Scott and Jonny M opened the inning together after a 15 year break!
Another ‘close but no cigar’ for P&Js as this time we ventured into Bucks to face Chalfont St. Peter on a day where the weather forecast was ‘awful’.
Naturally, it ended with clear skies and not an over lost to the rain and thunderstorms all around the South-East.
If only we had known this when we tossed up and agreed a reduced 35 over game since ‘it was going to rain about 6pm and that will be it!’ Ah, the vagaries of the English weather in August.
Scott returned after a fifteen-year sabbatical (last game vs Cavaliers before they played at OAs! - http://www.playersjesters.com/index_030705.php) and he and Jonny M strode out to bat.
Chalfont St. P. looked a mixed side of colts, some useful youngsters and a certain 1s player who was later to stand out throughout the match!
We got off to a steady if unspectacular start with Scott finding his feet again and both openers coming to terms with what looked an excellent flat pitch, albeit with a raised section and dip. This generated some variable bounce and later became known as ‘The Chalfont Ridge’!
Once Scott got his eye in, he wasted not time in biffing the young opening bowlers to all parts.
Sadly, the good old ‘leg stump full toss’ took another victim, as Scott middled it but only manged to find one of their decent fielders on the deep mid-wicket boundary. Still, 47 for the opening partnership was a decent start, with more power to come.
Captain Tom joined Jonny M and was in imperious form with come sumptuous drives, sweeps and pulls. He dispatched young William’s wayward first over to all parts, leading to the young man having a near melt-down. But in Tom’s words….’they’ve got to learn not to bowl half-trackers!’
At the half way point and drinks, P&Js had reached 76 for 1. Tom and Jonny M decided it was time to press the ‘pedal to the metal’, however Jonny M perished soon after, hitting one straight to deepish mid off. In came Dave L and he and Tom took the score passed 100.
It was all going swimmingly well and Tom bought up a well-deserved run-a-ball fifty with ease. Sadly in the space of an over they were both gone. First Dave got a good one from Holdship and then a direct hit from a quick single saw Tom adjudged to be short of his ground. Suddenly PJs were 136 for 4.
However, we needn’t have worried, both Mark and Ben played some lovely shots around the ground along the quick outfield to get the score motoring along again. By the time that Mark had been dismissed for a very promising 17, we had reached 168 with 4 overs to go.
Enter Matty T! Now Matty, has always had the ability to ‘swing the willow’ and I am sure that father JT will say ‘I taught him that’, but watching some of Matty’s shots, it soon became clear that these were not something out of ‘JT’s batting locker’!
He connected to great effect featuring two towering sixes (no, we haven’t forgotten your six at Totteridge all those years ago JT!) and PJs hit the 200 mark in the last of the 35 overs. 204 for 5 seemed a decent total off 35 overs and a real team effort to get it there.
After ‘Tea’, there was still no sign of this forecast rain, in fact if anything some flecks of blue sky were spotted.
Out strode Chalfont’s two opening bats, Ahmed and Asheen. Now, Asheen had kept very tidily during the first half of our innings, then had a bowl and also took a catch. Somehow after the first over we knew we could be in a spot of bother with his batting too.
There is something about very decent bats, in that they hit the ball hard no matter what shot they play. All you can hope is you get them early. Sadly, we didn’t, not that we put down any chances either. The rub of the green seemed to be with the batsmen and when they did go aerially, we just didn’t have a fielder there.
However, Nathan bowled with a lot of heart and he did get his rewards as bro Josh held a mistimed drive to mid on to dismiss Ahmed and then got young Williams to nick off to Tom behind the timbers. This bought in another useful bat Usman and he and Asheen rattled the score along at 6 an over despite Nathan, Dougie and JT’s best efforts.
Tom turned to spin to try and change things up, with Josh and Dave having a bowl. This worked up to a point, but the odd bad ball an over still ended up over the ropes. Despite the fielding being generally pretty good, no chances were given and the batsmen scored pretty freely. In fact, our strategy mainly consisted of getting Asheen off strike!
By the time the score had reached 158 for 2 in the 27th over, Asheen, who had 102 of them, decided enough was enough and retired to the pavilion. Matty T came on to bowl and the game shifted a bit.
He removed Usman for 36 (another catch by Josh, this time in the gully) and then Ben gloved one high into the air, only for Tom to complete formalities behind the stumps. Suddenly Chalfont were 179 for 5 and we sniffed a chance.
It was not to be, as Matty immediately got a side-strain and couldn’t bowl quickly anymore. Scotty completed the over and blew off some cobwebs!
With the rate at 5 an over, Surijaan and Holdship kept their heads as Tom mixed up his bowlers with Ben in particular bowling a good spell, proving hard to get away at the death.
Sadly, they reached the target with a boundary with 4 balls to spare under now bright blue skies, so much for the forecast of rain!
So, a narrow defeat, but a good team performance and a very enjoyable afternoon against a decent crowd and lovely ground. Onwards to Long Marston on the 30th!