Still licking their wounds following last year’s clubbing from a Ploughman who shall remain unnamed, Plough turned up to Uxbridge on Saturday 18th September aware that their opposition had redemption in mind.
On an absolute road and arguably the best batting track of the year, skipper Lonnen won the toss and bowled. Wilby and Rumford opened up and bowled well against some classy batsmen.
The outfield was lightning so anything that beat the infield flew to the boundary. As a result, the Uxbridge score after 12 overs resembled a kwik cricket score as they scootedto 85 for 0. This was despite our openers not bowling too many loose deliveries.
It was only through the wily spin bowling from best batsman of 2021, D.Pretorius that the Plough were able to grab a breakthrough and arrest the momentum.
A second wicket followed closely thereafter following a good outfield grab from Umar off Duray. And then a third, as Uxbridge’s opener was runout following some great infield fielding from Wilby at point and efficient keeping from Suri. Suri later informed us that that was his boss’s son so we can safely assume Mr Poleboina’s workload increased exponentially on the Monday.
To Uxbridge’s credit, they did not let those three quick wickets detract from their innings progress despite tight bowling from Duray, Lonnen (who was classy with the ball as always) and the gripping spin of N. Tailor as they rotated the singles and put away the odd boundary.
As the innings drew to a conclusion, they increased their run rate and despite a much needed wicket from H Davies, Uxbridge reached a formidable 274 from their 40 overs.
It was then Plough’s turn to have a hit with U. Iqbal and F. Gumpert opening up. After a watchful start from both, Umar was unfortunately caught at gully in a really sharp onehanded juggle grab.
Jullienne came in and ran himself out next ball for a golden duck. The less said about that the better.
It was then left to Fred and Suri to rebuild. Fred looked classy as always whilst Suri played his trademark swashbuckling shots to the boundary. Regrettably, Suri couldn’t keep it going much to the delight of some of the Uxbridge players who gave him a raucous send-off following his dismissal.
Batting extraordinaire Pretorius came in at 5 (despite false rumours circulating of his plea to bat 11 so he could preserve the batting average) and he looked the part playing some cracking drives and slog sweeps. With Fred at the other end, the Plough dreamed of an immense partnership.
However, it was not to be as Fred was dismissed in the most unlucky of circumstances as Doozer drilled a return catch back to the bowler who could only manage to get a finger tip on the ball which then ricocheted onto the non-striker’s stumps with Fred well out of his crease. A most unfortunate and unlucky dismissal especially for a bloke in good form.
It was always going to be an uphill battle from that point and as our skipper was dismissed by Uxbridge’s elegant spinner, the game was against us.
Niraj came in at 7 and looked very comfortable against the spin as he played straight to the balls on the stumps and put his trademark sweep to work on any deliveries not in line. The two were building a nice partnership before Duray was bowled for the Plough’s innings top score of 37. Rumford and Wilby came in at 8 and 9 and did not trouble the scorers.
However, with the game drawing to a premature end, following Niraj’s stumping, the Plough were about to be treated to the highlight of the day.
Enter The Crane. In an unbeaten innings which included 6 exquisite boundaries, The Crane showed his batting prowess and must surely bat up the order next season with his power hitting. He was ably supported by Harry who joined the party with two boundaries of his own in what would become the joint highest partnership for the Plough in the game. Eventually Harry chopped on and the Plough were dismissed for 136.
The 10th wicket partnership was a bright way to finish in what had been a disappointing and tough slog against decent opposition. Not to be deterred though, the Plough enjoyed the company of each other and relished in the highlights of the day and the prospects of future success as we march towards the final weekend of the season and beyond.