Saturday XI Vs Spencer – Cricket in Epsom and Ewell

So…with the prospect of playing in the sunshine for once I was faced with the nervous toss. Having lost 4 in a row to date I was under pressure to deliver! Luckily I actually won the toss and with the sun shining and pitch looking good I chose to bat!

After sunning himself (getting burnt) in Ibiza, Bhups was back in the ranks to open the batting alongside David. Bhups started off by hitting their opening bowler for a number of fours early on as the bowler fed Bhups’ favourite shot (the drive). However Bhups went for one too many and got caught by a great one handed catch at mid-off for a quick fire 18. The shouts of ‘keep your head’ after each four fell on deaf ears. David up the other end was looking as solid as ever when Nick W came to the crease (still grumpy from not being selected the week before) – too soon, Nick? Grumpiness aside Nick looked in fine form from the start playing sensibly whilst punishing the bad ball for fours and sixes. David continued to tick the score along from the other end. Nick finally fell trapped LBW for a really well made 40 (well batted Williams’s snr). With the sun beating down and me well and truly sun creamed up, I strode to this crease thinking this is a day that we may need 250+. David and I played sensibly, playing out the odd maiden but really punishing the bad ball to keep the score racing on. After hitting a 4 and a 6 in the same over, I decided to try and cart another one out the ground and got caught at cow corner for 46 (more jug avoidance). At this point we found ourselves 176-3 looking solid but knowing we had to go big as the pitch was fast becoming a batting paradise. Lush promoted to number 5 came in and after swinging and missing a few times connected with some nice shots but fell for a well-made 17.  Needless to say David was still playing a near perfect innings from the other end helping to the hold the innings together. Chris came and went for a sparkling 0, which brought club president Mark Goldsmith to the crease. Mark also looked in fine form and played some lovely shots that really helped us push the run rate along. By this point David was opening up and starting to cart the ball around effectively (who knew he had it in him?). So with Clare W’s slightly suspect counting we were 95% sure David was on 99n.o with still a few overs to go…Would he be another Park Hill bottler? Surely not….up to now it was a chanceless innings. The bowler bowls, David plays a shot that I will say no more about…It spoons in the air….Surely going to be caught… A huge sigh of relief from all as somehow it falls between 2 fielders and the bowler….A well-earned bit of luck. David next ball then casually hits another boundary (I think) and brings up his maiden 100 for the club. A really top knock that was paced to perfection. Well done mate! A much deserved and needed innings for the team! We finish on 274. David 103n.o and Mark 16n.o. A really good team effort glued together by David’s fantastic 100.

After enjoying another lovely tea (thanks Clare) we took the field knowing that the pitch was flat so we would still have to bowl and field well. Myself and Bhups opened up and bowled tight lines and I dismissed their opener in about the 5thover. Ian replaced me from the top end and bowled through – a really solid spell picking up 3 wickets. There was one dolly catch dropped off his bowling which he got a tad angry about (later on you will see why I have referenced this). Clare W replaced Bhups from the other end and bowled consistently with some lovely away movement. Bav, after finding some form with the ball last Sunday came on to bowl some off spin. Bav also bowled a great spell against, to be fair a very talented young batsman. Bav barely bowled a bad ball and picked up 2 wickets. One a really good stumping.

Right now to the main part of the report (note it gets its own paragraph). Set the scene, Bav bowling, Ian at short fine leg, young batsman on strike who loves to play a delicate sweep. Ian ready to pounce…. As expected the batsman plays another delicate sweep but he just flicks it in the air straight at Ian (HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE TO MOVE). Surely there is no doubt he will pocket this and grant Bav with another deserved wicket. Time stood still, batman virtually back to the hutch….Bav celebrating…….Then all we hear is a big DOINK as the ball bounces right on top of Ian’s head and knocks off his hat. If I am honest I didn’t know if to laugh or cry. Ian flung the ball back to the keeper looking a cross between p*ssed off and embarrassed and then he had the shame of having to pick up his hat from the ground whilst the rest of us stood there in a state of hysterics! Note to everyone who now plays with Ian – if a catch comes your way off Ian’s bowling you need to leap 5ft in the air with a shout of ‘mine’ and just header the ball as far as you can! Ian will be able to say nothing and you will have mine and the teams’ full blessing! Ian – sorry to dedicate so much time to this but it was the highlight of the match for me!

Anyway back to the match. We continued to pick up wickets whilst fielding terribly (I will say no more). Their young opener playing a great knock and he reached his 100. Was really nice to watch his innings…Rather than the usual division 2 slogging. With my big sis glaring at me thinking ‘I have not come here just to field’ I brought her into the attack, knowing that from experience (years of being her little brother), it was best for my own safety. She bowled a strong spell, again with very few poor deliveries and picked up a well-deserved wicket. Caught at Gully by Ian ‘the headerer’ Jeavons (last reference, maybe).  With their young gun dismissed bowled by Clare W, their innings was almost up with just a couple of kids to bat. Time to bring myself back on to pick up a couple more wickets…Not to be….Clare W finally wrapped up the innings with 2 wickets caught at slip. They finished on a respectable 212 all out. Again, they were a nice bunch and it was an enjoyable day all round.

A big thank you for Mark for rearranging his schedule to help out. A real asset to have you in the side and a big thank you for volunteering to umpire for 30 overs!

Also, a big thank you to Clare W for agreeing to play. Again, a really strong performance, you are always welcome to convert to Saturdays. And finally a thank you to my big sis for stepping in. It is appreciated.

I can’t finish this report about referencing the fantastic performance of the day….Ian’s drop catch! Only kidding, David a great knock…Well played!

Score card can be found here

http://parkhill.play-cricket.com/website/results/3025960

Cheers

Alex