After an extremely long weather- and marriage-induced break, Cricket Tragics were back with a bang this Sunday. In truth, we did play a couple of weeks ago (away against Ivinghoe and Pitstone) but have now completely forgotten what happened. We apologise yet again to our long-suffering readership.
Yesterday saw Fortress Heath subjected to some extremely bizarre weather, with patches of bright summer sun interspersed with deluges on an apocalyptic scale. There was even a moment of hail, I think. Fortunately the Heath's state-of-the-art weather-countering systems (three big plastic sheets) prevented the pitch from being ruined, and there were sufficient periods of non-rain for 35 overs per side (although we didn't end up finishing until about 8pm).
After we won the toss and elected to field, Cublington's openers compiled a steady stand that laid a platform for a big innings – careful at first against Jez and Luke before opening up as Spence struggled a little with his line. Charlie – not our erstwhile skipper but a relative newcomer to the Heath – broke the stand with his probing left-arm seam and bowled with accuracy, a bit of movement and some good bounce to take 4 wickets in total.
Of primary interest though of course is the bowling of Hyde Heath's première leg-spinner. How he's been missed in all those rained-off matches! Well it didn't start well, as their captain hit some brutal shots in taking my first over for 12 (or maybe it was more – I forget). But I had my revenge. A massive LBW shout first ball of my second over was followed up with a defensive stroke betraying new-found respect. Then the third ball, he was done in the flight and clean bowled. It was unsurprisingly satisfying.
After keeping it so tight for so long we let things slip quite badly in the last ten overs of the Cublington innings and allowed the oppo up to a potentially challenging 172 from their 35 overs.
Potentially challenging of course were it not for my staggeringly dull innings of 37, batting at number 2. After Dom and Alex departed early, my role was pretty much to see off their captain – who bowled with decent pace and moved it cleverly both ways. This I just about managed whilst at the other end Nicko was looking increasingly classy. The customary timing and power were now allied to some good thinking – when he drilled a four through the covers, and then followed it up with a calmly pushed single to take advantage of the change in the field, he looked set for a big one. Alas, he was sawn off by a simply staggering catch at square leg – a flat six somehow plucked cleanly from the sky.
Harry kept the run rate up so I didn't have to, before I perished trying to actually score a run. Despite a few later wickets, Luke showed his class to see us home by three wickets with two overs left. A hard-fought, close match with some quality cricket and a victory for the Heath. What more could you want??