P&Js managed to repeat their 2020 narrow 9 run defeat in the sun against Aston
On an absolutely scorching sunny Sunday, the mighty PJs blazed their way to a picturesque hillside in Stevenage, to return to Aston CC, seeking revenge for a narrow loss last year.
The pre-match selection policy was put to the test, as the usually ample PJs squad dwindled and changed more times than our governments Covid policies.
A huge thanks to debutants Bilal, Steve and Nick and returning star Sraven for showing up late (3 of them on the morning of game).
After losing the toss, but agreeing on 35 overs each, captain Evans led the PJs into the field after losing the toss. We took the field with 7 (plus two youngsters from the oppo) after some more "complications" in the build up.
Dave L and Ben L opened the bowling in what must be a PJ's first, opening with spin from both ends. They both bowled with real control and were miserly, going for a combined 25 runs off 14 overs #captainsdream.
At some point during this, JM, Bilal and Sraven arrived and we got up to 10.
Feeling that spin was the only way to go, and also having no other options, debutant Steve and PJ's legend Rod came on for a certain PJ's first of the first 4 bowlers being spin.
Rod finally managed to get the two openers, after their very quiet start had led to some decent hitting on the quick outfield off both. Steve was very unfortunate to not get Praven LBW towards the end.
Nick rocked up at some point around this time and we were finally up to 11.
Mark and Bilal came on to finish and, you guessed it, they were 2 more spinners. The Aston no. 3 Praven had begun to hit out really well and was eventually stumped off Mark for a well made 42.
Meanwhile, Bilal was seriously unlucky not to get a wicket on his impressive debut, restricting Aston to a chasable 149-3 off 35 overs.
Big shout to all the fielders, on such a hot day, who were excellent throughout, in particular JP, who marshalled the fielders all day and also threw himself around on the boundary, saving many runs and likely damaging many ligaments.
Still no cricket teas, due to Covid, but Oscar the dog did attend and ate his Dad's (Rod) mangoes.
Some complications with people needing to leave early meant that Nick and Sraven opened the batting. Nick ensured he got away on time, being bowled for 1.
Steve then joined the party and ground out against tough seam bowling from Aston. Sraven looked really well set, hitting some lovely cover drives but was bowled by a good ball for 9.
Steve got caught between a rock and a knick place, caught behind for 5.
So, PJ legend JP joined the party for a short while, looked good as ever, hit the field repeatedly and was promptly bowled for 0.
This allowed the big man, Mark, to get stuck in and he did his best to take the attack to the oppo, but when he was caught at point for 11, the chase was looking as dead as Matt Hancock's political career.
This did allow the selection panel of JM and Evans to get us towards a dignified score, but when JM did his hammy and Evans got bowled by a pea-roller for 27, things started to look bleak again.
JM's hammy did allow Marky to run himself into the ground as his runner however.
Roddy rocked in and started to take the attack to the Aston attack with his usual classy swing.
JM then lost his wicket for a top scoring 33, allowing the classy looking Bilal to join Rod and the chase suddenly felt on. Rod smashed a few huge boundaries and Bilal supported him ably until a very dodgy LBW brought Ben L in, with his lovely floppy hat.
Sadly his dad Dave soon joined him as Rod was bowled, and the chase of 9 needed off 1.1 overs seemed on until Dave was bowled and we lost another super tight game.