This will forever be known as the game that Stone both won and lost. It will also be labelled with the long running, and apt cliche, that “cricket is the winner”
It is a glorious setting. The sun caressing the beautiful vale of Kent through a cloudless sky and the lovely ground of Ide Hill a jewel in the middle of it all. We are all eager and ready to play and turn up with 12 with the intention of lending Ide Hill 2 of ours to make it a 10 a side game. It is all about the spirit of the game right?
We lose the toss and are invited to bat. Saddam and T.D, having pestered the Captain for months, earn the reward for their nagging and stride out confidently to set up a platform and dazzle us with their stroke play. The oppo open with our Ruggy who seems to have other ideas.Saddam the first to fall after a cautious start and we are 10/1. Our leader comes in. T.D follows soon after having explained to the new bat “we know what Ruggy does, we just need to see him out as we won’t score much”. Spot on. It was a good plan but lacked execution as he is bowled by a yorker and we are 15/2. Vice is now in and keen to show the skills he learnt from Strauss last summer. Unfortunately the skills did not seem to be in cricket as he falls for a duck and Ruggy has his 3rd. So, Stone are 20 odd for 3 having taken all the wickets, the only catch and scored all the runs. (Dino in the slips catching Saddam).
Dartsy and Skip begin a re-build. They finish off T.Ds plan to block out Ruggy with success. (He finishes with 3/6 from 6 overs which means he is on a minus number when he plays for us!) Bowlers change and scoring becomes a bit easier. Dartsy shakes off the rust and looks well set. Our Captain also plodding along and they are still together at drinks with us 62/3. The stand continues despite the constant barrage from Dino who, it seems, has a different voice when playing with the oppo’ Having put on 60 odd Dartsy falls first for 27. Not surprisingly LBW. We should be confident that we are well placed and can make hay.Confidence does not get runs as the Skipper nails one to deep square leg soon after (deep at Ide Hill not being much further than a 30 yard fielding circle) and the fielder hardly moves to take a low catch. We’re about 80 odd for 5 now and it is all unravelling. The next 5 batsmen put on 13 and we are skittled out for 112. Stone bowlers take 6 of the 9 wickets and a catch. It’s all about the spirit right? Dino, every oppos’ favourite now it seems, also took 3/11 against us. Quaker leaving one that span right back to bowl him brought much mirth to the watching team. Cricket, spirit, etc.
TEA. More of a self service affair but gratefully taken in the shade of a tree on the edge of the ground. Is there any better place in the world?
They bat. Not a big target but they don’t have a long batting line up and early strikes will put us right back in it. T.D opens the bowling ( and has not stopped talking about the fact he opened both bowling and batting since). He is hooping the ball all over the shop and keeping our wicket keeper busy with some “variation” of beamers and leg side drifters but he does snag our first. Not many for 1 and we are on the way! Judy or Candy Man (finally down to 2 nick names) bowls from the other end and kept it fairly tight but remained wicketless. 10 overs and they are 40 odd for 1. Walkie Talkie comes on but cannot recreate the heroics of last week. Vice bowls 5 overs for 16 and creates more problems than anyone else. Perhaps was brought on too late as the 2 bats are well set and are happy to block. Dartsy has a go. Quaker has a go and finally the skipper wakes up and brings on Scrappy but it was all too late. They only presented us with one chance that Bleeding Gums unfortunately spilled. The left hand right hand combination kept us busy in the field and despite some good intent from everyone we fell to a frustrating 9 wicket defeat with 5 overs left. (or a 9 wicket victory as we seemed to have done everything).
It was a great day, result apart, and just reminded me that losing on a cricket pitch in picturesque Kent is always better than shopping.
My personal thanks to all who played. Ruggy turning up to play for the oppo and help make a game of it. Bleeding Gums for his debut.
So, off to the local pub, The Cock Inn. (Fill in your own joke here.) Dino, perhaps a little undeservedly getting SB of the day again. Mostly for his umpiring it seems. Dartsy gets the Hot Performance of the Day for his 27 and 4 overs for 15.