Following last week’s washout against Preston Capes (where my spies tell me a few of the opposition were seen at the Rugby) my boys were determined that Mother Nature was not going to spoil another weekend of cricket. Like a scene from Forest Gump, the one where Lieutenant Dan sits at the top of the mast and laughs at the almighty, the skipper took all the right precautions to ensure camp Foxfield would be ready, and waited for weather to do its best.
The weather did claim a few victims that day, with the County side who were set to face Sri Lanka being one. However, fortune favours the brave (and in this case prepared) and once the morning’s downpours faded, Skip and Evo took to field to remove the water, aided by a few others a little later on.
With the hard graft done and the pitch not only match ready but looking like the best wicket we have played on thus far, the skipper lost the toss and was asked to bat. Our boys needed to go out and ensure they finished the morning’s hard work with a win.
By now the sun was out in full force and with an Asian party in full swing being held in the Pavillion, there was a real IPL vibe going on! Ben and Lee opened GP’s innings and looked steady and in control, both reaching the 10th, without looking in trouble and putting 40 on the board. 30 more runs were added in the next 10 and neither looked troubled by the bowling.
I was left wondering whether Braunston had a few council workers on their books, given the length of the drinks break. However they made the break work to their advantage, catching Lee on 48 in the 21st over. Justin came and went, falling for 3. Pinny came out next and he and Ben stuck another 17 on the total, before Ben missed a straight one, checking out on 25. 3 wickets down, GP were on 99. The skipper stepped up next, and despite having seen off the rain and shifting more wet stuff than Moses, he was quickly sent packing having picked up the 2nd team duck of the season so far. The returning McKay stepped up next, however it was Pinny who was next to fall after sticking one in the air and finishing on a quick 30 and 2nd top score of the day. McKay ticked off 5, before getting triggered LBW and leaving GP on 129 for 6, off 32 overs. Evo and Ryan stepped up next, neither could be dislodged, adding a valuable 40 runs, with Evo finishing on a nice little 23 N.O and Ryan 17 N.O to leave GP on a total 174 (23 of which came from extras).
You could argue that GP were a little under par. However, given the opposition had only managed to score a combined 167 runs in their first five games (2 washed out), GP must have fancied their chances.
And so to, Braunston’s innings, Evo and Shahid opened the bowling, Shahid was first to strike, having dislodged the opener in the 4th, creating a great start for GP – 3 for 1.
Evo countered in the 7th, following a spectacular backwards diving catch by “oh my back” Mr Ben. Well there was no sign of back trouble, as he went flying with all feet in the air backwards. Ben drops very little and old safe hands didn’t disappoint again. Great start for GP, Braunston were 18/2.
A change of bowling in the 12th saw Shahid replaced by Pinny and with his first ball, watched blokey sky one over Tiger, who coolly trotted backwards, allowing it to land safely in his outstretched hands.
47 for 3 and Braunston needed to dig in! Unfortunately that’s what they did and Pinny began to get frustrated, chuntering about “agricultural shots”. To be fair, Braunston rode their luck at times, however they did it well and were dealing in boundaries when they got bat on ball.
With drinks at 20 and Evo having finished his spell and keen to depart (due to prior engagements, I hear he was on a promise), the skipper stepped up and in his first over, bagged the 4th with a straight one, through the gate in the 21st. Braunston were now 99 for 4. With the old chorus of “1 wicket brings two” echoing around the square, Pinny proved the theory right, having finally bowled the “farmer”. Next ball put him on a hat-trick opportunity after he bagged a nice “golden”, when a half chance was superbly taken by Justin, who was not to be out done by Ben, diving backwards, adding a tuck, full twist and a pike, to take gold and get the full 10 points from the judges!
6 for 105, GP were licking their lips and wanted to put the game to bed. The skipper continued to chip away, creating two more catches, which were safely held by Pinny, and a nice straight ball creating the 2nd egg of the day.
9 wickets down and Braunston on 136, everyone believed the game to be over, as how often do you see the tail score 39?
With Pinny’s spell complete, Ricky was tossed the ball. However nerves may have got the better of him in his first league over of the season, as he let slip a few wides and took some clogg, having gone for 14. Braunston smelling blood, suddenly thought they had a sniff. Shahid was brought back into the attack and started steady with a maiden. However the opposition continued to ride lady luck, who must have taken a shine to them, as ball after ball, went in the air, landing in no man’s land.
With less than 10 left to tick off, GP thought they had it in the bag when Ricky had ball in hand and Braunston decided to take a suicidal run. The batsman realised his error halfway down, and started to make his way to the pavilion, what he had not taken into account is the “what happened next” segment from QOS. 9 slaps were heard around the ground, as each player in turn slapped their hand on their foreheads and gave the obligatory “tea pot” or “chin rub”.
Why you might ask? Well the story goes like this (and all names have been changed to protect the guilty), at the point where the fielder (let’s call him Ricki) collected the ball, the batsman calls a run, Ricki then throws the ball into the bowler (let’s call him Shahid) who is stood two strides from the stumps (and with the bat only half way down the strip), has a complete mind-melt and opts to aim and throw at the stumps, resulting in not only missing the stumps and the obvious stumping opportunity, but also giving away another run in the process.
By this point Braunston were eager to start the car and get a few lottery tickets, as it seemed they could do nothing wrong. With a few more balls that passed, they soon found themselves needing a boundary to win.
However it wasn’t to be, as the skip finally got one knocked to square leg, where Tiger was waiting and took his second catch of the day to finish the game off, leaving Braunston just 4 runs shy of the win and having 3.2 overs spare.
4 out of 4 and with a top of the table clash next week, things are hotting up.
Dot’s play of the game, the skippers 5 for 29, plus an honourable mention to Lee’s 48 with the bat.
Dot’s 2nd play, has to go to Justin and Ben for their backwards diving catches.
Dot’s special mention: Rare I do these, however without the effort put in by Ash and Evo, there would have been no game, so well done boys!!