Old Colfeians CC 4th XI vs. Stone CC, 20 August 2022

Finally, the relentless furnace that has been the Summer of ’22 cooled off this week, as we headed into the ghetto of SE London to face Old Colfe’s 4th XI. Careful research of their results revealed a startling statistic – one defeat all season. The original plan was a couple of T20s and a jolly good time, but as it was 10 v 10, the oppo skipper and I decided on a single 30-over shindig. As it turned out, this was probably the best decision of the day. A new face joined us this week in the shape of my bro-in-law John, who finally decided he would bin off Bexley and play for a proper team, after seven years off. The oppo skip explained that we were playing on a used wicket, as their groundsman had ballsed up the stump holes on the lovely track that he had prepped for us. I lost the toss again, and we would be fielding.

Walkie and Dory were first up in the bowling fun, and would combine to get rid of their Number 1 early on, with Dory taking a good catch at square leg. This would be the only wicket between them in the opening spell before Slates and Dicky came on next, with slightly differing results. Nick went on to take 3/35, castling their Number 2, completing a return catch to get rid of their Number 3, and removing their Number 4 – who was clearly not a 4th XI bat, as poor ol’ Pusey found out in a sequence of three massive 6s and several more 4s – in combination with Gracie, the big man holding on to an excellent running grab out in the deep. Ryan came into the attack nursing a whopper of a thigh bruise after going arse over head on their astro wicket (denying him an excellent catch in the process) and got himself a caught and bowled, before Paul came on and took his customary wicket off a glove behind to Stumpy. In the midst of all this, their Number 8 had come in and smacked 71*, and the gallows humour was setting in. I even had to have a bowl in the last over, which nobody likes to see, except oppo batters. Colfe’s finished on an incredibly boring 231-6, and three lost balls in the neighbouring gardens.

One joy of visiting Colfe’s (the main one, let’s be honest) is the on-site bar, which also housed a half-decent tea. With instructions of “swing at everything” ringing in the lads’ ears, the ultra-attacking opening partnership of me and Stumpy set off in chase of glory. A whopping total of 13 was put on the board before I was yorked attempting some sort of crap shot for 12, featuring one 6. Dicky was in next, with he and Stumpy moving us on to 32/1, before it all went horribly wrong. Dicky made 13 before he made for the bar, followed shortly after by Stumpy clipping one in the air for just 5. Slates got a horrible bounce to gift up a ct&b for naff all, before poor John’s first innings in seven years was ended by a leg spinner that turned 17 feet and bowled him ’round his legs for a three-ball duck. So, 32/1 became 32/5, Stone Wobble™ completed, and a very early finish in the offing. Ryan and Gracie managed to stick around long enough to add a bit of respectability to our total, making 18 and 19 respectively. They were followed by Walkie carrying out his instructions perfectly (go and hit a 6) and top scoring with 20 before departing bowled, but not before Dory had clipped one in the air and was gone for 2 late in the day. Paul took his 0* and headed for the bar along with the rest of us, 104 all out. I highly doubt we’ll be boosting their bar takings next year…

On to the post-mortem, lubricated by delicious Moretti, and a pretty unanimous vote saw Slates take home Big Pat for the week for his 3/35. No SBotD this week, as everyone kept going and kept up the laughter and piss-taking, despite them being miles above our level and pinging us into Lewisham town centre. Better than an afternoon in Tesco or being dragged to some dreadful wedding, right? Right!

– Billy