A wise man (or Dan Ransom) once said “April is too cold for Sunday cricket!” As the blazing sun beat down upon the pitch at Fortress Ruxley Lane, who’d have thought that this aphorism would have held true?! As it turned out, the home side frantically searched through their bags for any additional clothing to help ease the pain of standing in the field for 40 overs, after stand-in skipper – Chipperton – lost the toss and the visitors elected to bat.
Hill opened with the combination of Prem (much to his protestation) and K.P. The wily veteran served up a miserly spell in which he regularly beat the outside edge and peppered Symo’s feeble body, the combination of both meant he went for only 11 runs in his 8 overs. At the other end, K.P.’s first spell saw him draw the batsmen into some aggressive stroke play and he was unfortunate that, when they did take the aerial route, the ball landed between fielders.
The visitors batted patiently in the lead up to drinks and Hill only claimed a couple of wickets in the first 40 overs. The skipper helped to keep the run rate down (with the exception of a generous first over) and was arguably unfortunate to not claim more than one victim. Following Prem’s impressive spell, Schneider was tasked with bowling the final couple of overs prior to the drinks break and he evidently returned reinvigorated following the break, claiming two wickets in quick succession. A particular highlight was his vigorous appeal after the batsman had edged the ball to short third man – much to the amusement of his teammates!
Kyle, or Hill’s “overseas pro”, chanced his arm with a few spinners – alternating between lofty deliveries and aggressive bouncers! An opposition batsman neatly summed this approach up as being “either 20mph or 120mph!” Kyle claimed his first wicket and sparked a collapse that we would have been proud of (more on this later). He then cleaned up the tail at the end of the endings.
At the other end, he was ably supported by the returning K.P., who also got in amongst the wickets courtesy of two great catches from Stu and Damon. Hill’s fielding had been impressive for the most part and belied the months spent cowering at the thought of having to ‘wear one’ in the field! Where tough diving chances went down, boundaries were stopped and this helped to limit Putney to a total of 130.
Hill got off to a slow start in their run chase, losing Stupples after he tamely returned a rank long-hop straight to the bowler. Lush looked in good touch after dispatching his first delivery to the boundary but he was cleaned up by one of the openers who went on to go for just 5 runs in his 6 overs! Damon briefly steadied the ship but wickets tumbled around him as we lost Stu, Symo and Blakey. After Damo was dismissed we found ourselves teetering on the brink at 24 for 6, whilst the task of bettering Park Hill’s lowest ever total was beginning to resemble scaling Mount Everest in full batting regalia…
Thankfully for Hill, Prem and Kyle rallied and dragged us to beyond the halfway stage, sharing a crucial 61 run partnership before Prem succumbed to the uneven bounce that troubled both sides all afternoon. Chipperton and Kyle inched us towards the 100 mark, but disaster struck as Kyle missed a straight one shortly after passing the 50 mark. However, this was still a great knock and he punished the rare loose deliveries that Putney served up. With 30 runs required and 2 wickets to spare, the captain did his best to put on a ‘how not to negotiate a run chase’ masterclass by running out KP before running himself out. This was a disappointing end to proceedings after a resurgent lower order rally, but reaching a ‘Nelson’ was an admirable achievement all things considered!
Fielder of the Day: David Symonds
Report by: Will Chipperton