So Sunday cricket is back! Yes it’s very different in this new COVID world but at the same time it’s very much the same.
Our first opponents back were Bank of England. Normally we have the pleasure of playing at their ground but it was our turn to host for once. Returning skipper Dan was not confident a game would go ahead after rain all morning and the dread of getting public transport all the way there just for the game to be cancelled. He didn’t need to fear though as scouts reported back a good wicket and Symo offered to drive him! With half the team in whites and half not, we got dressed in the car park and stood around before the usual people had to put the boundary markers out. Dan won (well the other captain lost it) the toss and decided to put the oppo in. With a wet outfield and a cloudy day we had hopes of an early wicket.
These hopes were dashed early as opening bowler Dave L sporting a brand new beard bowled one off the pitch and next one at the bowlers head. Some things never change! KP started well at the other end bowling some really good deliveries with only one real chance and went high in between himself, Symo and Phil all claiming they heard something but no one sure who. Lawny did have one chance dropped off his bowling which may of given him the confidence to come back stronger but alas this is Park Hill!
First change was Barry looking at steely eyed as usual. He bowled his spell very tidily getting 3 wickets in the overs he bowled. At the other end was a surprise choice in Symo. His leg spin from bowling out of the tree had impressed the captain in the one net he had seen it in while normal first choice spinner El was appalled at first slip. Symo bowled well in 7 overs but no clear chances. A difficult chance went down from Lawn at mid-on while one just went over Kyle at deep square for 6.
After a drinks break (Everyone brought their own) and cleaning the ball for the 3rd time it was time for the returning Mike Worrell to have a spell bowling Left arm past. Yes Mike Worrell who we were sure we would never see again after walking away from the sport 3 years ago. Surprisingly it didn’t take a lot for him to come back. Just that we would be gully all game and that Phil N had to play to entertain him during fielding. In what was a lovely shock, Mike bowled very well with no practice. The change of angle always helps on a Sunday and he eventually picked up one wicket. The one wicket was of a batsman who seemed to pick a plastic bat that normally comes with a set of stumps but that doesn’t show that in the records!
Kyle replaced Barry at the other end bowling some hostile stuff which was a lot different to what came before. Though I must say Barry did get a wicket by terrifying the batsman to take a step back onto his own stumps so maybe I’m doing his pace an injustice. Kyle picked up the one wicket caught behind by Damo. Debutant Rob then had one over which was tidy before Bank of England declared on 199/5. I forgot to mention it was a timed again which we will come onto again later.
Tea was an odd affair. You could definitely tell who were the singletons in the side as their partner had not made a pack lunch for them while players like KP had a whole feast to themselves. Didn’t offer any but he did have a good reason.We started our chase with new Sunday opener Phil alongside Damo. Some of the players were shocked that Phil was at 1 and even started taking bets on how many runs he would get. One of our players backed zero which would come back to haunt said player later on.
Phil eventually went for 15 (according to the bank of england scorer) being caught with a wafty backfoot drive off a slow bowler which Elliot predicted would happen. To be honest anyone could predict that from watching him recently. Rob S came and went quite quickly leaving the ball well before being caught. Not being bowled on Park Hill debut is quite impressive!
Elliot came and went quite quickly. A lot of pressure was on him to get runs but got confident after a boundary so went for another that looped up. His brother didn’t too much better. Struggling with a back/hamstring issue caused for a static ball while fielding left him unable to really move and he isn’t exactly known for his power hitting and got out for a scratchy 9. In between the fall of the Ransom wickets was Damo who was given out LBW after getting bogged down with their spin.
Kyle then came in 58-4 and we really need his ball smacking ability to get us closer. With Lawny joining him we thought maybe we could see a partnership like the one we had with Charlie many many years ago but alas Lawny was out for a duck (the man who bet Phil would get a duck)
Worrell went in to join Kyle and we weren’t expecting many singles. They put on a 33 partnership before Kyle departed to a good catch at almost a deep gully position. Symo was next in and the captain was pinning all his hopes on the two of them batting for a draw. What happened next surprised everyone. Both men went on the attack with one hitting sweetly and one not so much. Worrell was using his best tennis shots to dispatch the spinners to all parts of cow corner while Symo knew he just needed to get off strike.
We were getting surprisingly close to the total when Worrell departed for a super 53 in a 67 partnership with Symo! KP was next in so Symo was stuck in two minds whether to stick for a draw of twist for a win with us being on 171. We all thought he was going for a draw but then all of a sudden he hit two boundaries out of no where and feeling confident.
That confidence soon fell away however after Symo was caught off the misely bowling of their skipper for a well worked 29. So we were left with KP and Barry to bat the last few overs for a draw. KP went against every instinct and was playing a defensive shot before the ball had even been bowled.
Then the last over….Barry on strike….easily left a couple of balls then there it was, a chance to get a single. As Barry is in the same camp as the skip and others like Chip he took the opportunity to get off strike as soon as possible so he didn’t need to face the pressure.
Two balls to go, everyone round the bat like a test match. Their top bowler bowled one which KP just prodded forward to and was caught right under his nose. I can’t fault him as he really tried to hang in for a draw and I can’t blame Barry as I would of done exactly the same thing.
Overall it was a great game of cricket that went right down to the wire and it was just nice to be back out there. Years ago when Worrell played regularly he would spend so much time at nets on technique but he showed us that we should just do what opposition has done to us for years. Be confident in your ability and just go out there and whack it.
Unfortunately the undefeated season is over but we had a good catch up after the game especially as Worrell had to buy a jug for his 50. We go again next week.
Up the Hill!