On a stinking hot, sunday afternoon, 11 Ploughman trudged to Northfields to play a 40 over a side game on a beautiful square wicket. Suri, a first time skipper for the Plough elected to bat first, sending in Paul Hynes and Tom Lane to do the job. Being swash-buckling strokemakers, the rest of the team were certain we were in for a treat, but alas it was not to be. First, Mr Lane tried to turn a straight ball on his legs to the on-side, allowing the the ball to castle into his stump. Dave Neilson Scott or Scott Davidson Neil as he was called a few times throughout the day, smoked three lovely balls all over the park, and we were sure we were in for a Duray-esque innings before he anti-climatically lobbed the ball back to the bowler.
This was followed by Bharat and Suri doing their best not to trouble Shagger, who was scoring at the time. Our final hope, Hynsey was also bowled trying to hit it off the square and soon to follow was ‘new friend of the Plough’, Munish who fell shortly after.
After 13 overs, the Ploughmen were 36 for 6.
The Plough were desperately in need of a lower order renaissance and this came in the form of Trent ‘T-Rex’, and Niraj Tailor. Together, they formed a lovely partnership of 41 runs with Niraj using a new ‘front-foot cut’ to great effect before he too was bowled trying to press the run-rate. Next in was Lonnen, who entered at a score of 74-7 and showed the top order how it was done. Between Trent and Tom, they put on a partnership of 61 runs and both looked very comfortable at the crease. It would take a mad run, trying to push the run rate that would eventually break their resistance as Trent was run out. In strolled Damon, whose job was to keep Lonnen company as we entered the final overs and did a fine job. With Lonnen being bowled on the last ball of the innings for 44, the Plough put up a somewhat respectable total of 142.
This was not a par score of what was truthfully a very good batting wicket, but from where we were, this was a fantastic effort. Testament to the boys for hanging in there and putting up a total our bowlers could reasonably defend.
Our opening bowlers were Damon and Tom Lonnen and they did a splendid job. Lonnen was a picture perfect example of line and length and didn’t let the batsmen get him away. Damon, clearly taking inspiration from his compatriots at Edgbaston, bowled superbly. He found the areas of the pitch with variable bounce and hit them consistently leading to false shots and two great catches held cleanly by Suri and another pouched by Dave. Neither bowler let the batsmen get on top and by the 10th over, with the score at 28-3, there was a great sense of belief amongst the team that we could grab victory from the jaws of defeat.
Dave and Trent followed, with Trent bowling in great areas with little reward but with a great economy rate. Dave on the other hand was bowling bolts of lightning, with their no5 batsmen, retiring hurt after copping a blow to the ear from a ferocious and well targeted bouncer. In classic Plough spirit, the team rallied around the batsmen to ensure he was ok and play continued. Unfortunately, some of these lightning bolts were not as well targeted with the ball flying past Suri’s outstretched gloves and giving Trent a bit of a run around at fine leg.
Tom Lane bowled next, righting the wrongs of his bowling, and took a lovely caught and bowled off his very first delivery. Proving once and for all, that bowling is indeed very easy, and also that he CAN catch (especially if it’s off his own bowling!). Niraj Tailor with his beautiful deception in flight kept the score tight and Hopper finished off with some great and well targeted bowling.
Unfortunately, we simply didn’t have the runs on the board and credit to their opening batsman Raj who delivered the victory for Northfields with a dash of red ink.
Overall, it was a lovely game with great opposition and the Plough commiserated their loss with some cold pints of amber at the local pub afterwards with a surprise appearance from wicket taking extraordinaire Ashish Paul. Though the win was not ours, the sun was shining and it couldn’t have been a greater example of a #HotPloughSummer.
Bharat ‘Red Riding Hood’ Ramesh