There a few things more typical than waking up on a Saturday in May to find a bunch of blokes debating the weather forecast on a cricket chat.
The second outing of the part-time Ploughman’s CC Saturday 2nd XI was still on though and a motley crew of Plough old and new huddled under a gazebo outside the DSG – a mere 48 hours before Boris would allow us the comforts of shelter and food inside the clubhouse.
A 45-minute delay and a 35 over game was decided. I (Oven) won the toss and put Blackheath into bat. A joint commitment to scrape out a cricket game was the order of the day.
Olli and Dan Rumford opened the bowling on a wet pitch, immediately both hitting a good line and length. Olli in particular was beating the bat regularly. Dan took the first scalp as Paddy took his first of three catches in a decent day behind the stumps in tough conditions. Olli finally got his reward for a good spell, removing the other opener and their number four soon after.
Their young number 3 was looking good – a slow outfield stopping him from really getting going. Issy at gully remarked that he must be good as he had a Newbery – a barometer he used to judge his own quality as a youth. It was going to need some class to remove him and with Greg hitting great lines, the young lad was removed by an absolute stunner of a catch from Issy. One of the best I’ve seen for the Plough.
New Plough Simon Crane took his first wicket after a tidy spell of left-arm seam to take us to drinks. Olli came back on to try and claim the last few wickets but was desperately unlucky, the number 6 bat, in particular, sent edges flying through the cordon but none stuck. Another downpour meant the end of the innings got away from us a bit. Bharat dismissed their number 8 with a great nut and after a somewhat generous self-promotion up the bowling order I finally dismissed their number 6 for Blackheath to finish 147-7 off their 35 overs.
Our batting innings got off to a great start with myself and Issy opening up. The pitch was getting tough to bat on as we played through the showers. Issy showing his acting career certainly shouldn’t take him to Dancing on Ice with a few slips in between the wickets. When he departed after a well made 22 we were 61-1 and looking in control.
Shoutout to Greg Willis (not Bob) for a phenomenal effort as sub fielder. Geeing up the boys with cries of ‘up the heath’ and dropping his own skipper to try edge up the batting order. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to think Hector would provide him with the same advancement opportunities as he was caught to depart for 5.
Alex ‘Cake’ Julienne came to join me and hit every ball out of the middle until he was bowled trying to repeat a shot over the top. 106-3 but we still had plenty of overs.
The spinner who came on was very tough to get away and after getting tied down for a couple of overs I departed for 61. 106-4 and the wheels were wobbling.
What followed was some of Blackheath’s best spell of the day. Buoyed by the loss of a few quick wickets they plugged the gaps in the offside with the spinner bowling accurately to finish with 7-3-2-10. Bharat and Chris Butlin fell for single fingers and Paddy and Olli came together to try and steer us home. Some good bowling and tight fielding dried up the runs and a direct hit spelt the end of Olli.
Greg did his best to get us over the line at the end but we fell 6 runs short. Witnessing this all as I sub fielded for the oppo was a tough one! Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on a rainy day as the league XI came to join after their washout.
A good evening followed, proving that cricket is just a small part of why we play for the Plough.
Plough on sweet people.