Saturday started with the not so welcome news that we would be playing on ?the new Hollies? (which after a few overs seemed remarkably like the old Hollies). A great hustle from Duray to do the toss before the oppo captain had seen the pitch, although we ended up winning the toss and deciding to bowl first.
The innings started with the welcome news that Commonwealth?s best player from previous seasons (feather in the helmet should be enough of a description for those who?ve played them before) had left for another club. We expected the openers to play their shots and we weren?t disappointed as they reached 30 odd for none after three overs. Lilford got the break through when their skipper hit the ball to Harry ??5 a picture? Davies at point who caught it on about the eighth attempt. Lilf had another shortly after when their opener chopped on and Bolshaw found his lines to trap ?the England international? LBW. Lilf picked up another and in the last over before drinks Grant had the next man clean bowled. Clearly the threat of me having an over before the break was enough to motivate him. At drinks we were well in front with Commonwealth 80-5.
After drinks they decided to take a cautious approach and some tight fielding restricted the run rate. After a tight spell from Beez, Duray threw the ball to Matt who was promptly dispatched for 6 first ball back. He hit a couple more boundaries but some good field changes and some tight bowling kept the runs down. Duray completed a tidy caught and bowled as their number 6 finally lost patience after a stubborn knock. Some lucky swings got them a few more before Lilford came back to wrap up the tail and secure a 5 for. Top bowling Chris! We went off to tea quite happy with their total of 165. But with a slow outfield and a popping Hollies pitch we knew it wouldn?t be easy work.
Our innings didn?t get off to a great start. Harry ?blue steel? Davies was caught down the leg side as their skipper showed again why he?s probably the best keeper in the league. Henry came out to join Noodle and they blunted the attack for a few overs before Henry was cleaned up by a good yorker from their opening bowler. I came out to join Nick and things started to look a bit easier when he crunched a cover drive for four. A few overs later I decided to pinch a quick single to mid wicket, who had previously taken the concept of walking in fairly liberally. In the interests of those playing (and who witnessed my subsequent blow out and existential crisis about ?why I hate cricket?) I?ll keep it brief. But a one handed pick up and a direct hit with one stump to aim at, a piece of cricket which had no place in Surrey League two, had me just short of my ground. A collapse loomed as we were 27-3.
Grant joined Nick and the two of them set about keeping out the good balls and attacking the loose ones. After a handy partnership of 33 Noodle fell to what I?m told was an ambitious sweep shot. His 26 probably made up for his dropped catch in the field. Rich joined Student at the crease and at drinks we were 68 for 4 and the game looked like a very even contest.
Rich went LBW shortly after drinks with Matt coming to the middle. Student hit a towering six over mid wicket before being unluckily caught off his boot at slip. Bolshaw was looking confident and when he and Duray were knocking the ball around we looked a bit more in charge. In trying to see off their opener, Duray was receiving a fair bit of stick for leaving the ball by the keeper and slips. Always confident, Duray replied ?don?t worry lads I know where my off stump is?. Which naturally meant he left one and was bowled off the last ball of the opener?s spell as it seamed back and scrapped the off bail.
With things getting tight, Lilford came to join his opening bowling partner Bolshaw at the crease. With their bowlers running out, a sense of panic started to set into the field as the lads pegged a few boundaries. Lilford hit a huge six straight down the ground which was best summed up by Beez on the boundary – ?bitches and hoes?. As we looked to take charge Matt got a ball that stuck in the pitch a bit and he was brilliantly caught and bowled one handed. The ?England International? deciding to give him a send off from long on, which was slightly unwarranted from a player who?d barely done anything all day.
Lilford chopped on and all of a sudden we were 138 for 9 and it looked a long way off. A couple of lusty blows from Beez, including a monster six which cleared the outer fence (presumably while muttering ?bitches and hoes? under his breath) and we were within ten. Unfortunately, though, their last decent bowler snuck through Ajit?s defence and we were left 10 runs short. Unlucky AJ ? the top order left you lads down the bottom a bit too much work to do.
A close game of cricket, as it always is with Commonwealth. They?re a good bunch of lads to play and it was mostly played in the right spirit. We should certainly feel confident for the reverse fixture though as but for a few key moments (jammy run outs included!) we should have had the beating of them. A much improved fielding effort on last week?s league performance. Some good middle order batting from them and a lack of top order contribution from us was probably the difference. Let?s make sure we get a win in the next league fixture to kick start the season lads!
Chris ?never a single there? Ovens.