P&Js memories were made at the home of Old Finchleians in North London
(Do memories fade? Well, this is being written a couple of weeks after the event so we shall see! With our chief editor taking a hiatus to ponder and organise his impending trip out to Taiwan, our sub editor has stepped back into the breach for this one.)
‘It will rain at six’ and be ‘a pretty mixed bag weather-wise before that’, said all the weather forecasts. So, we agreed that a 35 over against Old Finchleians, a new fixture for the P&Js and a nice trip to North London (specifically for Dave L and Jonny M who for once got to play closer to home!).
Of course, English summer weather being what it is, it didn’t stick to the script and despite a very brief shower, we made it through under generally sunny skies. Having said that it didn’t affect the result in any way, as P&Js put together arguably their best bowling performance of the season so far.
A ‘comfortable’ P&Js victory is very much like England posting over 400 in their first innings, it doesn’t happen very often and its to be savoured when it does. If Alan Partridge was to commentate on the P&Js performance he would have used phrase such as ‘textbook’ and ‘liquid cricket’, need I say more!
After the all-spin attack against Aston, skipper Tom reverted to the seam of ‘Knuckle-ball’ Nathan and the seldom seen left arm of Scotty – the “thinking man’s Merv Hughes” (sans moustache, but an appetite to match)
They both kept things so tight, that you almost wanted both openers to stay in, as Old Finchleians crept along at 2 an over for the first 10. It was really good to see Scotty ‘blow off the cobwebs’ from the night before and get his deserved wicket at the end of the innings.
When Josh and Rod came on to replace them, they were equally as accurate and soon both were back on the hutch with good catches from Nathan and Purky.
Rod was as ever a handful on a pitch taking spin and a special mention should go to Josh for his best ever spell in a P&Js jersey. Full of variation but at such a good length that the batsmen were more intent on surviving, rather than scoring off him.
2-21 off his 7 overs was a great return and it should have been 2 more. We shall scoot quickly over other chances put down by Jonny M and Rory off his bowling! (Very strong sun leapt from the clouds at key moments – Ed.).
Dave L’s left arm was dependable and accurate as ever, as he bagged a brace. The highlight being when the young lad was stumped first ball by Tom behind the timbers and given out, only to be called back by skipper Tom since ‘it is a Sunday’.
Dave then proceeded to bowl him an absolute jaffa that splattered his stumps. Proof indeed that Dave always gets his man!
I am not sure that Jonny T would have taken Tom’s noble decision to recall him the first time round as calmly as Dave did! I have visions of disbelief on the ‘call back’ and a big ‘send-off’ by JT second time around!! As JT says ‘they have to learn…and they all look the same in the wickets column’
The final highlight of the innings (apart from Scotty’s caught and bowled to finish it off) was Rory, who joined the ‘battle of the brothers’ and probably dusted off more cobwebs that even Scotty to turn his arm over for the first time in a long while.
He had the toughest gig of bowling at their best batsmen, Howard (not the one from the Halifax ads) and produced a wonderful yorker to send him back, just when he was in good form and ready to unload shots all around the ground.
So Old Finchleians finished on 113, which to be honest never felt enough, even within 35 overs.
However, anyone with a vague knowledge of P&Js batting history knows we are more than capable of f8cking such a chase up…. not today!
Sraven and Jonny M opened up and soon got the scoreboard ticking nicely. Old Finchleians couldn’t stem the flow of runs and were looking frustrated with Sraven playing a shot-a-ball with some delightful shots around the wicket.
At the other end Jonny M did, what Jonny M does… leading to a chirp from the slips of ‘Hey guys, we’ve got one of them thinking he’s playing the Hundred… and the other one a timeless Test’.
Needless to say, next over Jonny M smacked the spinner straight over mid-off for a one bounce 4 and Sraven went one better by depositing him in the same area for a six…. As Joe Root should learn ‘Don’t poke the Tiger!’
They completed a 50-run opening partnership before Sraven played back to one that spun and was LBW.
Tom came in and wasn’t hanging about either, looked in great touch and can feel unlucky to be caught on the boundary after threatening to create mayhem. In came Purky and looked in great nick, punishing anything short.
By the time Jonny M’s second hamstring was going and he misjudged a very cheeky second run, the game was nearly done and we had reached 93. In came Rod to join Purky and they both finished it in style and time to spare, with 7 overs remaining.
So, a good day for PJs! I’m now off to get back on the phone to the Taiwan Visa Department, to further delay Tom’s departure….