Saturday, 1 June 2013
It's been a slow start to the season for Cricket Tragics in more ways than one. I missed the third and third matches of the season; the second - away against the Lee - mostly involved eating, drinking and watching the rain; and when I finally do get to play in a full-length match, it takes me the best part of a week to get round to writing about it. But it's wort the wait.
Critics of this blog (of whom there are none) often point out how much the emphasis is on my own exploits rather than those of the rest of the team. "Cricket is a team game," they say. To which I reply: "History is written by the victors! Or, in this case, the writing about the cricket is mostly about the person writing it because he's not that interested in what the rest of the team are up to, and, besides, can rarely remember much of it unless he's directly involved." A pithy retort, I'm sure you'll agree.
But not this time! No, this time, the writing is all about me, for a reason: because I actually did the cricket quite well. A sunny day dawned bright and fair at home at Fortress Heath, and, with Charlie winning the toss, we found ourselves fielding against two technically sound young Chesham openers on a flat, slow pitch. Luke and Sohail both bowled with pace and accuracy but there were no demons in the pitch, nor inside the heads of the opposition, and they were happy to build a careful opening stand.
At this stage the skipper turned to yours truly - usually the moment in each innings when the batsmen's eyes light up and the run rate rockets. But modelling a new run up (actually sort of nearly a run, rather than the geriatric shuffle of yester-season). I bowled reasonably accurately and even got a bit of turn up the slope. The odd over was expensive but I was given a rare extended spell. It was all rather enjoyable despite being made made to wait a long time for a wicket. But as Chesham looked to up the run rate, batsmen began to come and go in a hurry. In total, I bowled 16 overs for 70ish runs (still a bit expensive) and took 6 wickets, of which no less than 3 were excellently stumped by Dom Haddock (two fairly wide and turning wider, and the other pushed down the leg-side).
In between all this excitement, I even took a catch - probably the best catch I've ever taken, running forwards from short fine-leg, then diving full-stretch (or that's what it felt like, it was probably more like an uncoordinated tumble) to grasp it just off the turf.
Luckily I made up for all of this by helping to run Jez out after our top order had failed to show the same discipline as Chesham. After our chase of Chesham's 195 had ground to a halt in a flurry of poorly executed heaves, Jez and I were calmly blocking out the remaining overs. But then Jez called, I hesitated, we both hesitated, Jez ran a bit and stopped, I ran a bit more and stopped, and then we decided that the best course of action was evidently to have a meeting in the middle of the pitch to discuss whether there ought to have been a run or not. I was sent on my way, before being called back by a very selfless Stevens. Unfortunately Charlie was out to a good one a few balls later and the team had registered a second home loss of the season.