Stone CC vs. Linton Park CC 3rd XI, 13 May 2023

The “will it won’t it” rain saga continued this week, with the drizzle holding off long enough to allow us to get on the Oakfield Wok to face new oppo in the form of Linton Park. The weatherman actually promised us sunshine and 20’c, which turned out to be bollocks as it stayed overcast and chilly all day. The pitch was still soggy, the outfield was cut but whoever did it left most of the grass clippings on it. The skipper duly lost the toss and we were asked to bat first. 

Rossington joined me at the top of the order and we soon found the bounce to be “inconsistent”. T second ball I faced popped up nicely and I belted it past a sleeping fielder to the rope. A few more boundaries followed before a booming drive from Ross found an edge to first slip and he was gone for 4. Skip was in at Number 3, but before we could get going I missed a dipping long hop and was furiously trudging off for a bang average 17. Ryan joined his brother for a brief partnership before the Skip top-edged one to point for just 3. Gracie joined Scrappy with the score on 36/3 and played couple of lovely round-the-corner shots to the boundary, while Ryan – whose batting is very much on the up – also got in on the action before he missed a slow straight one and was bowled for 20. Reece Lightning was in and out at Number 6, popping one back to the bowler for nowt, and Sashman fell LBW shortly after for naff all as well. Stone were now 84/6, which became 86/7 as Gracie pirouetted and missed, bowled for a top-scoring 21. Tom P and Slates put on 34 for the next wicket to drag us towards respectability before Tom chopped on for 6, followed by Walkie for 1 as he missed a slow straight one. Slates then missed a slow straight one (there is a theme developing) off the last ball of the innings, bowled for 13 as we stumbled to 121 all out, Paul the unbeaten batsman (again) on 1*. Their slow and straight bowler took 4-10.

Tea – which included a phat kebab for Lightning – was dispatched, and we hoped to do something similar to Linton Park in order to get in the pub nice and early to watch Eurovision. Walkie opened the bowling without success once again, his 100th wicket eluding him for the second week running as Paul and Ryan couldn’t hold on to chances (to be fair, Ryan’s was very tough). Slates and I combined to get rid of Mr Slow and Straight as I held on at first slip, then Slates got through their Number 3 a short time later. Sashman came into the attack and found the edge of their other opener, but the umpire was unmoved and matey didn’t fancy a walk. Ryan then castled their Number 4 before some intimidating close fielding got rid of their Number 5, with Gracie taking a catch that gave Tom his first wicket for the club. A pair of brothers and their dad then followed for Linton Park, with all of them failing to score. Tom and Ryan picked up another one each, sandwiching another first wicket for Stone, this time for Reece Lightning who bowled an excellent spell. Alas, we couldn’t remove their other opener as he blocked his way to 28*. Linton Park 3rds finished up on 62/7. 

Post-match beverages and awards were doled out, with the absent Beef being awarded Shitbag for going Easter Egg hunting in May, while Ryan’s all round performance saw him slink off with Big Pat for the week. By the way, 121 would have seen us finish 15th in Eurovision, right below Armenia. Is there a Stone anthem? We’ll enter next year. Get writing boys.