The scorecard for this fixture can be found at here
Firstly I want to thank everybody who put their name forward for Sunday despite a variable weather forecast and more so to those who filled in with little or no notice. Furthermore well done to Andy for doing a Razi and getting a cab to the game, commitment!
Despite this effort we managed to fall one short of the 11 and turned up to one of our infamous foes Chessington Cricket club with 10. Any feeling of lost optimism due to our numbers was soon quashed as their captain then openly admitted that they had a ‘weak team today’…. This led to me forfeiting the toss (showing some empathy and believing their captain) and having a bat on the greenest pitch of the season most probably.
So myself and the Major opened up in the rain, with the Major getting minimal sleep since his flight back from Ausland and we started comfortably. For a weak team one of their opening bowlers (Patel) was useful due to his ability to swing it both ways, but he was not the man to make the breakthrough. The Major, who had just hit a crisp 4, decided to nail a cover drive straight to short extra cover who took one of the most unusual catches I had ever seen… With the ball hitting his wrists the fielder then froze with the ball rolling down his wrists and into his hands very statuesque, I would say that was a tad unlucky Major, but nonetheless that brought Ade to the crease. Ade openly admitted he didn’t have the best of games and the tidy opener saw Ade off for an uncharacteristic 0. Enter Mr Eades for his first match in what we worked out was over a year with the score standing precariously at 19-2, but after a little scratchy start he settled in and a partnership developed. Within this partnership a mention must go out to the unfortunate driver who received a ball on his/her car whilst driving along the Leatherhead Road alongside the pitch…. Unlucky lad/lass (I must add that this action had no link to the Nova taking a beating on Saturday…). The partnership between myself and Matt had reached 100 before the rain returned and cue the shortest rain delay in the history of cricket. Following this the once slow track had been given a new lease of life and Matt decided to go back to one that skid on and took his middle peg straight after the delay. With Matt departing for a well made 34, Lush came to the crease and was bowled first ball round his legs for the second quacker of the day. This left the ‘safe as houses’ Andy Clarke to face the hat trick ball, which he did so with no alarm. His characteristic bullish approach was working as he amassed 16 of the 25 run partnership, until he found another way to gift his wicket. Showing signs of form repeatedly from week to week before gifting a catch to a close fielder is unfortunately a characteristic of Ando’s batting at the moment, but if that loose shot is removed a 50+ score is just around the corner. Following Andy’s departure came another partnership of real note, which also included a real contender for the collapse award… Never far from the collapse award your skip decided to tell Ian that a well timed pull shot he had played was racing off for 4. Unfortunately the ball got stuck in a persistent quagmire on the boundary and while the ball was still in play, myself and Ian continued to have a lengthy chat in the middle of the pitch, before one of us realised and a quick 2 were scampered (to be honest a possible 6 could have been run in that time). It was also during this partnership that I managed to notch up my maiden ton, which has been a long time coming. Ignorant and on 94 I decided to dipatch the bowler into the tennis courts over a long fielder, but had I known, bringing up my ton with a 6 would have been the last thought of mine… Nevertheless after the tempo was upped by some good running between Ian and myself, I was the next to fall chipping one to cover for 118. This brought Symo to the crease with the score on 205-6 and he and Ian put on a small partnership before Ian was skittled and the cricket loving Ron entered the scene. Not before a glorious slip drive from Mr cricket, Ron had to depart, falling (like Ian) to the returning Patel. After a couple more blows from Symo, he was the the last man depart, also to Patel for 15, leaving KP stranded yet again on his favourite score of 0* and the team total at 236-9.
With what we imagined would be an unassailable total and news of a different Webber’s batting triumph elsewhere, we took to the field in high spirit. The very tidy Ian opened up with KP who unfortunately lost his lines a few times and was punished by their captain and opening batsman. I would like to say that as Ian has not bowled a long spell since his unfortunate injury, he did so with excellent control, which are positive signs for both the Saturday and Sunday teams. Following Chessington’s excellent start, the score approached 100-0 with Symo (still exorcising his demons at this stage), the rejuvenated Andy Clarke and Ron all having no luck with balls dropping just in front of fielders and dropped catches. This was the case until game changer James Rumsey decided to turn the game on its head by removing their destructive captain for 67 and their no3 in quick succession, caught by Ian and Symo respectively. At the other end Andy was getting through an excellent spell of grenades and was extremely unfortunate that as soon as the ball went into the air, the fielders hands turned into sticks of butter. KP, Ade, Lush, Ron and possibly Ian all dropped catches off Andy’s bowling, which is unbelievable, considering all of those fielders were very tight until their dropped catches, especially Ron. Nevertheless despite the wicket column remaining dry, the improvement in the bowling from Ando was noted. Ron was the next to bowl out and he can be very pleased with his efforts, maybe enough so to reconsider retirement…. (food for thought). He finished with figures of 8-0-32-2, while Andy finished with figures of 7-0-30-0(how!!). At this point the game was well poised and Symo was called up for another spot of death(ish) bowling. Fortunately this was considerably more effective than his last effort and he ended up with figures (biased by his earlier spell of 3 expensive overs) of 8-0-49-1. It was about this point that all of the bowlers would like me to point out that their other opener reached a fantastic milestone of 50, fantastic because he was the youngest by far in that team at only 13! With him was a destructive left hander that put rest to my 2 overs of off-leg-seam bowling and tested both finishers Ian and KP to bowl tight lines. They did so with confidence and both picked up their first wickets during this latter spell. Ian removed the opener for a well made 62 and their opening bowler Patel for 4, who was well caught on the rope to finish the game by Ron, while KP removed the danger man just at the right time as he launched an absolute skier down my throat (nice to see the freinemies playing nicely).
The final outcome was a fairly comprehensive win as they fell about 30 runs short, which is a top effort from a Park Hill team plagued with injuries and 10 men against a ‘not so weak’ Chessington team. I would also like to add that pretty much everyone stayed behind after the game and made up for the lack of Chessington faces in the bar.
This will also be my last Sunday fixture before Phil returns, so I would like to say thank you to everybody who gave their all and turned out for us! We had a mixed bag of results, but it was great to end on a high, with a win against a team we rarely beat! I hope you have all enjoyed the last 4-5 weeks and if you give Phil as much as you gave me in terms of effort, improvement and enthusiasm (yes Ron!) then there is no reason why we can’t upset quite a few more teams this season.
Over and Out…
The scorecard for this fixture can be found at here