Bickley Park “A” XI “100 percenters” met familiar rivals Blackheath this week at the Warren, keen to keep up the winning momentum, whilst also having quite a few absentees for the fixture. Nevertheless, we welcomed club stalwarts Phil Browning for his first league game of the season, Jules, also Matt back from uni, as well as 1st cap for Ayoob.
BPCC were all assembled well over an hour before the start, with ample time to perform some mild fielding drills and to survey the green top that awaited us – clearly a toss that was key for Sunny not to lose. Opposition had somehow found themselves at a completely different ground, and filtered in, only moments before the scheduled start of game, but showing no signs of urgency to play despite their tardiness. Blackheath duly eventually obliged, by losing at the toss, Sunny inserting them to bat.
Opening bowlers Vishesh and Sunny set about their toils, (Sunny uphill against a fairly stiff wind), with their usual miserly accuracy mixed with unplayable deliveries, on a fairly helpful pitch. Both bowled with good pace which kept the batsmen on their toes. Vishesh got the early breakthrough that had always looked on the cards – he thought he had trapped their opener leg before, only for the umpire to ruefully smile and shake his head, however the bails had dislodged as the ball had made its way through defences. Sunny then chipped in with two wickets in the next over – the other opener bowled, their number four followed two balls later, plumb infront of wicket. With Blackheath 10-3 after 6 overs, BPCC were pressing to wrap up the innings, however, by the time the opening spells had finished, Blackheath batsmen had dug in and proceeded to 50 odd for 3 off 14.
Simon and Phil came on first change and bowled frugally, with only 12 runs coming off the next 14 overs. Simon claimed lbw wicket in his second over; Phil was whirring away up the hill demonstrating his skills by mixing lengths, flight and pace in a fine display of spin bowling, unlucky to have gone wicket-less with a few chances that went begging. The batsmen at the crease finally woke up around over 30, and started to play some shots. With that in mind, our plucky keeper, Jack, stood up to the stumps to negate the advancing batsmen, but took a nasty blow on his only good hand. A few overs later, glove was removed to reveal a rather crooked finger and despite suggesting that someone on the pitch or in the bar may like to try to re-set said finger, with no immediate takers, Jack thought better of it and filed off to A&E.
Vishesh and Sunny returned to complete their spells, both picking up key wickets on their return, with now-keeper Marcus, snaffling two good catches, especially one going down the leg side. Blackheath ended with a few more than perhaps they should have had at 124-6 off their 40, especially as we’d restricted them from ball one, but a couple of their batsmen had ultimately played the situation sensibly. The pitch hadn’t completely mis-behaved, though the usual uneven bounce had prevailed.
Warren tea eagerly awaited, Eaton and Vishesh, in particular, ploughed through the, still frozen, Iceland falafels.
BPCC openers, Simon and Marcus went out to bat, knowing that runs and rate were of no issue, only the tumble of wickets would prevent us from attaining their total. The pitch had seemed to become more spiteful especially when batting at the bottom (“Welsh”) end, with Blackheath 6’4 foot opening bowler applying himself to an extremely nagging length, jagging the ball both ways with occasional nasty bounce. Fortunately, those bowlers coming up the hill fared less well, so there was always an end to score from. Both batsmen applied themselves well through the first 10, and with 35 on the board, the ball seemed to stick in the pitch for Marcus’s demise, lobbing an easy chance to mid-on. In came the experienced Phil, who batted positively and used his feet well, playing some excellent shots, before using his feet perhaps too well, aiming to wrap up the game early, advancing down the track to Blackheath’s talented young off-spinner, stumped metres out of his crease in the process. Simon continued to score relatively freely, but fell two short of fifty, bowled off his pads. 80-1 off 18, suddenly became 82-4 off 20, with Phil, Simon and now Jules back in the hutch. Jules had been pinned back in his crease leg before second ball. Mid-innings wobble ensued. Samit played his customary flair shots and started playing us out of trouble until he cut a wide one straight down gully’s throat. Chris fell cheaply LBW, which brought Vishesh and Sunny to the crease. Although we had advised Sunny to play straight and nudge the ball around, he went out gung ho, bat flying, but visibly focused on seeing us over the line. Both managed to connect some lusty blows to bring the game home in style within 33rd over – never in doubt…
Gentleman Jack, who had since completed his tour of the Pru was back with us, and with digit neatly back in place, also offered to go out and bat should he have needed to. Great to see this kind of commitment from him, and the whole team, with everyone who played contributing with bat, ball and in the field with spirit and camaraderie.
Indeed, this team spirit has underlined our season so far, with now 7 wins from 7. Those who were not available today were actively checking in on our progress on our team channel. Marco was even tracking our progress from 36,000 feet on his way to the other side of the world. He was also particularly proud to announce that he had managed to secure two in-flight meals within three hours of boarding, rather than the customary one, rueing, I think, the fact that he had missed out on the Warren tea!
As the evening wore on, and we exchanged stories with the 1’s and 2’s back at the Bickley bar, so Jule’s tales of how far he was actually out of his crease for his LBW had lengthened to at least three yards!
Next week is a break in the fixtures, so a well-earned rest for the team and Jack’s fingers. Week after is a tough fixture with 2nd in table, OD, so we will have to ensure we continue to dig deep, perform and play for each other to keep this season’s momentum going.
|15 June 2019||1:30 pm||1B - Met/West 2019||2019|