Having had my jabs (perks of being elderly), I was happy to venture over to Brixworth to see my lovely Fox’s play their first game of the season. I was even happier to see a svelte looking Ian Peterson rock up to umpire, as there was finally someone for me to flirt with 🥰 as I heard Steely was out with a dodgy shoulder!
Early observations were the track itself looked good. However, given my age I couldn’t see it, as the boundary was that big! Which meant a lot of ground to cover and a good chance of a high scoring game was on the cards. That was assuming the lads could avoid their usual “first game performance issues”!
The skipper won the toss and was quick to put the oppo into bat and asked Oli-Oli-sweet-trolly and Rob, to get them started off.
Oli-Oli got an early break. Having got their opener to sky one to Ryan who waited patiently for it to come back down and took the catch, with a spectacular tumble and dismissing the bat with the first egg of the season.
From there on, there’s not a lot to tell as their bat got themselves in and used the large boundary to their advantage, findings the gaps and playing some lovely shots to boot.
Both Oli and Rob, had good appeals each turned down by the umpires which only added to their frustrations.
A change of bowling in the 13th, saw the skipper replace Oli and bowling a fuller length was doing the trick, as he managed to contain the Oppo to a run an over for his first couple. A big LBW shout in his 2nd was again rejected by the home umpire, who seemed to take exception to being politely asked what was wrong with it from Mason who was keeping from behind the stumps. Given the away team felt that was the 3rd good shout of the day, I can understand why the question was asked and felt the ump was a little quick to get defensive in his response. However, at the end of the day the umpire can only give what he see’s and all you can ask for, is consistency. Tiger got his reward in his next over, with the bat nicking one to behind and Mason doesn’t miss those and the the bat departing for a good 48. The skipper thought he had his 2nd, with the very next ball popping up and falling just short of JB in cover.
A 2nd change in bowling saw the plastic Ozzie (Ryan) come in to replace Rob, who finished his spell of 8 overs for 42. However, this was a track that was not Ryan friendly. With a deck that took the pace out the ball and anything short sat up nicely and was slapped away to the boundary.
With no further wickets being bagged, Tiger (6 over for 14) soon made way for Jac, to see if the left hander could create any new opportunities. However, neither he or Ryan were able to add to the tally and both the batsman were comfortable to launch any loose ball to all parts. They both finished their spells with Ryan at 6 overs for 44 and Jac 3 overs for 28.
With around 12 overs left, the skipper brought Oli back into the attack and also turned to “old faithful” in JB. Oli was rewarded with another 2 wickets (one bowled and finally a LBW given), which saw him finish on 10 overs for 62 and taking 3 wickets. JB didn’t have such luck but did nearly manage to get their skipper to retire hurt after he swung himself off his feet at one of JB’s deadly paced rockets, such was the pace (sigh). He also tried one of those mankini’s things, as the non-bat was pushing his line – only for the ump to give him a look he probably deserved.
With Oli bowled out, the skipper brought himself to help see out the last 4 overs, but soon wished he hadn’t as those extra 2 overs saw him smacked too all corners for 27 and finishing on 8 overs for 41 for 1 wicket and JB finished on 5 overs for 31.
Leaving Grange Park a total of 255 to chase.
The chase was on and JB and JR got us going. However, my Fox’s quickly stumbled in the 2nd over when JR, who got frustrated at the 3rd or 4th wide of the over. Went chasing and managed to edge one onto his own stumps, departing for 5.
3 balls later, JB found himself trapped in front of his stumps. Well at least that’s how the home umpire judged it, as he didn’t hesitate to raise his finger. JB was adamant he was well outside the line and in his defence, Tim (the new debutant) who was stood at the other end fully agreed. Regardless of their views, it’s the umpires call and he sent JB packing on 1 and leaving GP on 10 for 2.
This brought in John Mason at 4 (new bat and all), to join Tim and both went about rebuilding the innings. John does what John does best and quickly took on any loose balls, sending them to boundary with ease. However, he also sent poor Tim to the boundary and beyond, having just told him not to push the running and keep it simple. Before, pushing for 2, without a call and running poor Tim out for just 2 (welcome to the team Tim).
A change in the order (calmer/experienced) heads were needed at the crease so Rob went upto 5 and this was proved to be a successful change up, as both Rob and John got the good ship GP back on track and into the game. Several overs flew past, with both reaching the boundary comfortably and neither looking to be really threatened. JM even managed to knock 3 6’s, which given the size of the pitch – was an impressive bit of hitting. However, all good things come to an end, with JM finding one sticking in the pitch and then popping up for a bowled and caught. However, an impressive 70 gave GP small hope.
Ryan came in next and he too, got comfortable and began to find the gaps. Perhaps a bit too comfortable, as he called for a 2nd that was never there and was left chatting to Rob face to face at the wrong end. However, the bowler who was stood 4 paces away from the non batsman’s end (while Ryan and Rob are having a cosy chat at the other end), clearly didn’t realise the time he had and decided to throw it at the stumps and miss. This error gave Ryan an extra life and he made it back, before anyone could recover the ball for a 2nd attempt.
Rob and Ryan managed an important partnership of 50, before Rob got caught for a fine 37 and Ryan shortly followed suit, having got bowled for 33. Jac (4), Shiz (6) and Ricky all came and went, with poor Rick getting his first egg of the season. It’s worth highlighting at this point, this is now Rick’s 6th league game in a row, where he has not been able to score a run (2 of those were not-outs to be fair) and is already holding the duck trophy and already a contender after the first game. That said, Dot believes in Rik and knows he will pull it around – now don’t let me down young man!
With only the skipper and Oli-Oli left to bat and needing 80+ runs, it was never likely but they gave the tail a wag but Oli was soon dismissed for 7 having popped one up to be caught, which left the skipper on 12 not out and the team on 188 all out, some 67 runs short.
188 is not a bad total and having checked other results, was the 3rd highest scored that day, so not a bad losing effort at all.
I know my boys will bounce back and looking ahead, I have my brolly and rain coat ready to go for next weekend.
As always, I will leave you with Dot’s play of the day: Which this week comes courtesy of Mr Holmes. However, not for his 3 wickets. But for having the nerve to sit and tell Devon Malcolm (who was scoring and cheering on his son). Where his son is going wrong with his bowling!
And should anyone not know who Devon is, this might help…