On an inclement day in Dulwich a PCC eleven played Hobgoblin Nomads CC in a Saturday friendly, captained by M. Ridgway.
Matt has returned to playing this year from a self-imposed exile as he entered the next stage of his life of marriage and fatherhood and it was great to see him play his first game for the Plough several weeks ago at Old Actonians.
I found it very amusing to overhear Matt introduce himself to the current members of the Plough with the stock phrase of “Hi, I’m Matt, Do you know who I am?” A bewildered ploughman quickly replied that they had in fact heard of him and mentioned they knew his younger brother Nick. This brought a warm smile from Matt and it reassured him that he was surrounded by new Ploughmen who shared his love of the game and Ploughmans CC.
If anyone is in any doubt of the contribution that Matt has had on the club he has so far recorded 295 matches, 101 catches, 461 wickets, has scored 4244 runs, with a highest score 123 and he holds the position of Club Vice President. Matt captained the Saturday League side for several seasons along with his brother Nick, Steve Britto and Tom Lonnen, so when you are all playing in the years ahead it will be good to recall the efforts that Matt and the others mentioned have put into making Ploughmans the fun, social and competitive cricket club it has developed into.
I arrived at the ground with my companion Ash to be met by Matt who had been at the ground since 11:45, as captain setting the standard for time keeping. Matt had inspected the pitch and re-arranged the long off and long on boundary ropes to increase the size of the outfield. Once changed we were summoned ( or commanded ) to gather in a circle where Matt gave his Cavalry officer orders for the day, as we were fielding and he ordered us to Win! As the beer always tastes better!
We opened the attack with Ash, puffing away from one end and Chris Silvapulle at the other. Both were immediately on the money, Puff bowled a lovely line and length against both openers and he quickly settled into his away swing. Matt – for some reason only known to himself – loves suggesting to Puff that he needs to bowl in-swingers to increase his armoury. Puff just ignores him and carries on. If it’s not broke why fix it!
The first wicket to fall was taken by Puff, LBW and then Silvapulle who with a new moustache looks like Merv Hughes bowled a beautiful in-swinger to remove the other opener’s middle stump and continued to deliver some beautiful deliveries both away and in.
In truth we were a bit too strong for the oppo, whose batting wilted under some strange early innings shot selection and very good bowling. Silvapulle bowled straight through and finished with figures of 4-14 off 8 overs. He was so unfortunate to not claim a 5fr when a hard chance was put down at point.
Tom Parish came on to bowl his lovely leg spin. He bowled the second best ball of the day to clean bowl their 4th Batsman around his legs middle stump for 29, the ball pitched outside leg stump, the batsmen missed his sweep shot and the ball spun to take his middle stump out. The best delivery being reserved for Silvapulle who had earlier removed their opener with a ball that nipped back off the seam from off to middle with the batsman playing down the line he thought the ball was going to travel.
Tom finished with 2-13 off 6. It’s been a very good season for Tom.
Mark Wildig replaced Ash and settled into a competitive line and length, such was his accuracy it enabled me to have the confidence to stand up to him which put extra pressure on their batsman. Mark finished with 1-15 from 6 overs.
Matt brought himself on for three overs towards the end. He bowled with accuracy and movement and was unlucky on a few occasions with their lower order batsmen edging deliveries destined to hit, away from the stumps at the last moment. Finally the last wicket fell with the No 10 batsman edging a delivery off middle stump at the last moment which flew between me and first slip. Thankfully I was able to catch it one handed as it flew past me, much to my delight!
With the Innings of Hobgoblin closing on 77 for 9.
Matt had a chat with the oppo about wanting to get the game done quickly as it was a Saturday night (after all) and the Ploughmans innings began.
Openers Rich Buckley and Bharat Ramesh strode to the wicket with purpose. Richard had a confident stride, his Desmond Haynes coloured Helmet flourishing in the sunlight as it dappled through the South London clouds. I have not seen Bharat play before and I was delighted to see his contribution with the bat with a lovely innings of 18. Bharat played some great drives through long off as well as off his legs. Richard played well to with a lovely flick off a rising ball on his hips for a single and then a beautiful shot for 4 taken off middle stump which flew to the boundary, applauded by Matt’s father who was wearing a lovely matching pair of blue socks and trousers and sported a flat cap. If anyone needed to know he was from Yorkshire! Oh and he has just had his first novel published!
Richards’s inning was a cameo and soon Chris Ovens joined Bharat. Together they established a winning partnership of 70. Chris played very well and bats eloquently, his long stride enabling him to play some glorious drives on both sides of the wicket, Chris played the shot of the day with a lovely drive through the covers. In truth both batters could have batted all day, Chris finished with 52 not out and Bharat 18 Not out.
A good game, Hobgoblin’s middle order got themselves out, some great catching by Nick Ridgway in the covers and good enthusiastic fielding by everyone. The game was played in the right spirit and Bharat will always remember to get down and put his knee behind the ball when fielding! As he demonstrated so well after a misfield and instruction by Matt.
Good to be playing cricket. Plough On!