T’was a stunning sunny day that greeted the Plough as they ambled up the delightful dual carriageway that is Staines Road West. Someone shouted ‘Westsiiide’, many hilarious jokes followed. In the meantime Skipper Lonnen strode out to the wicket and promptly won a toss!! Unheard of this season…..and elected to bat. Ding dong Bell decided to hype up the batsman that were padding up, by handing out free chocolate that he had found in the road on the way to the game. Why he thought Duray needed any more sugar is anyone?s guess, he was already over-excited by the children?s party being hosted in the clubhouse and dancing in his pads to the PHAT beats.
On to the game, yours truly (Centre) and Duray opened the batting as Paulie was late looking for more sweets in the road outside. Spelthorne are an experienced and decent league side and they gave very little away, apart from one opener bowling a few full tosses after asking his team mates who was wiping sun cream on the ball. (err, league enquiry?!) The openers tried to see off the new ball and lay a platform, although Duray inside edging into his box was not the best example, still throbbing a couple of overs later he was out to a decent delivery, of which there were many. Centre departed a few overs later playing on, and it was up to Hynes and Ding Dong to take over. Hynes played very well in the V, playing away good balls and their very accurate spinners, those sweets definitely helped. Ding dong infuriated the oppo by keeping out everything straight and hitting over the slips after they had put 4 of them in, with a big smile on his face and his baggy PJs flapping in the breeze.
Spelthorne kept things very tight, but it was nice to be out umpiring in the middle, not just to enjoy the battle and the weather, but to avoid the relentless music being played at the kid?s party back in the clubhouse. Angry Dad was enjoying himself at least listening. Hynes and Ding Dong kept going, until Bell eventually succumbed and DC walked to the crease with instructions to attack and try to up the run rate. PCC were under 3 runs an over and needed some impetus. Sticking to his task DC cut, swept, pulled and drove the ball very well into gaps and got the scoreboard ticking with a brisk 18, with Hynes joining in at the other end and the run rate increasing with about 15 overs to go. DC was out plumb lbw to a straight ball trying to up the right again, and skipper Lonnen (by now amped up massively by the kids tunes) walked out and joined the party. A couple of massive straight sixes from Lonnen, and some lovely cut and pulled fours from Hynes near the end got the Plough to a respectable 183-4 off 45 overs, with 60 runs coming in the last 9 overs. Hynes finished with an excellent 72*. Possibly felt a little short but if we bowled well very defendable.
Tea was taken, lots of good food and many cakes, including brioche with sandwich fillings (a new one for me!) Probably a 7/10.
The Plough took to the field with Lonnen opening the bowling alongside Ross, both started well, Lonnen bowling very accurately and Ross bowling with good pace. Tom Lockhart couldn’t believe that he was stinging the palms of his ?5.99 gloves, luckily he used some of the sausage rolls from tea for extra padding. Spelthorne?s openers were a contrast, one a veteran wall playing very cautiously but picking off the odd bad ball, the other playing the aggressor and smashing anything remotely short or wide. Going at 5 an over they were well on track, Ross eventually bowled the aggressor with one of the deliveries of the season, and while the other opener remained in for a long time, the other batsman coming in continued to play their shots.
Tom picked up the next wicket and although Spelthorne were 2 down they continued well above the run rate.
After Ross finished his excellent spell it was time for some pace off the ball, with Duray and H providing the spin and the all-rounder DC with the seam at the other end. DC was unlucky to only pick up 1 wicket, and H took advantage of the bounce and turn to bowl two batsmen out around their legs, classic leg spin and H even spoke!! Tom picked up another wicket in his excellent second spell thanks to a stunning catch behind from Lockhart diving swiftly to his right. ?5.99 well spent. By now an improbable comeback was almost on, with Spelthorne 6 down and even their wall of an opener back in the hutch and still 20 odd runs to get…..their number 8 had other ideas though, his first ball he hit Tom for a huge six over square leg, second ball edged for four, and he hit another huge straight six the next over. The last couple of runs were picked off quickly.
Spelthorne are a good side who play the game in the right way, and simply outplayed us on the day. They bowled much tighter than us and gave away far less ‘four balls’, they also fielded very well, and that was ultimately the difference on the day. Great spirit from the Plough to come back at them though.