Clapham Inn have been a reliable fixture and one of the better Sunday sides that we come up against. They might have pre-gamed with a few cans of 1664 under the fast moving overhead cloud, but that certainly didn?t reflect how seriously they were taking the fixture. There was absolutely no feeling of it being a full on ?village? fixture until something rather concerning emerged before us. It was noticed shortly after we won the toss and decided to bat, that there were no stumps out in the middle, soon to be noted that there was also lack of holes in which to insert the aforementioned stumps. This in no way seemed a problem as we are an experienced group of cricketers with two very able stumpsmiths among us, messrs Chau and Lockhart. The tools were gathered to do the job (hammer and copper piping, not Kev and Tom), they then set to work?? Job done.
Two men short Clapham CC took to the field with confidence, so confident that they all assumed their fielding positions with no guidance from the captain. I should know as I volunteered to be their 10th man until their late arrival showed up. Their opening bowled set to work, Leon taking a sensible and cautious approach until a loose one was dispatched for 4. Over 1 was out of the way. No major issues. Throughout the first over there was something clearly troubling Britto. Several cries of, ?Oi Si come and have a look at this? were understandably ignored by the skipper. At this stage the facts were laid out before us. Britto wasn?t actually moaning, he had in fact exposed the great Ploughman?s CC for what is now to be known as ?stumpgate?, in some corners ?chumpgate?, in others ?rock bottom?.
Our resident stumpsmiths had had a few installation issues. Namely that the stumps were located about 10inches out of place at one end [Skipper?s edit: see photo in email attachment]. Don?t sweat the small stuff I hear you cry. We didn?t. The game was paused as the experts went back to work. The game was reduced to 35 overs per side and the oppos tenth man emerged.
We then had a genuine game of cricket on our hands.
Leon and Britto moved things along steadily. The bowling from both ends was pretty tight and anything that needed to be was sent to the ropes. With both opening bowlers tiring, they changed service from the ?rock bottom? end and the fella with green tracksuit bottoms stepped up. If we weren?t taking his attire too seriously, we quickly took his bowling seriously as Parks left the field after missing a straight one and getting his bails clipped off (26 well worked runs). In came Paulie, again adopting the cautious approach to his arrival at the crease that we are becoming accustomed to of late. Meanwhile at the other end, Britto?s dabs were slowly connecting only for him also to be undone by a straight one. Regardless he made a respectable 28 to move him past the incredible landmark of 8,000 runs for the plough. A remarkable achievement for a fantastic batsman and fella, well done Steve.
Grant took to the middle and adopted ?ruthless? mode. Admittedly there was a brief pie chucking intervention, but so what, you?ve still got to put away the bad balls and Grant did that with aplomb. He rapidly moved through the gears, draining the fielders and the bowling. He went on to make his highest score for the Plough (70 no) with some lovely clean controlled stroke play, well done Student.
Clapham changed things up and although we lost Paulie to pie man, Turd (Stern in fact, but it sounded like Turd from the boundary) after a solid 32 in the 23rd over, we were scoring well and Lilford came in and quickly took up the pace. Things moved quickly. Chris made another solid 36 with some sensible stroke play only to fall to another straight one chasing a higher run rate. The Plough finished the innings with a well built 216-4 off the 35 overs. Clapham Inn were however brimming with confidence as they left the field seemingly sure that chasing down 217 wasn?t going to be an issue.
Tea was taken, along with the piss, as Kev and Tom had time to face the raw facts before them, their cricketing lives had irreversibly changed forever. Stumpgate was discussed in detail as we worked through Mr Kipling?s exceedingly good cakes along with some egg sarnies that were to repeat in the field.
Under clear skies we then took to the field with steely determination to knock Clapham Inn down a few pegs, and ensure in future they?d lack the confidence to chase down a dead cat.
Carson and Lilford opened our attack. Lilford emerged as a man possessed, beating the bat in his first two balls then third ball battered to the ropes, there were calls for him to respond and he duly did next ball by bowling their opener. Things continued in a very tight manner as Clapham struggled to get Chris or Si away with any confidence. They lost another two quick wickets at the hands of Lilford (neat slip catch by Lockhart) and then Uncle Nige (ct Parks) who replaced Chris from the ?rock bottom? end. The author replaced the skipper from the other, perhaps prematurely do to an Achilles injury. Bowling from both ends was tighter than a nun?s undies as Clapham struggled to get anything anyway. Nige was bagging wickets with his controlled work from one end and the author was bogging the batsmen down from the other end. Nige for some reason decided to coat his hands with Teflon between overs and dropped one at gully off yours truly. I?ve nothing more to say on the matter. After the final few balls of ?tramp tourettes? from the author as he bowled out his seven, he was replaced by the Earl (Gray) who steamed in to bag a wicket (bowled). Chris and Nige also bowled out, both ending with 3-23 off their 7. Nige was replaced by Big Trouble (Chau) from the rock bottom end, who bowled very well and bagged a wicket of his own. A small period of time passed before we could get rid of their final batsman (who strangely was the best stroke player coming in at 10), this was finally done by Lockhart who only needed 1 ball to do it.
Clapham Inn finished on 117 all out. As pointed out earlier they were an able side. They fielded well, competed well, and seemed nice enough eggs, but sadly for them a collective Plough brought their A game on Sunday. Delighted that we?ve got back to winning ways. The feeling of losing isn?t enjoyed by anyone, the feeling of winning is one we need to get used to again but never take for granted. We do many many things well. Very well in fact.
Sunday was one of those days where we just got it all right?. didn?t we Kev and Tom?