Ploughmans Cricket Club flew a sortie to RNAS Addington 1743 CC on Sunday 19th September. The main target was their phenomenally heaving pitch, which often achieves Sea State 10 according to the World Meteorological Organisation. Without exaggerating, the pitch at this club genuinely banks a good 20 degrees.
Our fearless Naval Aviators won the toss and elected to bat with Adeel “Cougar” Riaz and Tom “Hollywood” Lane launching from the deck to fly the first combat air patrol mission for the day. The Addington bowlers however were far too accustomed to their home conditions, starting the ball in line with point and then using the natural bank of the pitch to curve the ball back into the stumps. Chris Hoy would have been proud of the way these guys rode the bank. Poor Hollywood was locked-up by one of the Addington bogeys on the third ball and took an Exocet missile to the stumps – Splash 1.
Pauly “Maverick” Hynes was on Alert 5 and scrambled to join Cougar at the centre, who was clearly ruffled by the dogfight taking place:
Maverick: Any of you boys seen an aircraft carrier around here?
Merlin (Cougar’s RIO): Mav, we got a little problem up here. That MiG really screwed him up. I don’t think he can make it back.
Maverick: You’re okay, Cougar. Just stay on my wing, I’ll take you all the way in. Just stay with me.
Umpire: Cougar, you’re well below glide path, three-quarters of a mile. Call the ball.
Merlin: We’re too low, Cougar. We’re too low, Cougar. Increase power. Some more power! Higher! Higher! Higher, damn it!
Cougar re-gained his nerve and got back to the fight with Maverick. It was an ok partnership before Maverick forgot the cardinal rule – you never leave your wingman – and was dismissed after making a start.
The squadron re-grouped a bit with Leon “Jester” Parks displaying some graceful manoeuvres for 19, but the batting award for the day went to Stephen “Ice Man” Britto. Transcript from the sidelines as follows:
Cougar: I’m just wondering. . . . . .who’s the best.
Viper: In case some of you wonder who the best is, they’re up here on this plaque on the wall. The best driver and his RIO from each class has his name on it. And they have the option to come back here to be Top Gun instructors. You think your name’s gonna be on that plaque?
Cougar: Yes, sir.
Viper: That’s pretty arrogant, considering the company you’re in.
Cougar: Yes, sir.
Viper: I like that in a pilot. Just remember, when it’s over out there, we’re all on the same team. Gentlemen, this school is about combat. There are no points for second place. Dismissed.
Ice Man: The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies’ room.
With that zinger, Ice Man took all the points and top-scored on 44, graduating top of the class for PCC with a reasonably respectable total of 155.
Unfortunately for PCC, there were indeed no points for second place in this Sunday friendly. Matt “Grass” Hopper and Chris “The Rat” Roden-Smith opened the bowling and tried bowling down the right channels at RNAS Addington. Unfortunately the banking pitch provided too much, with the opening batsmen clearly having his sea legs and able to ride the velodrome to find the right channels and amassing an impressive 85. Notable mention goes to Justin “Pays In” Cash who rolled his arm over to take two helpful wickets, but it wasn’t enough as Addington hunted down our total like a heat-seeking missile with 5 wickets to spare.