The penultimate match of the Hyde Heath 2010 season, and sadly the last for your humble correspondent – thanks, family. I'm aware that this blog is perhaps becoming more about my burgeoning drink problem rather than the cricket, so I'll try and stick to the point this time. What was the point again?
Oh yes, cricket. For the first time ever we paid a visit to Abbots Langley. Apparently we always play them at the Heath because they love our teas so much. Well, it's understandable, but theirs was truly excellent too. I wouldn't ever presume to advise our tea-making committee, but the onion bhajis and samosas did go down extremely well. Just a thought...
What was the point again? Right, yes, sorry. We won the toss and elected to field first in a 40-overs per side game, and I have to say I've never seen the Heath field as well as we did today. It really was exceptional – highlights included Nick's catch at backward square leg, Brad's at cover, and Charlie's (yes, Charlie's) at mid-off. But the outstanding performance was by Spencer, who with catches, chases round the boundary and brilliant diving stops must have saved a good 20 runs on his own. It was really pretty impressive. Even I only misfielded once, I think.
Jez and Shrimpie bowled well early doors to keep Abbots Langley pegged back, but they began to find their range when Nick and myself came on to bowl – their left-hander hit some massive sixes off both of us. But the drinks break brought a change in fortune as I picked up two wickets in the over. One – Brad's catch to remove the destructive leftie – was particularly impressive as Brad had only just arrived at the ground, having landed from America that morning.
Ordinarily at this stage we would have closed in for the kill, but because it was limited overs we held back a little. That's when the game becomes boring and I'm so glad we normally play time games where the emphasis in the field is always about wickets and not maidens. Nonetheless we did well to keep them to around 180 and were pretty confident about chasing down the target.
Unfortunately our innings never got going, and despite a classy 50 from Shrimpie, a sensible supporting role from Spence (whose batting is beginning to get there) and some late fireworks from Sohail, we fell well short.
Of interest coming into the final match are various awards, still very much up for grabs. The Bowling Cup is very tight between Jez on 30 and Brad with 28, although Shrimpie could stage a late bid if he takes 7-fer. More important though is the Duck Cup. Half the squad it seems have got two this season but, with a golden duck each, Jez and I are tied for first place on count back. The fact that my other duck was a second baller might see me in trouble if nobody bags a blob in the final match. Fingers crossed – I don't think I could stand the humiliation.