Chiddingstone is a small village in Kent perched atop a hill with a castle that attracts tourists from the glass and steel of the city. The ground, at the top of that hill looks over rolling Kent countryside to the south. If you’ve played at Chiddingstone before you’ll know there is a wind that gathers across those hills and sweeps up across the pitch. I’m sure on a summer’s day it’s a refreshing delight, but on a cold April day, it requires several sweaters and thermals. Ask Olli for more details if you’re unsure what to wear and fashion is more important to you.
Winning the toss and batting first, Plough opened with stalwart Paddy and newbie Greg; defrosting as they strolled to the middle.
Military medium awaited them. That accurate, swinging, seaming wily old bowlers that know their pitch their ground and how to stop you scoring on it. Obdurate gritty determination from our guys laid the foundations for other’s success and although the score was only 21, that belied the sting each had absorbed from a tricky pitch in the first 10 overs of some solid bowling. A further 10 runs were added before the partnership of Leon and Suri commenced in the 13th over.
Between the 13th and the 18th over, as the openers from Chiddingstone’s bowled straight through, the score nearly doubled to 57 as Leon and Suri capitalised on the Plough openers’ good work and some tiring bowling.
Across the next 14 overs Captain Leon and Smasher Suri, with fast hands behind the ball pumping 4s and tickling 1s, took Plough to 177 in a partnership that deserves much credit for its temperament and sensitivity to a tricky wicket.
Suri’s batsmanship was destructive, carving the ball for square cuts against the long and short boundary and lofting the occasional full pitched ball. In the 80s Suri chopped on to his stumps off Denny only to find solace in the long-suffering Steven Finn who gave the cricket world a no-ball for breaking the stumps in his delivery stride. Reprieved, Suri saw no time to waste as he went to 100 across the next few balls and raised his bat, credited his newborn and did the honourable thing by kicking a straight one into touch to give some others a bat.
His thoroughly professional batting display was celebrated by a maniac in a stunt plane providing thrills of a different kind with negative g rolls and smoke in the background.
A flurry of wickets followed as batsmen failed to defrost at the crease and some excellent ground fielding from Chiddingstone. Some tail-end hitting, including ‘shot of the day’ came from Olli in his t-shirt vest, stepping down the wicket, head over the ball, to time beautifully to the square leg fence all across the ground. Plough posted an imposing 243.
The Plough bowlers set about their task intelligently hitting lines and lengths offering blistering medium pace to great effect. Picking up regular scalps to leave Chiddingstone staring down the barrel at 44-4.
The main threat of the top order extracted, Plough unleashed Niraj, dropping grenades on a length and teasing batsmen who should know better at their home ground – now bamboozled into false shots. His three wickets the pick of the bowling.
A quick mention too for Greg Willis picking up his first plough wicket, bowled through the gate, helping curtail the threat of unnecessary outfield refrigeration in a game already won.
Chiddingstone mustering 128 all out in reply off 27 Overs.