Whatever God it is that you believe in, He or she was clearly bored on Saturday and wanted to entertain us with a myriad of weather drama. In order of the day, from when Her Ladyship released me, were as follows, SUNSHINE – HARD RAIN – GAME STARTS – RAIN – SUN – GAME RESTARTS – THUNDER AND RAIN – GAME RESTARTS – RAIN – BREAK FOR TEA – RESTART TO FINISH OPPOSITION INNINGS – WE BAT AND GLORIOUS SUNSHINE TO FINISH.
There was a time during this game when the joys of Waitrose were calling me. Well, they were calling the staff who tell me it is good but then I remembered the new Stone mantra that, playing cricket, is better than being anywhere else, especially Waitrose – M&S – ASDA – LIDL – ALDI – Food bank. (circle where appropriate)
Brasted Chart and Toys Hill is my old stomping ground, of the last century, and it is always a joy to go back. The days when I was just a Sir and yet to be a Lord are fondly remembered and it was nice to see that the picturesque ground had not changed one iota. Perched high on a hill side overlooking the Weald and as I previously mentioned, inviting in any weather that happens to pass.
Timed game ensues.
So, we win the toss and invite the opposition to bat. Our bowling has been outstanding this season and, even without Tom “Boom Boom” Rogers, we set about them. Life was not easy for batsman, bowler, ‘keeper or fielder as the rain drizzled down but we stayed out as long as we could. Jordan “Bin Man Vice” Garratt bowled as well as he has all season and was unplayble. 2/9 bowling up hill, which seemed to suit him, being a reasonable return. Chungfu struggled with the rain in his face and bowled a mixed bag for him but still got 1/18. We mix up the bowling and bring on Pussy and Dino. The big Puss was rusty to begin with (nothing to do with the crap weather) but got into his stride eventually and was economical returning 0/23 from 5. Dino got the most bounce of all and continued the good economy with 1/21 from 7. Time to give Quaker a go an,d unfortunately, he struggled to find the right length and got taken for 35 from 4. Dartsy and Walkie Talkie finished the innings off with 1/5 and 1/10 respectively. The oppo’ never really got going despite some attempted big hitting. Balls squirted all over the shop without going to hand and our fielding was top notch. “Buckets” Rogers led the way with outstanding pick ups on the ropes in tricky conditions. One flat batted pull that was destined for 4 he snatched out of air with ease and grace. Outstanding. Walkling and Garratt patrolled the other boundary and prevented any sneaky runs with good and quick throws. John “George Fox” Oaten (look it up) fielded like he had never been away and we are very grateful to him for making up the numbers. Come back any time “George” Stumpy found the conditions hard (wet gloves are no fun just ask me ex wife’s last gynecologist) and spilled one easy one but got another stumping. Chung Fu misjudged a skier and Skip, somehow letting one through his bulk, were the only real blemishes. 125/7 was a target that seemed very achievable in the time we had. Well, it seemed so.
TEA. The joys of proper facilities as we were fed a grand tea with cuppas on demand during the rain.
The rain must have spiced up the pitch a bit as our two openers, the joyful volunteer Walkie Talkie and the reluctant volunteer Stumpy, struggled for 11 overs scoring just 11 runs before Walkie Talkie fell (he probably heard there was loads of food left). The ball spat a bit and they bowled tightly. So tightly in fact the two openers bowled unchanged for 19 overs. Our team can be sure that we will never do that and personally, I don’t think that is the way to play. No longer will I offer “unlimited overs” for bowlers as I think that was taking the piss. Dartsy tried to hurry it on as we were now rapidly running out of time. 12/1 from 14 and the final 20 overs to play. 114 to win.
There was plenty of effort, Dartsy a quick 22, but we were still struggling at 63/2 with 10 overs left and Dartsy on the way back. Skip strikes an early 4 and is out soon after trying to push the rate.70/3 with 9 to play. The young Oaten hits the shot of the day but is soon a victim of his own instinct and falls for 7. It is always a joy to watch his fearless batting. Vice is promoted up the order to try and secure a victory we thought was ours at tea. He swings at what he can but is undone by a yorker and with Father Quaker and Stumpy at the crease the target became to much. We secure a draw but it feels like a loss. 108/5. They managed 10 maidens, with 9 coming from the opening bowlers. Stumpy was there at the end for a well played 55 not out. Lots of lessons for our Skipper who is going to be decisive with batting orders in the future.
Rightly or wrongly Vice and I will never contemplate winning a game in front of not giving everyone a go. We are a squad and as long as you want to play you will always get to do something.
Decent pub near the ground and a nice drink with the opposition. They are a good team to play against and, apart from my gripe, they played in the right spirit throughout. I look forward to the return in a couple of weeks.