Her ladyship has recklessly given an extra 1/2 day holiday for 5 years service to the staff. I allowed the chauffeur to use cloths instead of his hands to clean the fleet of cars. The reason for these outlandish displays of generosity is down to one thing. Another Stone victory.
The day started well with Jack Rogers making an early bid for SB of the D by turning up with his Dad’s spare whites and subsequently having to play in blue joggers. Hardly an easy mistake to make. The oppo were a bit late but we eventually started the usual timed game. I lost the toss and they decided to play defensively from the off and elected to bowl.
Darren (Chav – Vol au Vent – Poofter – we really have to choose soon) and Skip opened the batting. Neither looked comfortable at any stage and indeed made the old days of Rogers and Bately seem electric and exciting. It was a rough old pitch with slow low bounce and occasional spitter but even I was bored! Darren the first to go trying to force the pace. Slaaaaater, having asked to be promoted up the order almost passed Darren on the way out due to an unwieldy 3rd ball slog to a full ball. Another chance at number 3? No. We are about 15/2 from 10 overs. this soon becomes 19/3 from 13 overs as the skip suffers from the low bounce as one rolled under his bat. ( He banged on about this to anyone in earshot for about an hour afterwards and kept coming back to it during the day!) He forgot his own mantra “better than shopping in Waitrose”
The blue legged Jack Rogers steadied the ship with some classy batting. Semtex hung around as long as he could but he was fourth out with the score on 25! We just cant lose to this lot. The shining round knight in the shape of Bately came in and did what he does best. Bat straight and bat long. Drinks break and we are 50 odd for 4. 3 balls later and we are 50 odd for 5 as Jack lost all common sense and slogged all around one. Dino, having spent a week in Paris defeating terrorist plots, came in and with Stumpy put us right back in the game. Much to Skip’s frustration the bowlers looked really easy to hit but as he was reminded many times, you have to be there to prove it! These 2 really brought us back into it, not only with smart hitting but great running. Stumpy defying all laws of physics in his turning circle and Dino risking severe colouring of his translucent skin by staying out there so long. They put on over 60 before Dino succumbed and the closing thrashes were left to Robo Cop and Stumpy. A certain amount of average protection on Stumpy’s part but we would have struggled without him. We closed on 148 which we all thought was easily dependable and a right result considering our start.
Tea. The water melon was alright and the cups of tea were good.
We had to start well and we need to make use of the pitch. Robbo Cop and Dino made up the unusual opening partnership and started very well. Dino grabbed 2 in his 6 overs for next to nothing and Robo Cop got 1 for stuff all as well. They were already on the back foot. Slaaaaaater bowled some tight lines without much luck but they just could not score. Jordan “Quaker” Oaten came on for Dino and ,despite the odd 4 ball, bowled some great lines. He should have had their Captain LBW and was somewhat miffed at not getting the decision. I would suggest that shouting at the umpire “WHAT?” when he says not out is not the best way to get a decision next time. Still we were plugging away both in the field and the bowling and finally it started to go our way. A welcome return of Walkie Talkie saw him actually get their skipper out LBW. The plumbest of all 3 plumb shouts against him. The next wicket fell soon after and we were hunting them down. Slater picks up 3 catches. Darren takes a nice one. Semtex missed a hard one and was the only wearer of the catching hat. Darren tested out my catching by launching the ball at me from 1st slip to mid on at every opportunity. (never dropped one so there!) The one I did not make it too off the bat is not a catching hat moment. Down to the last 3 wickets. Ball popping up all over the shop or flying wide of slips. Tom was as unlucky as you can get as they constantly threatened to get out to him. We set some aggressive fields but time seemed to be running out. Jack and Dino to take the last few overs. Runs were not an issue. It could have been over earlier if people (Darren) had stood where they were asked. Then, it happens. Flick off the hips into the waiting bucket hands of Slaaaaater at leg slip! A piece of captaincy finally works. Last wicket. Last over. Dino to bowl. Slogger at the crease who used up more lives than several cats! 3 on the leg side boundry and the blighter blocks one. All fielders come up. Blocks another. 3rd ball he thinks he can slog again. He can’t. Big shout for LBW and given. We win we win we win. Even Dino was yelling. Brilliant. Victory by 20 odd runs.
They were many great things apart from the winning. Lots of players had ideas they brought to me. I didn’t always go with it but it’s important you all keep doing it. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it. The 3 slips and ‘keeper seemed to be having their own little party towards the end which I loved. It was great to see Walkie Talkie and Jack back in the team. It was lovely to see Michelle and Dartsy on the side lines polishing off a bottle together.
Back in the Shovel we were all full of joy. Dino easily gets performance of the day with 4/18 and a crucial 31.
SB of the Day. Our absent Vice. Injured playing for some muppet team during the week and therefore not being available to us. Question of loyalty? Commitment?
Food was provided. Excellent.
Royal appointments will keep me out for the next 2 games. Her majesty must come first.
Enjoy it all men and remember it is always better having a crap day on the pitch than shopping in Waitrose.