Well, here we go – this is my first match report. Now I do not claim to be as witty, as good with words or have the same pre-match routine involving fine wine and good food (which always makes him late, by the way) as the skipper does, but I do have fine legs. By this, I mean that I have a fine leg in place when fielding.
My pre-match routine involved playing with the dogs in the garden, drinking lots of coffee to wake myself up and going shopping to source breakfast, and then cooking bacon rolls for Mrs Darts & the terrible twins. Afterwards, it’s Up the Rec to open the gate and get everything out of the changing rooms ready for everyone’s arrival. Tom is employed as gate keeper to keep him out of the way for a few minutes.
Then we witness one of the funniest sights to grace the Recreation Ground in a while. As the joke goes, how many Stone cricketers does it take to put up a gazebo? Well, about SEVEN by my count. It’s a good job we did put it up, though, as later in the day the heavens opened.
I think this is enough of the skipper’s pre-match notes for now – let’s talk about the cricket.
Like all good Stone Captains of the past and present, I lost the toss and was asked to bat, on what looked like another good batting track prepared by our new groundsman, we started with some trepidation, this was founded as we found ourselves, 37 for 2 with both Glenn and Jack out early after a few fine shots, although going back to the pitch one kept low on Glenn and then Jack got one that lifted on him.
Young Alfie came in to join the in-form Bateley and then proceeded to hit their bowlers to all parts of the Rec, putting on 120 for the third wicket. Bateley was next to get out for another fine knock of 80 – the man is in the form of his life at the moment. I was still adding up the score book at this time and was not ready to go in, so I sent in Kelvin to bash the ball about for a while. There was a lot of dust, missed stumpings, and swinging and missing going on, but he did however manage to go on and finally be undefeated on 21 at the end. Young Alfie went on to complete his first ever 50 and was eventually out for a fine 66. All that was left was for the skipper to decide not to bat as there was only fifteen minutes left and he was confident of getting over 200, so sent in young Jordan who nagged me all day long about batting. Unfortunately he was out for 6, so in came Joe for the last few balls and scored his first Stone run, only to be run out by Kelvin off the last ball of the innings. Nevertheless, it was a great effort by the team to finish on 208 for 6 from 37 overs. If I am honest (which I am), it’s a lot more than I thought we would get. They only had four bowlers with one bowling 11 overs and two others bowling 10 overs each, with the last two overs of spin took 9 minutes to bowl, which tells its own story.
After another great outdoor tea, provided by Nigel & Sue (thanks again, you two), we took to the field again. After only about four overs, we witnessed one of the worst bits of cricket you will ever see. Tom was involved but (for once) it was not his fault. Their batsman, who was in his fifties by the way, hit the ball high in the air but did not run to start with, then decided to charge at Tom, yelling at him and deliberately ran into him so he dropped the catch (still Dolly of The Day though). The whole team stood there stunned for a few moments, still trying to work out what had happened. I then said to the umpire “you are the skipper and the umpire – what are you going to do about that?” He was as stunned as we were and basically did nothing, so the guy stayed in – apparently the rules are, if you appeal, he should be given out. As far as I was concerned, my objection was an appeal, but never mind.
We then lost about 25 minutes to rain – seeing 22 blokes under a gazebo and running to the changing rooms did form some entertainment. Once the rain stopped, we decided to go and finish the game. We agreed to have 24 overs in which to get them out. I employed nine bowlers – everyone apart from Joe & Bateley bowled at least one over, with none of them going for more than 20 runs. Alfie picked up a wicket and took a fine catch in the covers to round off a great day for him. The pick of the bowlers was Geoff who took 3 for 14 off six overs, leaving Ide Hill on 104 for 4 from 29 overs. A good winning draw for the Stoners, and so to the pub we went.