Eeek, Eeek, Eeek…that was the sound of the back-up to my back-up alarm. I’m running late so I better let the skipper know, I told myself, as I texted “on my way”. It’s that time of the year again…start of the cricket season…the Sunday sun shone brightly as a group of fine looking lads assembled in the middle of somewhere up North, I mean Wooburn, Buckinghamshire to represent the plough from all corners of London. Jokes aside, what a setting it was! A cricket purist’s wet dream, an inaccurate representation of the English summer (which is usually on the wetter side).
Let’s talk cricket and cut straight to the action. I don’t know who won the toss but we were fielding first. This was the second day in a row a Plough XI played Wooburn and the game started with a pleasant exchange of banter, before myself and Mr Damon Greeney opened the bowling. Fair to say, I was average as my rum-soaked sledges were as awful as my line and length. Damon bowled in the right spots and tied up the batsmen only for me to come and grab the first wicket.
Before I got ahead of myself I was taken out of the off the attack and was replaced with Simon (Ca-caw) Crane who kept the pressure on the batsmen. The skip himself, Matt Spencer came in and bowled some peaches.
Despite our best attempts, the oppo was on top of us at this point – that is until the ledge himself, Mr Nigel Stephenson turned up and had the oppo in all sorts of trouble. His floaters mixed with his slower balls had the oppo reeling as he took wicket after wicket, ending with figures of 3/35 in 7 overs. His efforts were aptly supported by Richard James (who was on debut), Justin Cashwin and Chris Butlin, who himself finished with 2 wickets.
The oppo finished with a flurry of runs as their answer to Nige, a young looking Lance Klusener (we 90s babies loved him) sporting a fine mullet smashed it all over the park. His power hitting distracted some of Wooburn’s finest who were out to walk off their weekend hangovers.
The oppo finished on 231/7 of the 35 overs. This was a big ask, but after enjoying some of Damon’s finest (scones) our confidence was strong. We had our gun batter Chris Butlin opening alongside Max Wright (sporting his lemon sherbet-sponsored lid). Chris fell early for 11 after making a start. Not the end of the world we thought as Max and Ollie Tennant formed a solid 3rd wicket partnership of 40.
Max was at his lemony best but unfortunately we couldn’t capitalise on his good start, falling for 27.
Yanni came in and got bowled by a spectacular inswinger for 2 – okay we might be in trouble we thought. In came, Craney to the rescue, resurrecting the innings with Ollie. He scored a well-batted 27 before getting dismissed to another peacher of a ball who was followed soon after by Ollie, also for 27.
That was it…despite a hard fought 12 from new boy Richard, the lower order was unable to provide much resistance and chase down the mammoth total that was set by Wooburn. We fell short by 105, respectfully batting all our overs and finishing with a score of 126/8. It was a well deserved win for the oppo with old guard Simon Wilkinson doing a lot of damage with the ball on our run rate and wickets.
Despite the result, it was a good day out and the oppo were very hospitable. A few beers followed and we departed Wooburn, spirits intact, new friends made and plenty to work on on Thursdays.
That said, cricket is a game of small margins and inches, the lads played their hearts out and if we capitalised on some of the starts we made the result would have been different. Cricket and Tourism Buckinghamshire was the true winner (alongside Wooburn of course), and we’ll keep ploughing on!
That said, again, we were the real winners as we are all part of the greatest cricket club in the world.
The very Bisi Anusha Rajasooriya