Not the most exciting game of cricket I've ever played in, but nonetheless a strong win for the Heath away at Ballinger. Things started badly as – with Charlie picking up Amala from the station and Spencer running late – we took the field with only 8 players, no captain and only one opening bowler. The first few overs were terrible as Jez and Shrimpie bowled repeatedly short and wide and Ballinger motored along at 7 an over.
But Charlie's return saw a marked improvement in discipline from the bowlers and enthusiasm from the fielders and we were soon right back in it. Jez bowled splendidly on a pitch with a bit of pace and bounce to scythe through Ballinger's powerful, if a little cavalier, top order. To take six wickets after an expensive start was a great effort – the highlight probably being the uprooting of the middle stump on no less than three occasions.
After some tedious resistance from Ballinger's tail – during which time I struggled to find much rhythm – we eventually bowled them out for 168, an eminently gettable target.
Tea – as so often when we play away – was distinctly below par. It made one yearn for the home-baked cakes of Hyde Heath and Nick's signature chicken tikka sandwiches, which I inexcusably forgot to mention last week.
Anyway, to the run chase, and against some disciplined bowling we didn't start well: Capper was caught and bowled, Shrimpie edged a drive to 1st slip, and Napes had his off stump removed. But Dom was still there and playing with increasing fluency, and he was joined by Brad who helped to steady the ship. When he was out, in strode Nick who – probably in an attempt to prove a correlation between quality of sandwiches and quality of batting – proceeded to destroy Ballinger's bowling attack.
With Dom and Nick in full flow we cantered along towards the target, and although it all must have been very entertaining, I'm afraid to say I spent more time concentrating on our own little game in the net with a half-width bat. But Nick made 40 with a couple of sixes and Dom was last out for 75, and in the end we won pretty comfortably. Back home next week – thank God.