and attempted a couple of massive hoiks, one of which I top edged to their skipper at point for 18. This brought Slates to the crease, and he immediately showed his intent with a big 6 off his pads early on. Dicky fell LBW for 17, bringing the in-form Sash to the fray. Some good running and plenty of boundaries saw him and Slates pile on 41 to move the score to 107/3 before the latter played a big air shot at a full toss and was bowled for 29. Still looking good for a big total with some decent batting to come. However, a visit from the Stone Wobble™ has been long overdue, and today it reared its ugly head in spectacular fashion. First up, the returning Scrappy top edged for a three-ball duck, followed by the rarest of sights in an SCC innings as Stumpy played some sort of mad helicopter slice straight to first slip for a golden waterfowl. Walkie edged behind three balls after this, and a further three balls later Will was gone LBW. They say it’s very important to get your ducks in a row, or something. Sashi was another victim of Dicky’s umpiring finger with just three more added to the total, out LBW for 26 to leave us 122/9. Dino applied his (very much approved of) new tactic of running down the track at every ball to end up on 15* after Paul went for 3, and we would end up 139/10 – Stumpy being given a second chance to bat (one leg bye so 0 and 0* for him) as Reigate had 13 players turn up and wanted to bat them all.

Slightly shell-shocked at the collapse and full of biscuits and nicotine we began the attack, and I was still confident of securing the victory. No joy for Walkie with a sore knee hindering him this week, but Ryan made an early breakthrough, combining with Stumpy to get rid of their Number 1 (another top edge) for 1. The next couple of hours are a hot fuzzy blur, as our attack toiled without success against a good young batsman at Number 2, who piled on 88, and their skipper at Number 3. Having made 37, their skip then decided to retire out, eager to give someone else a go, with Reigate still a smidge behind the RRR. With a new guy at the crease, we thought we would have a chance of a few quick wickets, but he quickly put paid to this by biffing us all over the place, leaving us with the feeling of being ever so slightly stitched up. Spinners were introduced with Dicky taking yet another screamer of a catch at short midwicket to get rid of their youngster off Dino’s bowling, until Will showed everyone how it should be done by taking two wickets with his first two balls late in the day to make the scorecard look half decent. Their gun bat smashed a few quick boundaries to finish the day on 51*, and we were done by six wickets just inside 30 overs.

Not our greatest showing all ’round today after a decent start with the bat. Still, its better than doing the tiling or sulking round a garden centre, am I right… ? We got back in time for that mad T20 Blast final, where victory for Hampshire annoyed our very own Lancashire fan Paul so much that he turned down a drink! [daylight robbery, ran two byes off the last ball, should have been a tie, certainly not bitter, etc, etc – ed.] I don’t recall a single sentence of conversation about our game in the pub, which was probably wise, so no awards were given out this week.

– Billy