The English ‘summer’ continued to serve up torrential rain ahead of Hill’s game vs Mitcham at Fortress Ruxley. Fortunately, the recently procured covers meant that masks and snorkels could be put to one side, but it remained to be seen how the pitch would play following a week of interminable rainfall.
The first victory of the day saw Hill win the toss by default, as their opponents had fewer than 8 by the time of the toss. With a league umpire in tow, the captain elected to field and hopefully reap the rewards of neutral officiating. Things got off to a slow start as the opening pair of Stirling and Ransom toiled away with little reward. Meanwhile, Tom took a tumble in the outfield to temporarily reduce our numbers.
The breakthrough finally arrived as Stirling cleaned up one opener and Ransom bought a wicket with a long hop that Bhups clung onto at deep backward square leg. If the latter was fortunate, the very next ball was far too good for the incoming batsman who – perhaps having heard about first ball immunity from our T20 test match – stood his ground whilst his stumps were strewn around him. Much to our amusement, he inexplicably proceeded to appeal for a “dead ball” …
The hat trick ball would have to wait for the following over, but whilst this was not successful, we had started to peg back the opposition. Stirling finished off his spell with another emphatic dismal before Jeavons and Bhups sought to maintain the onslaught. However, the visitors were able to consolidate their position and score relatively freely, although a few dropped catches did not help matters. Bhups eventually broke this frustrating partnership as Stupples snaffled an edge, with the score just shy of 100. Chipperton and Prem claimed two wickets apiece and Ransom managed to run out their batsman who had raced to 82, meaning the visitors posted a respectable total of 159.
Tom and Stupples opened up as Hill looked to make a positive start to their run chase. The former set his stall out to attack, but fell in the second over. This brought Aarsh to the crease and he formed a steady partnership with Stupples either side of a rain break that shortened our innings and led to an adjusted score of 144. The pair took us to the halfway mark but a flurry of wickets – which saw us lose Aarsh, Stupples, Prem and Bhups for 5 runs – was a hammer blow that we failed to recover from. Ells and Charlie posted double figure scores to provide glimmers of hope, but these embers were promptly extinguished, and Clare was eventually left marooned with Hill 21runs shy of the target.
With 2 narrow defeats and 2 abandonments, suffice to say that the season has not panned out as we had planned. However, spirits remain high, and we managed to put out a competitive 11 for the fourth consecutive week – so not all doom and gloom!
Fielder of the day: David Stupples