New Beckenham CC 4th XI v Stone CC, 12th August 2023

The much anticipated ‘Stone Derby’ vs. Stone-in-Oxney went belly-up early doors this week, adding to the pile of re-arranged fixtures in the 2023 season. Nevertheless, fixture king Beef managed to line us up a much shorter trip down to New Beckenham CC, an oppo which quite frankly none of us knew existed. We rocked up way before they did to find a beautifully manicured cricket ground, which sadly already had their first team playing on it. A short trek across the football pitch and we were investigating a decent looking track on their second pitch. Skip lost the toss and we would be fielding against a team which, they assured us, would be all out inside 20 overs.

Slates’ opening spell was a slippery affair as, despite their pitch covers, the summer’s relentless barrage of drizzle had turned the front foot landing area into the Somme, circa 1917. No wickets for him, while Deadly Dicky’s opportunity to stretch his lead at the top of the wicket charts ended up joyless, albeit economical all the same. Walkie replaced Slates and fared even worse, sending down a solid spell of full tosses, wides and beamers at a youngster, before he swapped ends and did much the same into the wind. One Ball Pablo Paul the Semtex Wall Keenan was thrown into the attack and managed to make a breakthrough by removing their openers in quick succession, Walkie holding on to a skied leg-side shot before Pablo castled their Number 2. Harrison toiled at the other end in a tight-ish spell before he got tonked for 17 off his last over, though his dad did drop a tough chance at short cover which I’m sure won’t be mentioned ever again. Slates held on to a high one to give Paul a third wicket, and the ten-fer was on… but not to be as he finished with 3-25. Skip brought himself on for a couple of fruitless overs before throwing the ball to me, and I managed to get rid of their captain and his broken bat through the gate, followed by something similar to get rid of their Number 6 to finish with 2-13. Their Number 4 was having fun at the other end and clubbed his way to 61 before he barbecued himself a ball from the end of the innings, running with a geezer who was a ringer for Donald Trump. New Beckenham finished on 194/6 at about five o’bloody clock.

Most of myself and Rossington’s opening partnership of 27 was from extras. I finally got the pox with this (and their first slip who appealed for fucking everything) and toe-ended a slog to mid-on for 5, while the Lord hung around with Harrison for a few more overs before he chipped one up and was gone for 10. Gracie reached for a wide leg spinner and sliced it to gully for two, bringing in the Skipper at 43/3. Wobble alert. Skip and H ran well to put on 41 before the Captain holed out (again) for 14 – who better to enter the fray now than Stumpy? Meanwhile, Harrison had found his stride and the rope, and also managed to iron out Umpire Rossington with a straight drive, moving on to 30 before he top edged to square leg. He was replaced by his old man John, who lasted three balls before he padded one on to his own stumps. 101/6, and the Stone Wobble™ was in full effect, with Walkie in next. Fortunately he batted sensibly for his 21, before he top edged into the keeper’s gloves. He and Stumpy had put on 61 to put us right back in the game, and with Nick Slater in at Number 9 biffing it about like a don (not Trump) we snuck over the line with ten balls to spare as the sun went down. Slates finished with an unbeaten 18, while Stumpy trotted off on 45 not out. FIFTY extras helped us to victory by three wickets.

Getting to the pub after 9pm is frankly unacceptable and must never be allowed to happen again, though this was the only gripe from what turned into a great day. The mad unbeaten away run continues via a hard-fought run chase, which we were so happy with that nobody was awarded Shitbag – quite rightly. Stumpy took home Big Pat for the first time this year, though honourable mention goes to Pablo for a great spell with the ball. Surely we can end our dismal home form next week at the Wok…

– Bill