A lovely sunny September day at Woolams as the slip corden awaits to no avail
So where were they? We turn up to play Cavaliers and they do a switcheroo on the team without us knowing?! I bet Oliver Cromwell didn’t have issues like this just before a big end of season battle.
Captain’s Tom carefully prepared team talk notes were screwed up and hurled into the bin as we mentally prepared to face the ‘Young Bucks’ of Old Albanians rather than the ‘Old Stags’.
Nevertheless, Tom called correctly and (also correctly) batted under warm September skies, what could go wrong? The only slight downside was the inside of the pavilion bought memories of the famous ‘Lemon Drizzle Cake’ from yesteryear when Dave Josephs gorged himself too much and struggled to run between wickets after tea.
However, COVID had seen to that, so no chance of Jonny M or Sraven being rendered equally immobile (Ed. – note: Jonny M only had a Tuna sandwich and a packet of Chipsticks in his cricket bag, but doesn’t need food to make him virtually immobile given recent history).
Sadly, both of them didn’t end up doing much running anyway, as Jonny M fell to the ‘catch of the day’ by Burman behind the timbers and Sraven (who was feeling under weather but manfully still played), managed to ‘york’ himself against the nippy but erratic ‘Linger The Younger’.
Mark came to the crease but was trapped LBW by the off-spinner Barwick who seemed to provide a running commentary to himself of his bowling just after delivery. Every ball was an ‘event’!
By the time our specialist ‘pinch-hitter‘, Matty T, was castled for a duck by the impressive Ali, we were 40-4 and the innings was looking remarkably similar to many England scorecards this summer.
Our very own ‘Joe Root’ combo of Jonny P and Tom steadied the ship though as they started to rebuild and take the score into the 70s at the half way point and drinks.
It was a running theme of the day, that just when we seemed to be getting back into the game, something happened to set us back. In this case Tom mistiming one from ‘Linger The Even Younger’ and getting caught for an excellent 36, just when a big score looked a certainty.
After that we struggled to give JP the support he needed, finding new ways to scoop balls into fielders hands off the blameless surface, that actually seemed to have a bit more pace to it than previous OA wickets.
Once JP had managed to do the very same into the grateful hands of Westhead, the innings ground to bit of a halt until some lusty hitting from Ben L took us to 139 in the final over before he too holed out.
We knew at tea we were at least 50 runs light on that surface and with outfield that had an ominously short boundary on one side.
Tea was spent mostly interrogating our demon opening bowler Matty on how he managed to injure his bowling arm in an ‘arm wrestling competition’. No satisfactory answers were forthcoming…
So, it was left to Captain Tom himself to open up with JT (whose legs appeared to be working surprising well after his 10K run and didn’t resemble ‘Broken Twiglets’ in any way).
It was JT who made the early breakthrough getting one through the defences of Pillan. James KM behind the timbers was convinced he ‘just missed it’ but their umpire contradicted him, to let JT know it did ‘move a bit’. JT sided with the umpire…
Opener Davies looked a good bat and punished anything wayward. At the other end, ‘Linger The Elder’, fell to JT in a unique ‘LBW/caught behind’ combination. Everyone else appealed for the edge that was well taken by James, but JT was adamant he wanted the LBW. Either way the umpire raised his finger!
Josh replaced Tom, but Burman and Davies looked in control and showed us how to bat on this pitch, hitting hard and straight. Just when things were getting a bit out of control, JT (who until this point seemed loathed to use his hands to stop a ball when he could use feet instead) snaffled a caught and bowled to send Davies back to the pavilion.
The ever-reliable left arm of Dave L replaced him at the end of an excellent spell, but the scorebook just kept ticking well above the desired rate. At 20 over drinks we were looking ‘into the barrel’ as OAs rattled along despite some excellent ground fielding, notably from Mark W and Sraven.
Captain Tom’s last throw of the dice was to bring on Ben to replace Josh, but sadly this seemed to make matters worse, as Ben’s first over went for ‘plenty’. However, Ben responded well in his next 3, as Vice-Captain JP shuffled the field to try and plug the gaps that were turning into very big holes!
A couple of late wickets from Dave gave us some hope, but Barwick and Westhead saw it home with some ease and plenty to spare. We didn’t even have the option of challenging them to an arm-wrestling contest for ‘double or quits’ with our champion out of action.
So, a defeat for P&Js after a couple of comfortable wins. As the sun set at Woolams, thoughts turned to maybe one ‘last hurrah’ on the 26th September and to organising a Curry night in the Autumn, details to follow.