Wednesday, 3 July 2013

HHCC vs Great Gaddesden

Me bowling

Scorchio! The hottest day of the year so far (probably) saw an under-strength Hyde Heath XI brushed aside by the might of Great Gaddesden, although, whilst the eventual winning margin of around 80 suggests a thrashing, we did have our moments, and with a bit more luck/application/talent, could well have pulled off something special. Alas, it was not to be.

Missing several players meant that Jez assumed the gloves behind the stumps (as 4th choice keeper? 5Th?) and our bowling attack featured no less than four spinners with just the one seamer (Mike Perera, playing his first match for the Heath and his first game of cricket in a decade). On a divine track for batting (flat and easy-paced – nice work My Duck!) we were always going to be in trouble unless a) somebody bowled like a genius, or b) the opposition were terrible. Unfortunately, neither came to pass, as a succession of spinners – Nick bowling off-breaks, Shrimpie, Richie and myself – all singularly failed to do anything dramatic.

Like a thoroughbred horse, GG (geddit?!) got off to a flier, with Mike's extra pace proving much to the liking of their top order. With a few more matches under his belt, he'll be an excellent addition to the team (his batting – brief but wristily brutal – could also come in very useful) but this time proved expensive. He was given especially harsh treatment by their hard-hitting number 3 – at one time a talented fast bowler who had trials with Derbyshire, but reduced to bowling spin (and thrashing us round the park) by cruciate ligament damage. He hit one biggest sixes I've ever seen at the Heath, and at one stage we had everyone on the boundary against him. It may have been a negative tactic, but it worked, as he drilled my first ball – the trademark wide long-hop – to Shrimpie at deep cover. Class.

Jez encouraging the troops...

Shrimpy and I were then able to slow things up for a time, but we both probably bowled too many overs (24 between us) and it might have been worth giving Stanley or Atif a whirl. I struggled to quite find the rhythm of previous matches, but finished with four wickets, which could easily have been more in Gaddesden's eventual total of 220. Jez, you may be interested to hear, did an excellent job behind the stumps. He dropped a very tough chance of me, and missed a tight stumping chance when he got carried away with a caught behind appeal, but he did take a good catch off my bowling and gave away only 2 byes (or was it 1?) in the whole innings.

Tea of course was a highlight – Atif's pakoras and chicken tikka of particular note.

Then Shrimpie and I strode out to open the batting against, *gasp*, a woman! We negotiated her opening spell and that of an ok medium-pacer at the other end, and were just beginning to build something that could have been significant when I decided to play a pull-shot (last seen: 1998) and got myself bowled. Urgh. It was the best I've ever felt batting, on a flat pitch, against not enormously challenging bowling. That half century is never going to come...

That led to a bit of a collapse as Atif was run out (your correspondent was diplomatically looking the other way so cannot say for sure which of Shrimpie or Atif was to blame) before new player Mark was beaten by their Derbyshire spinner, who was turning it both ways (albeit slowly off the pitch and with a discernible change of wrist position). From there, most of our middle order got starts, with Shrimpie, Mike and Nick all scoring between 20 and 40 at decent pace, but we were losing too many wickets. When Charlie came out to bat at number 11 with 12 overs still to block out, it never looked likely. Jez settled things by having a heave at the widest delivery you could possibly imagine, and that, ladies and gentlemen, was that.

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