It was another Sunday game off, off the back of a Plough league win and the team sheet looked, for want of a better phrase, strong and stable. After a brief prep talk from Duray over a bottle of tequila the night before, I was looking forward to my first game with the club which wasn’t as a last minute call up. Probably a bit keen I turned up early to a wonderful spot of green in the tranquil village of Chobham.
A quick message to @PloughmansCC and I was informed that my earliness was due to the game having a late start, a blessing to my hangover, but a sore point of controversy for some team members. 3 of which turned up a single minute late, sauntering to the wicket for 13.31 to the Skipper’s playful disapproval.
It was obviously a batsmen’s wicket and Britto had talked us through his lengthy tossing practice. With full belief in his ability to say “tails” as another man flipped a coin in the air, we waited. And he delivered. Putting the Plough into bat, which as this report reveals, was the correct choice.
Out to bat we went. S. Britto faced 12 dots before clearing the square but at the other end our Italian international Enzo Barraz settled in with two 4’s. When the first wicket (Britto) fell in over 19 we were looking at a solid 123. Steve having contributed just 19 meant that Barra was staring down the barrel of his first club ton. He had just stepped of a plane from Australia and here he was having a blinder of an innings. A source at the stumps tells me that as he hit his final 4, he thought he had reached the big one-oh-oh, unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Bowled next ball he was out on 99.
I was out fielding at this point as the oppo only had ten, finding it all very dull, as Tisato used that 6ft+ lever of his to ruin a couple of bowlers’ weekends. At least that was the plan, until Covens joined him at no.5 and decided to call a single despite hitting it directly at me. I did what any cricketer would do while playing for the opposition, and sent it straight to the keeper’s gloves for a run out, then left the pitch to immediately apologise to Tisato. It was during that apology that I found out he was out on 49. Sorry again mate.
Lonnen was in at 6, and rather enjoying himself. Post-game he told me his highlight was “the car park. Yeah, hitting the car park has become a bit of a specialty”. He almost doubled Chris Ovens’ 31, in what felt like half the time. After each of his 4 sixes he took an obvious pleasure in shouting “new ball please”, a great feeling for a batsman, which didn’t come across to bowler’s as smug at all. He was caught out on 57 after toeing it 9/10ths of the way to the boundary.
We made full use of the 40 overs, with Chris being bowled on the final ball. A team jug avoidance total of 292. And as we got ready for tea, a slight look of trepidation was painted upon Andy Boyd’s face. The book didn’t add up. On further analysis late into the evening – the team may have broken the 3-ton – though now we may never know.
A little unusual at tea, correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe the home team tucked in first. Everyone seemed content with what was left though. Nuggets, cocktail sausages, watermelon and strawberries. Coupled with sandwiches and a brew it did its job. Clocked in at a 6/10. Fairly neutral – but the club house and ground made up for it.
The batsmen had set a total to be proud of and the bowlers had the clear instruction of “let’s not make this a late one”. At this point it’s nice to think that the decision over who bowled at which end was made strategically and to the benefit of fielders and bowlers alike. But realistically Liam is much bigger than me, so took the new ball and flew down a near sheer slope with a strong breeze backing him every step of the way. I on the other hand had the uphill, into the wind, staring at the sun, end.
But there’s a time and place for excuses, and this isn’t one of those as 11 balls into the innings, their specialist batsmen was clean bowled. He’d only turned up a few overs before the end of our batting, and I’d done him. Only lesson here is that turning up early is a wiser move than turning up late. Liam took two strong wickets in his 5th over and I took another in my 5th. At the end of our opening spell they were 45-4 off 10. We’d stuck to our instructions.
Coming up next was a masterclass in spin. A trio of talented tricksters you could say. Led by Boyd-y’s start of a wicket maiden, Nigel and Leo each took a wicket home. But Andy’s spin shone with the glow of a man on the hunt for a jug. Chobham chucked their bats at it, this way and that, with quite a few connections. But with some precision fielding placements from the skip, the ball dropped into very-able hands. Andy Boyd finished with 3 wickets. Covens claiming a catch from behind the stumps, and also getting a run out – solid all-round performance.
A shout out to the oppo’s number 8, a young lad who saw himself to 41, five 4’s and two 6’s included. With a very young side Chobham reached 138 in 25 overs.
The bar was open, the sun was making an appearance, and it was four wins on the trot. As Boyd-y set about balancing the books a jug or two was responsibly enjoyed ahead of a pleasant drive back to the City.