I am 5 foot 2. I also bowled an incredible bouncer at the weekend. That should tell you everything you need to know about what the pitch we played on against Surrey Warriors was like.
The Hollies surface was exploding like it was covered in undiscovered World War II shells. After a solid start from Colonel Buckley, the Warriors started bringing on the spinners. The traps were laid. The casualties could have been endless.
We might have called the UN. Instead, we called on Suri Poleboina and Matthew Hickson. And we’re very glad we did. Suri met fire with fire. The oppo had no answer as he launched his counter offensive, before falling to a spectacular demise in 70s. Hicko was the peacekeeper for a period, patiently scouting the lay of the land. That was until, in the final few overs, he unleashed his blitzkrieg. Sixes rained down. Fours went flying. Hicko went to three figures, ably assisted by fellow soldiers Reez, Connolly, and last-minute recruit Hamilton-Martin holding down the other end while he did his demolition job.
We’d rather he didn’t lose three balls in the process. But the oppo would rather he didn’t hit four sixes in four deliveries to bring up the ton either.
The Plough advanced to a mighty 236 off 40 overs. (Yes, you read that correctly. Despite the impending football match, this was war. Nothing short of 40 overs would suffice).
And so it came to the Plough’s turn to bowl. Connelly brought the pace. Anusha brought the unplayable wobble. Nige was metronomic. Even after clearly wounding himself, he continued to throw himself around in the field with aplomb. If our catching had lived up to such valiant efforts, maybe things would have been over sooner. In the end, Warriors were…well…warriors. Some impressive hitting from the remaining opener took things down to a tense last couple of overs, as if everyone wasn’t nervous enough to watch England play.
While everyone might have been keen to start watching the build-up and getting the beers in, we were treated to an ever better spectacle. The final few balls approached. Having made it well past 50, Warriors’ undefeated talisman realised the team couldn’t make it to the total. It had become mathematically impossible. So he did what all brave soldiers would do: defend the red ink like his life depended on it.
And so it was we marched back to the clubhouse to enjoy the footy with our fellow comrades. In the words of also-injured warrier Niraj Taylor: “Why would you want to be anywhere else?”