St George’s Rec has not been kind to Park Hill over the years. Whether it be standing helplessly watching the Jiggernaut pile on the runs or being served the dubious delicacy of egg pastries for tea whilst receiving a shellacking off Ali, it’s not been a happy hunting ground.
But confidence was high when taking to the field this week after a sound opening win, tropical temperatures north of ten degrees and a discernible brownish strip strongly resembling a cricket pitch.
After losing the toss, wicket machines Prem and Alex opened up, Prem removing their opener without troubling the scorers. Not to be outdone by a much older, nicer man, Alex replied with two wickets of his own; the first pinning right-handed Risabh Pant lbw, then taking a great low return catch to see off a man offensively clad in a United away shirt. Village.
After two fine opening spells, their middle order maintained their philosophy of “tee off from ball one” with some disappointing success rewarding this brainless brand of cricket. Barry then terminated a burgeoning partnership with a blinding low catch at mid wicket after a rank long hop from perennial wide machine, Daf.
“Epic CC” continued to bludgeon runs, but Hill continued to accumulate wickets. Daf (3) and Barry (2) chipped away at the middle order thanks to some straight bowling, fresh air swinging and good catching from Al and Stupps behind the wicket.
As the runs continued to flow, Chip and Al sought to end the innings, the former collecting a caught and bowled with his first ball before mopping up the last man with a suspect lbw. 138 all out.
After another tea that left a lot to be desired – bringing your own mid-game sustenance in a plastic bag is just not cricket – we started the chase. It didn’t start well.
Daf, promoted to open, looked assured for two balls before nicking off with his third. This only brought Mackay to the crease. No need to panic.
Or so we thought…as he caught a leading edge first ball for a simple return catch. Park Hill, joined by the Mackay clan, looked on aghast as he trudged off whilst leaving club poster boy Dave Symons to face the hat trick.
Handsomely squirting said delivery through gully, Hill equalised at the end of the first over; 2-2. Symons then fell to a seaming delivery, leaving Hill 5-3. Damon and Chirag came and went not long after leaving Steve, freshly briefed on getting Hill past the dreaded 26, and club tortoise Stupples to navigate the openers’ remaining overs.
Stupples’s new shoes could sum up his pace more than anything we could
Both played well, playing shots when needed, running neatly and accepting the generous supply of extras to get Hill to ~70-5 at drinks. What had caught the attention of onlookers was the absurd bowling actions of a couple of “Epic CC’s” attack. Throwing the ball gently down the seam, they gradually broke through the Hill defences with a couple of extremely suspect actions.
That said, there was still a game on, and we were well in it. However, as the old adage goes, one brings two. And so it proved as Steve, Alan and Prem departed in relatively quick succession. This left captain Chipperton with Stupples in what felt like the key partnership.
Alas, the hero of this tale – the tortoise – smacked a return chance to left arm thrower “Rinks” who snaffled an impressive catch. Barry and Chipperton got us closer to the total, but not quite close enough and the former was bowled with Hill still requiring twenty.
That was that. A disappointing defeat in a game we could and perhaps should have won, but a chance to show some bouncebackability next week…if we can find 11 players! #cryforhelp