Half cut, usually a term reserved for the feared Ploughmans’ Beer XI, but today this was the first thing that sprang to mind as the Plough’s seconds swaggered into Croydon CC’s second ground to face Croydon’s 4s.
A fascinating ground to say the least, a trim 30 yard circle, encompassed by a knee high meadow, building equipment littering the surroundings and a run so steep lesser mortals would have required ice picks and an oxygen supply to conquer it. Just as well the Plough’s opening bowling attack consisted of demi-gods Lonnen and Bowlshaw.
After winning the toss, and enthused by the prospect of bowling on a field where balls required their own tiny strimmer to reach the boundary, Messers Lonnen and Bowlshaw opened the innings in usual metronomic fashion. I must admit, in my short Plough career I had been unlucky enough not to witness these two fine bowling specimen pick apart an opposition. But, today was my lucky day. Captain Lonnen tore into the crease with vigour and pace and was desperately unlucky to end his opening spell with only one wicket to his name. Much the same can be said for Mr Bolshaw, who had the batsmen tied in knots with a tremendously accurate and nippy first 6 overs, bowling Croydon’s opener for just 2 runs.
After a solid 11 overs and some rather dubious home umpiring decisions the Plough had Croydon 25 for 2. Our resident bend it like Beckham enthusiast Aza was up next replacing Bolshaw and I took up the mantel from skipper Lonnen. Plough continued a strong bowling performance reaching drinks with Croydon 63 for 4. Post drinks a combination of Aza, Baby Kangaroo Anderson (1 wicket), Bolshaw and Lonnen continued to build pressure, while Hanzi prowled the field like a man with two functioning knees, making a sharp run out to leave Croydon 123 for 5 with 7 overs remaining. Towards the back end of Croydon’s innings their number 4 pushed the hosts towards a respectable total, with shall we say, not a chanceless 50, before a brutal 30 from 13 balls from the number 7 saw the home side finish their innings on 178 for 7.
Despite perhaps letting the oppo get a few too many in the last 10, the sun was shining and the outfield appeared less restrictive than first thought. So, after a scrumptious jubilee-themed tea break, our two rather swashbuckling openers in Leon and Animalsy got proceedings under way. Leon fell in the third over to a ball that reared viscously and was quite brilliantly snaffeld at first slip. But this early break through was bad news for Croydon as a beaming Suri strode to the crease. Suri in typical fashion, flashed the ball to all parts, his blade and smile gleaming in the sun, as he was occasionally reminded this was a 40 over game, he did not have to finish it inside 10 overs. His partner in crime, Ainslie, went about his business with a calming nonchalence with the third wicket partnership taking the Plough to 123 for 1.
Suri unfortunately fell 1 short of his 50, making a blistering 49 in 47 balls, before lofting the ball to fly slip while attempting a rather delicate shot for a man of his power.
This triggered a mini collapse in the Plough top/middle order beginning with Ainslie who mistimed a ball high to extra cover and had to head back to the hut for a well made 34. Messer’s Shaffique, Hamilton, Ryves and Anderson departed in quick succession leaving the Plough 153 for 7 losing 6 wickets for just 30 runs. A few nerves were creeping into the Ploughman gazing on but no such feelings could be found in captian Lonnen or Aza, who guided the Plough home with a combination of skillful and destructive hitting, claiming victory of the Plough with 4.2 overs to spare.
An honourable mention must also go to extras who batted quite brilliantly throughout the entire run chase, helping the plough to their deserved victory.
Greg (the tash) Willis x