League: Ploughmans CC v Spencer Sharks – Saturday 9th July 2022

Match report

Baby Sharks chew through Plough Hearts in Hot Dry Crumble on the Hollies

On Saturday the 9th July, Ploughmans CC 1st XI faced up against Spencer Sharks in a home fixture. Off the back of two defeats, but with some returning regulars in the line up, spirits were high as the players gathered under the shady oaks that loom imposingly over the Shed End of the Hollies. This was, after all, the next installment of our season long chase for Champions League cricket.

Play started on time, because Jake is really fast on his tractor and painted the lines on our strip for the day at 12:58pm, with skipper Liam Gray winning the toss and electing to bat. Another rollercoaster was about to unfold…

As far as starts go, this one was a bit ridiculous… the first over was a 14 baller, the third similarly epic, and after 45 minutes of play, the Plough opening pair had notched up their 50 partnership – 53-0 from 3 overs to be precise, with 30ish coming from wides.

However, things changed rather dramatically against us when Spencer released their secret weapon: a speed-dealer wearing fingerspinner called Milan who just before the start of play had been begging to be added to the official Play Cricket match centre… ‘I am on playcricket, pleaaaaaase’… If we had checked, we’d have seen he already had the best figures in the league this season and probably should have been more wary that he was fizzing to add to his tally of victims for the year. He’s probably posted the link to his profile on Instagram this week, but who could blame him…

Quite simply, he got the ball absolutely ragging and we didn’t have many answers. Leading edge for Cake, straight up in the air from Suri, schnicked off too close to cut for Butters, and a Gatting ball for Canelo… from 53-0 to 88-5 at drinks. Credit to Logo for belting the ball around for a sexy as always 18 (17) and newly promoted middle-order bat Bush, who batted with extreme discipline and refused to yield to Vashi’s spinning charms, holding out 37 balls for his 12.

Sadly, it was pretty relentless stuff. Big Joey Anderson top scored thanks to two sensational straight sixes for a run-a-ball 19, but we only managed survive 26.3 overs and mustered 121. The real top scorer was Mr W. Ides with 41, but we don’t need to talk about that. Spinner ended up with figures of 9-3-18-6, well bowled geez.

And, on a sweltering Saturday, in the mid-afternoon sun, could we skulk off for tea and regather ourselves? Nope. Ignominy layered on thick, we were asked to head straight back out to field for another 15 overs before tea.

Credit to the lads, we dug deep at this point and collectively decided to make a real game of it. The pitch was tough to bat on, we had 10 gun bowlers AND Matt Bolshaw, and scoreboard pressure could do funny things against a team who had been skittled by the Plough for less than 100 multiple times in recent memory. It wasn’t going to be easy out there.

Get the ball in big Dizzy Drew Withers’ hand and anything is possible. Give it Bolshaw and make the batsmen question every move they make. Our opener bowlers certainly got the new ball talking from both ends, plays and misses every over, and no run scoring shots of conviction at all. Bush bowled exceptionally well, picking up 2 early wickets and could have had more, if not for some tough chances put down in the cordon. A good example of our dedication to making a proper game of it, the Spencer number 3 scoring only 3 runs from 22 balls before again, Bolshaw picking up his 3rd scalp.

Getting cakes and sandwiches onboard, finally, the game was Spencer’s to lose, for sure. But that did not deter the Plough spirit. Fighting all the way until the end, Joey, Puff and finally CR-SSS came into the attack and tried their best to build pressure whilst picking up wickets. Getting them from 106-3 to 117-7 was, in a losing cause, still a truly memorable period out there in a Plough baggy, and seeing us all chomping at the oppo, screaming ‘someone’s gotta do it’ and so on made a bad result into a good day.

Ultimately, never enough runs on the board, an up and down day, but as we sat afterwards watching the 2s win, there was a glimmer of optimism and light in our eyes, as we look forward to next weekend.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Leo Connolly

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