Stone CC v Borden CC, 19th August 2023 

After another spot of fixture drama – Borden barely had a team by Wednesday night – the game was confirmed after a brief morning pitch inspection by the landlords following an overnight deluge. On further inspection by our own wannabe curators, it was described as “urgh”, “a swamp”, “can we play somewhere else” and other things which can’t be listed here. All of these descriptions proved entirely inaccurate and we take it all back. Late team drama this week as debut boy Tim pulled out very late in the day, with Field Marshal Lobster Mick Garratt brought in to complete the XI from his comfy chair. The toss was negotiated between the skippers and so we ended up batting first.

Slates was promoted up the order to open with me and looked reasonably comfortable, despite barely getting a bat all year, until he jumped two foot in the air at a low straight one and was bowled for 16. Gracie got a promotion too, up to Number 3 from Number 5 in the hit parade, and played a plethora of scoops and paddles around the corner (shots which we described in nets last week as “fucking about”) on his way to a run-a-ball 19, before one got through the gate. The sight of the skipper strolling in at Number 4 to join me must have put the shits up any of the Borden lads who played in the fixture at their place where we both went bananas, and immediately Skip was looking to tee off again. He didn’t quite manage the brutality of June, departing for 30 with the score on 129. Stumpy was in next, coming off an unbeaten 45 last week, and he and I pushed things on to a total of 186/3 at the completion of our innings, with me carrying my bat for 93* (17 4s and a sore hip) and getting tantalisingly close to a second ton against Borden this year. Were we protecting our averages in the final over?  No-one will ever know the truth, but it was a maiden… Stumpy finished on 18*.

Meal deals dispatched, farts ripping all over the place, and much talk of barrelling them out for 26 so we could prise open Big Pat’s Legs early on (for the uninformed, that’s the name of our refreshments area these days). Walkie was restored to opening duties, and his first ball was sliced straight into Quaker’s hands at backward point. Some controversy followed – did he ground it? It was a great effort, but the general consensus was that it hit the deck. Meanwhile, at the other end, Deadly Dicky was at it again, mortar bombs flying everywhere and completely outfoxing the Borden top order, bar their skipper. A cunning piece of captaincy produced the first wicket, with Skip moving me to short midwicket where I held on to get rid of their Number 1. A pirouetting LBW followed a couple of balls later, followed by a yorker to remove Numbers 3 and 4. Big Pat’s knickers were slipping off and we could smell victory already. Dicky nicked one more and ended up with 7-4-8-4 in a brilliant spell. Tom P couldn’t match his wicket league rival and went without reward as his radar went a bit askew, nor did Oaten make take a wicket in his spell, which was tidy nevertheless. Oppo skipper Tim hit 83 at their place, and followed that with a (largely) chanceless unbeaten 50 here, before retiring to give their youngsters a go. This perked up Pablo Keenan, who went wicketless in his first spell, but grabbed two in his second (all of one over) to sneak up to second place in the wicket-taking standings, before Slates nabbed himself one just before the end. Borden finished on 123/7, which broke the Curse of the Wok and meant victory for us by 62 runs, and Big Pat’s Legs were open for business. 

Dicky’s outstanding bowling spell would usually command the attention of Big Pat in any other week, but she came home with yours truly following my batting performance. Shitbag went to, who else, Walkie Talkie, mainly for rolling up at 1.27pm straight out of bed, though I believe there were other misdemeanours throughout the day…

– Bill