Saturday started with the Plough dropping to ten men early doors with AJ pulling out due to illness. A few messages later though and we were back up to a full complement with Matt Spencer finishing his mid Lions Game pint and agreeing to fill in at the last minute.
On to the game and as always seems the case on a hot day, we ended up losing the toss and fielding. In what now seems to be the norm for the Plough, we started with 7 men for the second week in a row, as three battled with traffic and Harry battled with just getting himself out of bed. This week was different though as instead of going at 10 an over for no wickets, when the skipper and merry men (still minus Harry) turned up and declared the end of the batting powerplay, we had them at 7 for 3 and were in with a real chance of making a game of it. We continued to bowl well throughout the innings, despite their captain?s best efforts to make the most of the short boundaries. He ended on 86 with 4×4?s and 10×6 with only 10 runs not being boundaries! This score would have been a lot bigger though, had it not been for the excellent bowling in the middle overs, especially Ed Beesley (including the now regular punch of the floor) and RooRoo who both deserved wickets from their 9 and 5 overs respectively. Harry eventually joined us about 15 overs in.
Once their skipper was removed by new boy Matt Spencer and a sharp catch from Tisato, we continued to bowl well at the end with Bala, Ed ?I?ll keep first and then bowl? Woolcock and myself continuing to take wickets. Harry, refreshed from his long lie in and lack of time in the field also bowled well and was unlucky not to get a wicket himself. Ed Beesley backed up his fine bowling with a sharp direct hit from the covers late on, with Croydon finishing on 268-9 off their 45 overs. I ended up with four, with Ed, Bala, Duray and Matt Spencer sharing the others.
Again tea was consumed, what appeared to be sausages left over from a bbq the night before seemed a nice addition to this week?s teas and something I hope we will continue to see in future! All the other usual items were there, a solid tea. 8/10.
With a target of 269 to win and the sun still beating down, skipper Duray gathered the troops and sent out the openers with the hope of finally stopping the rot in the league for the Plough. With the small boundaries we were confident of getting the job done, but knew that there was a lot of batting to be done before we got there, partnerships were the key. Rich Buckley and Ed Woolcock gave us a really solid platform up top. Starting slowly, with only 4 runs scored off the first three overs they soon got ticking playing some cracking shots to leave us on 37-0 at ten overs, an ideal start. The two of them then really pushed on and formed what was an excellent opening stand of 95, with Rich then falling for a brilliant 43 just short of his half century. With Tisato at the crease we now had our first of two all Australian partnerships and a continuation of the great work the openers had done. Pushing the ball round nicely and making the most of the short boundaries when the bad ball came, we soon had our 2nd 50 run partnership of the match. Ed Woolcock then fell for a really well batted 52, to bring Paul Hynes to the crease and continue the heavy Australian presence in our top order. Another 50+ run partnership then followed with some brutal batting that really took any fight left out of Croydon and took us within touching distance of the total. Paul was then given out LBW (the less we say about that one the better!), with Duray deciding that any work he had done to improve his average on tour needed undoing and therefore departed for 0, bowled off his glove whilst trying to leave it. This brought me to the crease to then stand at the other end and watch James Tisato do the honours and chase the runs by himself. In our 40 odd run partnership I scored 5 and James ended on 79 not out, a really top knock from him and a great performance from the whole team.
With our first league win under our belts copious jugs were then consumed. I literally have no idea how many. Harry, in typical Harry ?would probably accept any challenge ever given to him, no matter how ridiculous? Davis fashion decided he would try and down an 8 pinter and failed, but must be commended for his efforts. I also remember ?Grumpy John? throwing a sandwich at someone, can?t remember why though. The DSG have also started doing post-match interviews with the captains. Duray?s first time in front of the camera is up on their Facebook page and well worth a watch if you want to hear his thoughts on how the day panned out! All in all, a really good performance and team effort from the Plough, both during and after the game, and hopefully a real stepping stone for the rest of the season!
Also for anyone still worried about Ed Beesley?s bat, it was in his bag. As you were.