Bickley Park CC – 3rd XI vs Blackheath CC, Kent – 5th XI
WOOHOOOO – BICKLEY 3s BRILLIANT END OF SEASON RALLY SECURES MET LEAGUE STATUS
Winning by six wickets with 15 overs to spare. We would have taken that, in fact for most of the day we would have taken a completed match and gaining two more points than Bromley Common!
Starting at 12:30 to allow the skipper to get away early for a night out in Southampton was the plan, as was having 11 fully kitted out players at the start: But “Loads of runs” getting injured at 4:00am in the morning, two late call-ups and a pair of whites still hanging on Mum’s washing line meant at the allotted time we had 9 players and 8 pairs of trousers! Not a very auspicious start. It was probably fortunate that Sunny lost the toss with a dry track crossed by a river bed just short of a length removing the headache of establishing just how the fickle Warren square would perform!
Taking to the field with 8 pairs of trousers we managed, by a series of loose shoe laces and extended field settings, to string things out long enough to at least have a full complement of players when the first ball was bowled! Starting slowly with the customary warm-up balls disappearing to the boundary, we quickly realised that this week we were not only not playing LBW’s but also one-day wides were being enforced and, with 13 off the first 2 it was looking like it might be a long day, particularly as the bounce and pace of the track was the best I had ever seen. Gradually Vishesh and firstly “I don’t need spikes” Chug and the Skip brought us back into line. By the time we had the full set of trousers we were beginning to strangle the opposition.
Trouser delivery was a talking point which will require some work over the winter as a car turned up, horn was blown and trousers were first waved pennant like inside the car before being dropped unceremoniously outside, before the car disappeared: Apparently the delivery operative had also berated her already trousers deficient son for;
- Moving from where he had been dropped off: and
- Not keeping his phone on! As I said, off season training required.
The full set of whites brought our first wicket. Vishesh cart wheeling the off stump leading to a 5-minute search for one of the bails. It went a long way!
But there was no flurry of wickets, merely a continual generation of pressure, so much so that we achieved the rare distinction of a 9-1 field. Sunny’s own attempt at a stump cartwheel was not quite so impressive, a matter of the brain of a slower delivery over brawn but with 14 gone and 38 for 2 we were satisfied. Double all of those figures and it was game on. By now Sunny could do very little wrong. Simon Davis replaced Vishesh and quickly got his name in the wickets column as a top edge ballooned to a point equidistant between the Skip and Spikes. Ably taken eventually by the Skip despite the lack of a call and with each ignoring the other. Not a great look for those of us watching!
For his next wicket Sunny thought it best not to utilise anyone else with a well executed caught and bowled. Twenty overs gone and 66 for 4. Most of our opponents had stuck around for a while but none had broken the 20 barrier. Indeed the only score that did eventually breach it was the extras, with over two additional overs being required to be bowled and 23 runs added to the score. 66 for 4 became 66 for 5 as Vishesh took a good catch at deep mid-off, again off Simon Davis. Should be all over soon! Blackheath’s lower middle of Messrs Jain and Azim had other ideas as they first dropped anchor with the clear aim of batting through the overs and then, when that seemed more likely to accelerate the Blackheath score towards a defendable position.
Not for the first time we went through a period in a game where we seemed to take our foot off the accelerator, “Trousers” seemed to have left his bowling radar on the washing line and Spikes illustrated that not having them meant that you could not turn and chase a cricket ball running along the ground as quickly as with them: And Vishesh deciding to fall over (very unconvincingly) rather than risk a race with Sahil Bhagat towards the fence. By over 30 and Blackheath now on 118 our thoughts turned to the prospects of chasing 170, a figure not often chased down at The Warren as the pitch habitually gets slower and lower as afternoon turns to evening.
Time for Whirly Wiley Anuj to bring back some control: A stuttering start before he gained his line and length; to be fair though the short wide long hop that allowed Batsmen Jain to pick out a half asleep Bhagat at point was more the catalyst than the improvement!
For his second wicket of Jain the batter was done all ends up, as indeed was keeper Marcus Day: Stumped is what it says in the book, rather than Batter misses, keeper drops it, batters topples over and walks down the pitch, Keeper picks up the ball and breaks the wicket! Still a wicket it was. 123 for 7 with 8 overs to go! We are into the tail and Anuj is keeping one end quiet. Time to bring back Vishesh up the hill to wrap things up. From the first ball we knew he had just got to bowl a straight one and sure enough five balls ( yes five balls!) later the straight ball arrived and the batter departed! Now it was all about how many of their overs were we going to get with the answer coming soon enough 129 all out in 36, with Mihan Perez taking a good running catch to bring matters to a close. Pick of the Bowlers was Vishesh with 10 overs 4 -16.
Tea’s initial discussions were more geared to whether we should put the covers on rather than how many runs we had gifted them. The answer to the second was 20-30 and fortunately prudence prevailed and we were sitting having a cup of tea with a covered pitch when the heavens opened.
A small prayer then that we had not started at 1pm; rather than sitting having our sarnies looking forward to 44 overs to get 130, we might have been in the Blackheath 34th over; innings not complete. Similarly, provided both games finished Bromley Common had to do something to counteract the five bowling points we had already collected with the expectation that we would, at the very least get some batting point.
Tea was extended as the rain stopped and pitch dried, albeit the river bed of the first innings was added to by several more water channels. Hope was that these amendments to the playing conditions were not going to ruin it for us.
Simon Davis and Marcus Day, after last week’s solid performances were sent out to start, however with Marcus unable to repeat, the rain returned after over two: 9 for 1 on the board leaving us time to reflect on a difficult season made slightly more anxious by the prospect of the game not being completed or, worse the pitch becoming unplayable with the added moisture! Just a couple of decent partnerships was all we needed.
Finally the rain stopped and sun returned. Let’s just get this finished.
We were always ahead of the rate and despite Simon picking out mid-on with rapier precision, and Trousers (34) and Vishesh (22) missing straight deliveries after making good contributions from pick of Blackheath bowlers, Jain, at 71 for 4 in the 17th anxiety levels were not too high; sixty to get with the shine off the ball now and 28 overs to get them. All we need to do is bat on a behaving pitch and the runs will come.
But with new Batters, Messrs Bhagat and Chug at the crease, there is always going to be a concern. Bhagat innings began with patient probing and single harvesting whereas Chug: well he complied with our expectations too! With 25 overs gone the partnership passed 35 it was now all about what time we will finish. Regularly gaining five an over now we were thinking 20 minutes and done: Bhagat, obviously with a dinner date decided sooner was best, opening his shoulders to harvest 3 successive 4s from the penultimate over. Not to be outdone, Chug brought us home with another boundary. 132 for 4 in the 29th with Bhagat finishing 39 not out and Chug 22. A partnership of 60 and a full complement of points; Surely enough for us to maintain our league status?
The lateness of the hour meant that the season end drinks was whittled down to just me, paying for tea in the bar! But what about Bromley Common? The answer came soon enough as the Bickley Park bound party realised Bromley Common was en-route and popped in. 12 points for them and a close loss!
Relief all around for a satisfying end to the season; roll on drinks next Saturday, a potential trip to Lord’s in a fortnight and next January and the positive chatter of pre-season nets.
|25th August 2018||1:00 pm||1B - Metropolitan 2018||2018|