“Just what is it that you wanna do?”
“We wanna be free, we wanna be free to do what we wanna do. And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna have a good time. We’re gonna have a party!” – Peter Fonda in The Wild Angels (1966), later immortalised by Primal Scream’s ‘Loaded’.
I think it’s fair to say that over the previous 93 matches of Ploughmans CC’s patchy season, there was one constant, overriding theme. The fact that win, lose or draw, we all had a good time. And as the curtains drew on the 2022 season, it was very clear the eleven Ploughmen who took to the field in Eastcote on Sunday were going to make the most of their final opportunity to don the navy, sky and gold and have a good time. Tom Lonnen was Skipper and such was the air of bonhomie he barely raised an eyebrow when two men were well late of the scheduled meet time. Grayzer was full of his usual playfulness, Britto’s chat was incessant, Leo brought his parents along to watch and I swear Nigel even cracked a smile at one point. The omens were very good indeed.
There was a brief halt to the cheeriness when Tom returned from the middle having lost the toss yet again! It’s actually quite remarkable that the only toss he’s “won” all season was the one that he could enforce because the oppo were late to a match. There were a few groans as he let the rest know that we were to take the field first against Wealdstone Corinthians but they quickly dissipated, as even fielding for 35 overs on a grey day in late-September seemed well worth it, when faced with the prospect of sitting on our hands for the next 6 months!
Drew (7-1-27-1) and Liam (5-0-23-2) took the new ball and were both on the money straight away. Drew caused the left-hander particular problems with good gas and more than enough movement. The pair combined too, to remove the opening pair, with Drew taking two excellent catches on the shortish boundary off The Earl’s bowling. ‘Peacock’ took a third catch later on, bagging a wicket for Spence (5-0-32-1) in the process. In total we used seven bowlers as the Skipper tried to get everyone a game, but wickets weren’t that easy to come by. Harry Davies, bowling some decent seam up stuff, Nigel and Lonnen all had a go but failed to take a wicket, despite their best efforts. No matter, though, as we never let the oppo get away from us. The ground fielding and catching were excellent throughout. Matt Spencer judged a very high ball superbly to grab a wicket for TGJ and ‘Nikki Slider’ was exemplary throughout, as the ball seemed to follow him all day. He also made a potentially tricky catch look very simple at cover point to give Tom (6-0-27-2) a much-deserved second wicket. Innings closed at a very chaseable 184/6.
Special mention at this point to Iskandar who kept wicket on the day. Something he did with aplomb, only conceding 11 byes. A stat that almost certainly puts him in with a shout of becoming one of the Top 5 wicket-keepers at the Club.
The best way to describe our reply with the bat is measured and controlled. Where the opposition had looked to attack with every opportunity and, by and large, got themselves out in the process, PCC batters’ opted to play the conditions and the accurate, if largely unthreatening bowling, with a modicum of respect and deliberation. Lonnen and Eaton opened up and put on 53 before Iskandar (33) who’d hit six 4’s chopped one on to his stumps. Leo joined Tom in the middle, and perhaps placated by his Skipper’s slightly subdued innings at the other end, reined in his natural attacking tendencies, and proceeded to build a match-winning partnership of 107 with Lonnen. Bad balls were put away, good balls kept out and wherever possible singles, twos and threes scampered. In truth, the pair were always in control of the run rate and only started to open up once they were both well set, and the target was down to around 50 required. Tom (67) was eventually removed by a decent nut having hit five 4’s and three 6’s and that brought Niraj Tailor to the crease. It’s been a mixed bag for Niraj this season but every single one of his team mates on the day were willing him on for a red inker and to hit the winning runs. The man duly obliged with a lovely little cameo of 15* (two 4’s), and Leo (59*) remained unbeaten at the other end having hit five 4’s and two monster 6’s. Total chased down comfortably with 3 overs to spare, making it an 8 wicket win to cap off the season. Mission accomplished!
Credit goes to the oppo who were a very friendly bunch who played the game the right way and in keeping with the day as a whole. Thanks to Club Captain, Si Carson and regular boundary-rider, Amy Morley, who came down to support, too. The good spirit of the day was very much in evidence as all Ploughpeople in attendance popped down to one of The Chairman’s old locals for a couple of post-match refreshments. A thoroughly enjoyable day all round and nice memories to take with us into the long Winter.
I, for one, can’t live without this club… Roll on the AGM! Roll on the Annual Awards Dinner!