Sunday, 28 July 2013

HHCC vs The Full Tossers

Another wicket for Shrimpie

A great week for sporting patriots (an Ashes thrashing, some rugby, that tennis fellow, some other stuff) reached what was universally acclaimed as its apotheosis on the hallowed turf of Hyde Heath last week, with a long-awaited maiden half century from your humble correspondent. Long-awaited, it must be said, in more ways than one: for not only is this something like my 14th season at the club, but it was also one of the most painfully tedious innings that Fortress Heath has had the misfortune to witness in some time.

Batting first after losing the toss, we lost Matty fairly early, before I (batting at three due to several absentees) and Shrimpie put on a hundred or thereabouts for the second wicket, of which I contributed about 12, or maybe 15, certainly no more than 20. Shrimpie was at his best, timing every shot perfectly and manipulating the ball into gaps with ease. I was leaving elegantly as ever, and playing and missing with real flair. The crowd surely sensed something special...

Once Shrimpie was out for 60-odd, played on (I think), Heath newcomer Mike (a friend of Shrimpie's form Lacey Green) proceeded to demonstrate what an asset he could be for the club with some powerful hitting and judicious defence on his way to an impressive debut fifty. Meanwhile, I pootled along, increasingly hot and exhausted, but really nailing the odd forward defensive. Strangely, I also hit my first six ever (a rank full toss obvs) and then somehow I had 50, before being caught (rather brilliantly in fact at long-on) attempting to hit another. Oh well.
I actually caught one

Of more note, perhaps, than my non-existent strokeplay was the occasionally fractious dialogue with the opposition, The Full Tossers. At the half-way stage of our innings they had only bowled 18 overs, and the more quickly Shrimpie scored, the slower the over-rate seemed to become. Whether or not this was a deliberate policy, there certainly did seem to be a lot of field changes (possibly to counter my vast array of strokes) and things did get more than a little frustrating - to the extent that words were exchanged and threats made. But we all kissed and made up shortly afterwards, as it should be with village cricket. By the time of tea, they'd bowled a perfectly respectable 40 overs, so all was well.

After some smashing cucumber sandwiches (thanks me!) it was back out in the blazing sun. Ali bowled his usual immaculate line and length and Shrimpie varied his pace and found some turn, and soon their top order were in tatters. Shrimpie took five wickets (of which I managed to catch one at midwicket) and by drinks, with no other bowlers used, the draw was the only option for the Full Tossers. From that point, it was a case of trying to winkle out the remaining wickets, with short spells for myself, Liam, Tim Nutman (making a welcome return to the club) and others. Despite a rare run out by me (bullet arm? Err, rubber bullets at best), we were unable to take that final wicket, as their captain bravely came out (in jeans, after having earlier retired hurt) and blocked out the final over. A four-jug draw, therefore, and very easily they went down too.

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