It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a father accompanied by his little girl must be in want of a decent knock.
It is also a truth universally acknowledged that I want doesn?t get.
Clear blue skies, air temperature in the low 20s and, I believe, a good batting track. Skipper Buckley lost the toss, and into the field went the Plough. The opening exchanges proved to be a good fight with some solid defence with the willow and some savvy bowling with Lonnen steaming in from the clubhouse end and Bolshaw sharpening up with every delivery.
Bolshaw struck first and against some ominously strong batting, Stephenson ? having replaced a jetlagged Lonnen ? in similar fashion took another and lo and behold the openers were gone. Wickets 3 and 4 quickly followed and, with Bolshaw on a hat-trick, the field closed in. It was not to be. But mighty close. With Bolshaw again winning, the Plough looked strong at 60-5 but our wine-loving friends had their day and, to be fair, no real weak batting link (it takes one to know one) as they piled on the runs with some neat on-side play and some deep driving. The Plough played for each other and didn?t let heads drop ? indeed, Stephenson, having taking a couple of wickets, snaffled a couple of super catches followed by typical self-deprecatory mumblings and Chau showed safe hands throughout. But though Rees and Hamer took a wicket apiece and Prasad delivered a disciplined 8 overs, the sting in Carpe Vinum?s tail really hurt and took the target from sensible to a challenge. Hats off to Jennings, who was largely responsible for that sting.
Tea was immense, as was my mid-40s-induced heartburn. Oh, but I do like a white bread sandwich?.
Chasing 220, The Plough picked up the willow. Parks and Hamer picking the bad balls from some pretty decent opening bowling and Hamer, in particular, looked very comfortable and flashing some delightful boundaries. Parks, deciding late to (try to) leave, nicked it and that was the disappointing end to a good healthy start. But Hamer pushed on with aplomb and Ovens looked strong and in control. At this point, The Plough, were ahead on run rate and though a decent target had been set, the game was there to be won.
Carpe?s first change (Crabb) at the clubhouse end had taken Parks and in then taking Hamer (a couple short of what would have been a well-deserved 50) the initiative was handed back to Los Cabelleros del Vino with The Plough was crying out for a middle order rebuild. It was not to be. Yours truly was cheaply removed and Ovens (still looking strong) and Buckley both gave up their wickets when I know they themselves expected more. The Plough was on the run. But the tail (in name only) held firm and Prasad (that?s one ?S?, right Tom?) dug in while our very own Howitzer Lonnen blasted the best they had to offer here, there and everywhere.
When my wife asked, Nyria replied ?Mapi [yours truly], wasn?t very good?. And that was the rub: if myself and Buckley had done what we?re (not) paid to do, and Ovens had hit his own very high standards then the game would have been set for a majestically angry dad to have a real crack at chasing down the target. As it was, only Chau delivered in the middle and credit goes to him for standing tall.
The middle order failed, the best team won, and (remarkably) my daughter loved her day and can?t wait to come again. Strange kid.
Cheers fellas and my apologies, Ben