Tonbridge Foresters CC vs. Stone CC, 06.06.15

3 weeks into this Match Report gig and I can already feel myself running out of material and there is a danger the rest of the season could resemble later Eddie Izzard tours later wherein once you have seen one performance you have seen them all. In the hope I can find some inspiration from the early career Izzard I am sat here in full make up, a lovely Vivienne Westwood dress and it is to their credit and the way in which I can carry this look that not one colleague has raised an eyebrow.

The writing was on the wall at the toss this week when their skipper won it and immediately put us in to bat, saying that it gave them the option of batting for a draw, which is what duly happened. Now I could leave the match report there – however, that would be to the disservice of a team whose collective performance was once again very strong with a smattering of exceptional individual contributions.

 We got off to a perfect start with the pinch hitting Team Admin Officer promoted up the order to open with permanent fixture (secretary), Stumpy. Replacing the big hitting, free-wheeling larger-than-life Character Krish (or Kelv) would be a daunting task for most men. But Matty G is not most men and he went about the early overs with devastating aggression. Not to over-do the Wagon Wheel gag from last week, it would be fair to say that Matty G’s scoring zones showed the same variety as we had seen in previous weeks from our top order batsman with all his runs coming in an arc from straight mid on to orthodox mid on. It was only when the oppo skipper placed 4 men in this wide arc that Matty G was somewhat becalmed, but by then the damage was done our esteemed seccie had moved past 50, eventually making 62 before his stumps were sent flying.

At this point Stone were around 100 without loss with well over half the time left to bat and a score of 220 plus well on the cards. It is a shame that the innings failed to really ignite from this point and it is something we will need to work on in future weeks where a bigger weight of runs might prove to be valuable. Dartsy failed to follow up on last week and was bowled around his legs (again!) for 7 and from that point Stumpy and Mike “Jackie” Chung accumulated in a steady if unspectacular fashion to take us to just shy of 160 with 3 overs remaining.  It would be fair to say that there is a lot of love out there for Jackie and he has numerous admirers in the Stone dressing room for his looks, sense of style and a textbook high elbow with bat in hand. Matty G will without doubt make a pass in the next few weeks and Mrs Chung will need to be at the top of her game to ward off a number of potential suitors.

High praise goes to the deserving Stumpy who notched his third 50 in a row and again did so in chanceless fashion. The little guy really is in a rich vein of form right now with that richness matched in his Net Worth with not one jug having been purchased at this stage of the season… I can only hope that this money is being spent “wisely” down at The Inn on the Lake!

20 odd runs from the last three overs from Glenn and myself took us into tea with 181 on the board with confidence high we had at least done enough to draw the game. Tea did its job but for me would only be a 5/10. Those with a sweet tooth might score it higher, however with two of my sandwiches clearly having used the end of the loaf and a lack of savoury to compliment the sandwiches it was only a high quality I had hoped that I would get the opportunity to write the words Niggly and Aggro in a match report this season and what followed after tea did not disappoint. Any concerns I might have had re. the skippership curbing my aggression were comfortably dispelled. In the cold light of day I think I over-stepped in the face of what can only be described as the worst umpiring decision I have seen since I was tweeting vs Sherwood CC three seasons ago and I extend my apologies to the team and our opponents for this. It may not matter that a PLUMB LBW had been turned down two overs previous or that the batsman was over a yard short with his bat in the air and on his way back to the pavilion when given not out. The umpires decision is final and this has to be respected and any injustice should simply be used to fuel our fielding efforts.

You can certainly be proud of your bowling and fielding efforts in the main this week. It is never easy to winkle out a team playing for a draw bowling second and to pick up 6 wickets in the circumstances with the oppo 50 runs back from our score gives us a convincing winning draw. But for the rearguard actions of their Kiwi/Aussie/Saffa skipper we may have gotten closer to knocking them all over. Special mentions go to an economical Ruggy – eight overs 0 for 10, Matty G – six overs 2 for 22 and Dino again opening up with seven overs 0 for 20. Geoff and Krish also bowled tidy little spells and with a bit more luck would have seen chances go to hand rather than straight through them. The star of the show however was our very own Robocop tribute act with four wickets (nearly 5 with the last ball of the game) who bowled with great control and not a little skill to find consistent swing and trouble every batsman.

Aside from the bowling and niggly aggro we also saw Free Willy (1, 2 and 3), Ruggy doing his best Roy Keane on Alf Inge Haaland to two-foot a motionless ball over the ropes, Joe in making his Stone Debut earning the nickname Rampant Rabbit (thanks for that one fella), more snatch in the crowd than the days when the legend Jim Turnbull had them queuing to get into the ground, and the best turnout in the pub since Stumpy last put his hand in his wallet (jokes!)