As we plough onto the second half of the season without so much as a hint of blue sky thus far, it’s safe to say conditions have been bowler friendly over the last couple of months. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing for the Plough – their evergreen league pace attack have made hay while the sun hasn’t shined, bowling first and skittling teams for sub 120 on the regular, leaving little hassle for their batsmen. However, as we rocked up to the DSG to face Balham and Tooting after a week of scorching heat in temperature pushing 30 degrees… it was time to bat.
Father in waiting James Tisato, as all great leaders do from time to time, decided to break the mould stating “if we were ever going to bat first, today is the day”, and that we did. He must have feared the worst when Iskandar Eaton was dubiously dismissed in the first over for 4. However, Mr In The V, Matt ‘the Viper’ Hickson, fresh off a recent century, played one of his steadier innings, anchoring one end beautifully. Hicko’s rise in form could prove key come the business end of the season, as could that of Ploughmans stalwarts Logan Cassin and Paul Hynes who looked close to their best as they both built partnerships with Hicko before falling on 16 and 30 respectively.
‘Strength in depth’ is not something you might have associated the Plough with 4/5 years ago, however there is no doubt that in modern times this is one of our greatest assets. This was demonstrated no more so than the introduction of Rohin Maini into the league set up. Playing in only his second game for the Plough and making his first ever appearance at the home of cricket, he showed no fear, blasting the Balham bowlers to all parts, accelerating our innings and building on the platform set by Hicko. Hicko was eventually dismissed for a classy 66, meaning it was time for Rohin to really tee off. He made a glorious 69 off 56 balls on league debut, and with cameos of 13 off 11 from Tis and 11 off 7 from Ben Hamilton (whose running between the wickets at the death was exemplary and exhilarating to watch in the blistering heat), the Plough finished on 237/5. Good decision skip.
The sun wasn’t the only thing returning to the DSG that day. For those of you who are part of the club in any way, or are avid listeners of popular cricket/quiche podcast ‘Thanks For Coming’ (available on all podcast streaming services), you will have heard tales of the greatest fast bowling partnership in cricketing history. Well they were back. Matt Bolshaw opened up from the Matt Bolshaw end and Liam Gray took the second over from the Liam Gray end as they rolled back the years, getting the ball to talk even on the dust bowl that was the Hollies that day. Bush bowled through and finished with 4-26, and Grayzer was desperately unlucky not to pick up some wickets as a couple of chances went down to grant him that illusive 100th wicket for the club. It was partnership bowling at its best. Ashish Paul came on and did what Ashish Paul does, bowling 7 overs with 3 maidens for just 14 runs. Tis also kept it tight before throwing the ball to Iskandar to see if he could exploit the conditions and Dan Rumford to polish off the tail, both boys taking their first league wickets finishing with 2 and 1 respectively. The oppo were eventually all out 152 after a farcical run out involving a runner by Liam Gray, where all 3 batsmen were out of their crease as the bails went off. I reckon the Balham boys are still arguing about it now.
Plough win by 85 runs.
Overall a comprehensive win with contributions throughout the team. Valuable lessons learnt for the skipper too. Bowl first? Bat first? The Plough can do it all. This win left the Plough at the top of the tree with 7 games to go. Dig deep lads. We’ve got this.