Despite all the fanfare around the World Cup, there was only one fixture of importance on Saturday 16 June – as Ploughmans CC looked to maintain an unbeaten start to their league campaign. Last season’s whipping boys Spencer CC had been much improved this season with a couple of wins already and we arrived to a much improved pitch as well. Last season’s astro turf was presumably decommissioned after Nicko Dowell plundered 200, the new grass strip looked an absolute road.
Freddie lost the toss and we were put in to bat. News that Puff was on the wrong side of the Atlantic meant we saddled up with 10. Britto and I set out to face the openers, a wide eyed Matt Bolshaw strapped on the pads to ponder life as a number 3. The first opening bowler got the scoreboard ticking with a few legside wides. The lad at the other end was much tighter, hitting a good length on a pitch that was actually getting some decent bounce. After a couple of drives I decided to hang my bat out to a wide and edged a return catch to the bowler. Bolsh came to the crease but it was a short lived stay for the Jaques Kallis of Ploughmans, he also fell to the ‘less gifted’ of the opening bowlers.
Barraz came to join Britto at the crease. Both navigated some tricky bowling before Barraz defended a ball from the spinner, which somehow managed to roll back onto his stumps – unlucky mate, it’s a cruel game being a batsmen. Freddie joined Britto at the crease and the change bowlers started to take some tap. A couple of drives on the up from Freddie and a Britto six over cover making the scoreboard tick. Britto brought up his 50 after drinks (the man is in the runs at the moment), before getting under a full one – cover took a great catch running back. Freddie was joined by Dan Thomas at the crease. What followed can only be described as some absolute punishment of the bowlers. Freddie and Dan took a shine to a young spinner, who’s figures of 0/66 of 5 overs were only outdone by the bowler at the other end, with 0/42 off 3. Freddie eventually fell for 80 as he punched a drive to long off. Dan was joined by Andy who kept the strike rotating while DT opened up. A six over square leg which cleared the trees was an absolute monster! Their change bowler came back to bowl spin, which was certainly better than the self-proclaimed ‘chin music’ he threw down earlier. A few LBWs meant new number 10 Spence was promised a jug if he stayed with DT for his 100. Unfortunately, the big man edged one from the spinner – the old boy at slip somehow catching the ball in the groin region. The man from Ashburton finishing with 84 off 38 balls, 76 runs coming in boundaries. Spence picking up a handy 1* for the averages.
Tea was a solid 8/10 – highlights including a sausage and potato salad and a pasta bake, points taken off for the outdoor setting on what was a mild day. Tyrion Lannister’s offers of Coronas for the boys were turned down – we had 10 wickets to take.
Captain, leader, legend Si Carson arrived an over into the second innings to give us the full complement in the field. The man is an absolute legend of the club, top work Scoops! Bolsh opened up and quickly had their opener bowled with a beauty. In came their number 3 who had played U-19s for the USA. A visa complication meant he was playing down in Div 2 – and he was fairly useful. He launched Bolsh for a couple of 6s to the short straight boundary. A couple of nice drives later and the scoreboard was ticking along well for Spencer – much to the delight of the bearded old boy who’d used his crotch for catching. Spence had their other opener LBW, before he was taken off for two beamers – a selfless move in a team heavy in the bowling department. Bolsh and Ross continued before DT and Andy came on. Their number 5 looked very uncomfortable against some short stuff from Dan. Their number 3 was tied down by some good bowling at both ends, struggling to find the boundary before getting some wood (maybe) on one down the legside – Freddie taking a good catch behind the stumps. Some big hitting from their number 7 saw Spencer take it closer, before he holed out to long on. Bolsh wrapped up the tail to finish with 5/61, AJ also taking 2 wickets with a tidy spell of 8 overs 2/39.
A much improved effort from the Spencer boys, but the runs on the board were too much. A big point that we should always bat our overs. Leaving 8 overs in the tank could’ve come back to bite us, let’s always bat the full 45! A post match beer at the Wandle turned into a hell of a night for a few of the fellas. Rumour has it a shirtless Ross Lonsdale was seen roaming the streets of Earlsfield at 2am, demanding why he didn’t get a second spell.
4 wins from 4 in the league, we go again next week – up the Plough!