One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Vs Coggeshall @ home 1st Aug ‘20

Hobbs & Sutcliffe, Haynes & Greenidge, Hayden & Langer, Ganguly & Tendulkar….to this list we can now add another opening pair that have written themselves into the history books – Sleeman & Bromley .  Finally, an opening partnership, that unless this is the kiss of death, will see Colne through for many years to come.  One swallow doesn’t make a summer, but a 100+ opening partnership does for this club ! 

Shielding their eyes from the brilliant white glare of the new sightscreens, Colne strode out to bat first yet again, despite the opposition being four players short at the agreed midday start time.  Fortunately, our ‘gun’ substitute fielders were not called into action before being hoiked off, with Tom Woods stating to the home umpire “I’m dreading what to do if a catch comes my way!” Just as well the oppo hadn’t read up on these reports then….

With the Coggeshall attack varying from 14-year old medium pace dobblers all the way through to 16 year-old rocket launchers, our intrepid opening duo saw off the first 20 overs with barely a raised eyebrow.  Unless you count Brommers being floored by one particular ball zeroing in on two of his own – our man took it very well and despite his claims that boxes make little difference, he’ll definitely not be standing in the Bass section when the Club Choir reforms.

Skipper Sleeman eventually got bored as usual and departed for 69 after battering the tennis court fence with the score on 116 in the 23rd over – a great platform from which we could stage our habitual collapse no doubt, but not today.  We had batting & mental reserves in bucketloads. In came Sam Beal, with his eyes on a Tavarean 100, but within 5 overs he was gone for 10, and so too finally, Brommers for an excellent 38.  This bought together the partnership that everyone (well, maybe just the two of them) had been waiting for since they starred at Chappel & Wakes Colne many years ago – Holdgate jnr & Kerry.  With the latter’s bat having been warmed up for him by Brommers – his own having sounded odd from the very off – and Jack whacking his pads with the usual gusto, it would surely only be a short time before the spectators took cover from the barrage. In an evil attempt to get his own back on their delays affecting our own pitch, Pat put his 6’s as close to the contractors beavering away on double-time getting the all-weather pitch completed.  With the run rate safely back where he wanted it , Pat departed for 23 from 10 balls, caught in a manner totally unexpected, whilst Jack went for 13 attempting one back-foot cut too many.

Much was expected of Dave Moon after his last innings was tragically cut short by an innovative ‘cumulative lbw’ decision. Unfortunately, this one was also cut short by being asked to go for an unexpected 2nd run thanks to an overthrow.  Today’s modern policeman might be superfit, but Dave was already halfway to inspecting the new sightscreen when asked to apply the brakes and proceed back in an uphill southerly direction.  Run out for 10 still represented progress, and as he would say “I’m only here for my bowling”…..but not his catching, more later.

David Griffith at the other end meanwhile, was wearing the biggest smile seen at Earls Colne CC since our erstwhile reporter Ian Doyle once scored 2 singles in an over.  Not diminished at all because he had called his batting partner through for an easy 2nd run, David was just very happy to be making his long overdue debut for us.  Not so happy was the Chairman moments later as he ran to check the Club’s insurance cover when our new middle order destroyer hit a maximum that went somewhere that cannot be named here for legal reasons. In comparative terms, if at Lords, this would have cleared the Mound Stand and still be rolling down St John’s Wood Road towards Baker St.

He was joined in the middle for a final flourish by Connor.  Here was a man with a point to prove, that all that spectacular hitting in the nets when it doesn’t matter could be replicated in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of a real game. He duly delivered several boundaries and Colne’s final total was a respectable 217.  For the loss of only 6 wickets and contributions from all who batted, it was a massive improvement on the debacle of Eight Ash Green !

The tea interval gave us a chance to reflect on the great work done on preparing the pitch by the skipper and Terry, but would it’s clear batting advantages prove too easy for the youth of Coggeshall?

To save the suspense, the answer was yes, it did prove too easy for them.  They chased down the target in 32 overs, despite Colne using the full force of their bowling attack, but this was clearly not a pitch where wickets came cheaply.  Moonie celebrated his double-digit batting score by dropping a relatively straightforward caught and bowled chance (relative to say, putting your shoes on), but fortunately that batsman only went on to score a few more runs….89 of them.  He did pick up a lbw wicket, though the volume of his appeal was thought to have cancelled out the echoing sound of bat on ball before pad.  Sam decided he’d had enough of dropping dollies to give the skipper a wicket, and the newly-returned Ben Mason scored a superb direct run out, underarm from 30 yards out.

Having been hit for over 10 an over (as were a few others) Jack declined to bowl at the death, deciding instead that his ‘return to full fitness’ would not stand the mental anguish of being slogged for the winning runs.  So that privilege was passed to Pat, the skipper apologising profusely that he was turning to the game-changer 30 overs too late.  One delivery later and the ball was being retrieved from the tennis courts and no-one was listening to the excuse of “that would have been another Shane Warne-esque ball of the century, had it pitched”.

So another game where the result went against us, but in this friendly season and against opposition from a higher division, there should still be plenty of encouragement from this.  Every batsmen got in and contributed, the ground fielding has improved, Harry has discovered Earl Grey lager, and our luck has deteriorated as far as short aerial shots not landing near our fielders.  But we can console ourselves with knowing that had we been standing in the right spot, we would have dropped them anyway.

Onto next week, and a return fixture at West Bergholt.

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