Another week, another scorching hot day as we ventured out to Borden. A full XI of fine Stone men were available this week, with no sign of the usual last minute drop-outs or begging to randoms to play that has blighted us in recent times. Lil’ Will was back after swotting up for exams all summer, and Gracie returned from the comforts of his settee last weekend. Timed game agreed, we lost the toss (or the ‘which hand is the blade of grass in?’, as apparently nobody carries a two-bob coin any more) and were put into bat, which I would have chosen to do anyway in light of recent batting form ’round these parts.
Muttley partnered me at the top of the order and we both managed to get a few to the fence early on, before Mutts fell LBW for 19. Sashi did the same exactly one run later, leaving Stone 41/2 and the good Lord Rossington heading out to the crease. He and I put on 60 for the third wicket, before I finally got the hump with their veteran slow bowler and attempted to hit him clean out of Kent. I trudged off, stumped for 40, followed not long afterwards by Gracie who fell to a bit of late swing, trapped in front for 2. Ross then spent a good five minutes attempting to move a ladybird off the crease, before he missed a straight one and was gone for 40. Slates smacked two 4s and departed clean bowled for eight, before Dicky did exactly what I did last week and wandered out the way of the stumps, bowled for 4. All this occurred while Stumpy stood at the other end on 0 for about 20 minutes. Walkie copped a non-bouncer first ball to become the fourth LBW victim of the day, probably securing himself the Duck Cup in the process, before Lil’ Will came and went bowled for two. With almost everyone departing LBW or bowled, Dicky observed that we might just ‘have a problem with the straight one’… Paul and Stumpy saw the innings to a close on 6* and 20* respectively, Stumpy expertly taking a single off the penultimate ball to protect his average. Stone finished on 165/9 in our allotted time – one run less than we managed against Borden at our place.
With the sun attempting to fry every living creature to death, we sheltered inside for most of the tea break. Walkie opened up with a tidy spell at one end, albeit going wicketless, while the SashMan got the breakthrough late in his spell, as their Number 1 caught the ‘moving out of the way of the stumps’ virus and was bowled for 10. Slates and Lil’ Will came on next, with poor old Slates having a nightmare in his first over before remembering how to bowl properly and unluckily putting down a tough return catch chance before clean bowling their vice skip for 18. Will also had a ‘mare in his first over, serving up a plate full of juicy full tosses before he and Dicky combined to get rid of their skipper, and the young ‘un grabbed his second victim in his next over, getting one through their Number 4 and ending up with 2-28. Dicky and Muttley bowled tidily late on with no joy, but the star bowler this week was that man Keenan, with a spell of 6-2-18-3, with grabs from Gracie and two from Stumpy, one with the last ball of the game. He should have had four wickets, but Sash – who had been advising Paul of his intention to catch one for a good hour – saw a glorious opportunity slip straight through his lovely hands and straight into his gentlemen’s region, to roaring laughter from everyone else in the ground. Sash subsequently commented that he will not be making love for some time, not even with Rossington. Borden finished 103/7, match drawn.
I believe that’s known as a “winning” draw. Although it’s a shame that we couldn’t get those last three wickets, but it was a rather lovely day of decent cricket and good atmosphere, even if we were slowly being fried to death by a 93 degree sun. Onto the pub and awards – SashMan was unanimously given SBotD for dropping that catch straight onto his gonads, and the chaps in attendance let me have the joy of Big Pat this week for getting to 40 two balls faster than Rossington, though big shout out to Paul for his 3-for.