Colin’s Bouncing Bat Can’t Save Colne

Down to sunny Witham went our intrepid band of cricketing gods, ready for another day of high performance (Ed: What??), banter, high fives and fielding prowess, second to none. The reality was a slight variation on this grand plan, more of that later!!!
As we waited for Chin and Tom to arrive the skipper went out for the toss. One look at this strip told you this was going to more of a road than the A13, with less deviation than a Monastery. And so it proved. Our resourceful Captain chose to bat first and made a masterful switch to the batting order, based on who was at the ground at the time. Sleeman and Holdgate Snr to open. Chin arrived and became our revised number 3 and no doubt Tom would arrive soon………
After one over we had 1 run, after 2 overs we had 24 runs. The one over spell from Humphries yielded 23 runs!!! His radar clearly constructed in toytown and he wondered off into the long grass to contemplate what had gone wrong. The openers were showing more cut and thrust than D’artagnan (Historical reference – French Musketeer).
The impressive Sarah Bendall bowled a full and straight line to return impressive figures on this pitch of 9 overs for 36, keeping the Colne protagonists from really cutting loose. At 20 overs we were 100-0 and Daryl had yet another 50, whilst Colin continued serenely along, looking born for the job, the years were being rolled back and we were witnessing the cricketing version of Back to the Future, we were now in 1985, Colin had no intention of getting out any time soon.
Finally, with runs flowing nicely, in the 34th over Daryl holed out for 78 and the openers had managed 178 for the first wicket, meanwhile Chin had pad rash. Somewhere around this time we had our champagne moment, Colin, now completely in command of his game, for reasons best known to himself, completed the equivalent of a ‘keepy uppy’ in the middle of a Premier League game. 
Whilst sprinting (relative term) up the wicket for a second run he threw his bat to the ground, kicked it with his right foot to achieve the perfect level of bounce and forward movement, then as the bat handle came back off the ground, Colin caught it in the same hand it was released from, all without breaking stride…..class is permanent!!!
Chin added a quick fire 14, then Willy (10 n.o.) joined big Col for a final push. The runs were quickly piling up and oxygen was needing to be administered. Our man finished on 96 not out, never really looked like getting out and would probably still be batting now if he hadn’t run out of overs. This was a master class in how to open the batting.
I am still not sure how many runs we scored, the scoreboard had throughout the innings, showed a chameleon like quality as the operators Hector and Harry grappled manfully with the technology. The score changed regularly, up and down more often than 20 kids on pogo sticks, after eating a tub of ice cream. 
We walked off the pitch on 223-2, and walked back on with 231-2, having scored 8 runs whilst at tea!! That is a good pitch if ever I saw one.
As we took the field forlorn looks were cast to the car park as we waited in vain for our 11th man, who we were beginning to believe had been sent to the Russian front. This was to become more of a factor as the match wore on.
In response, Witham had started well, the first ball went for 4 as Beaty (64) set about the bowling and Atkinson began striking the ball solidly, keeping up with the run rate. In the 11th over Atkinson whacked a short ball from Brommers straight at the unfortunate Doylie, who faced with the ‘catch it or wear it’ choice did a mixture of both. When the ball was finally extracted from somewhere about his person it was established, we had our first wicket. A super Yorker from Harry quickly snaffled the no. 3 and we were back in the game. Hurrah!!
However, the batsmen kept coming and runs flowed freely, the bowling was a tad loose and was being punished, with Brommers, Chin and Doyle failing to hit regular line and length and all going for over 6 an over. Good catches from Chin and Gavin supported what was to be an excellent spell of bowling from the skipper (13-2-47-2) but in truth we were not able to keep the rate down from the other end.
The ground was appearing to get bigger and the ball kept going into spaces, despite the grand efforts of Hector diving around like Tom Daley to stop everything he could. Finally, in the last over the measured batting of Facey (59n.o.) and Tinham (61n.o.) saw Witham over the line. Witham had won a fine game of cricket to achieve 16 points whilst a good display from EC saw them gain 7 points from a close contest on a fine day. 
Colne were left to rue some wayward bowling, the lack of a Witham second team game on the day, and that crucial 11th man. However, cricket was the winner and our joint M.O.M’s were Daryl and Colin.

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