vs West Bergholt away 8th Aug ‘20
With the thermometer touching 35, and the dead brown grass of the pitch denoting another potential boundary-fest, the Colne players faced up to their first challenge of the day @ West Bergholt – how to park your car as far away as possible from the inevitable pounding. That done, we awaited the arrival of the home opposition who clearly subscribed to the social conditions of last minute arrival and keeping chat to a minimum !
Skipper Sleeman continued his great form of losing the toss away from home and we would be fielding first. “Hurrah” we all cried, a chance to work on the tan whilst our well-drilled bowling unit kept skitty batsmen down to the occasional nervous single. However, we faced an opening batsman whose front-foot driving kept mid-off and cover on high alert, and even after he generously retired at 50, we were encountering another quality batting outfit.
When the other opening bat opted to send up a skier, we literally had a chance to draw lots as to whom was best-placed to make the catch. Just as the pop-up betting stand was having it’s final coat of paint, Ben the bowler shouted his strong claim, safely took the catch, then realised that he might have outbid the stronger claims of eight or nine team-mates. We like your confidence in us, Ben !
Just like last week though, wickets would not come cheap. Connor & Sam – on his birthday – bowled their full complement without any reward, Jack ‘game-changer’ Holdgate returned economical figures for the first time in quite a while as well as taking a wicket, Alex deciding that after putting down some tricky chances and one less so, his future participation with ECCC depended on taking a catch. His ability to throw himself around also earned him some lovely grass burns, and as we saw later, his utter remorselessness in no longer wishing only to score binary numbers (0,1) increased his batting average way up towards 2.
It’s not often that we yearn for a missing player, but as WB pushed on towards 200, where was our tricky leg-spinner, our handsome, muscle-rippling superstar Dave Moon (is this sufficient to make up for last week ? Ed) We needed someone to tie down the increasingly attack-minded hosts, with a simple tap towards the road end bringing many of the 45 boundaries scored, and plenty of 3’s on offer in the opposite direction; Colin and then Daryl taking some tap in the final 6-7 overs, the former subscribing to the mantra often used by other over-50 part-time snafflers of “I might be expensive but look who took most wickets !”
So with a final total of 256-4, Colne could be reasonably pleased; only 8 extras and the return of the Mason-ator bowling machine ! On this pitch and the strong batting lineup assembled we would be playing the annual game of “Where the heck is the nearest open pub to WB’s ground?” by 6.30.
Assumptions always get the better of you though, and at West Bergholt they have Joe Smith. Discarded by Colne four years ago on a free transfer, Smithy has perfected the art of sending scorers to sleep with his dot-joining, and Colne were soon under the cosh, only 26 on the board after 10 overs and 55 after 18. It was always going to be a hard chase from there. There were highlights though; Daryl again top-scoring with 44, Daryl being caught out YET AGAIN, Daryl giving Pat out lbw (as revenge for the same fixture last year), almost every other batsman making a start and finding the boundary regularly and two of them (Alex & Sam) enjoying a free-flowing fully-consensual partnership at the end with nothing to lose. Special mention as well to David G., who on also being given out lbw, admitted he would have walked if the finger hadn’t been raised
With Harry on the sidelines doing a sterling job on the scoring (up to the point where you have to add up the totals, Harry!) there was no disgrace in falling 80-odd runs short. We faced a team capable of bowling back-of-a-length consistently where we had offered up too many full or short deliveries. However, the skipper is confident that with this group of players, and the improvements made since last year, we will be strong contenders in our league next year.
Next week, it’s the Colne derby, the one-train track only village – Chappel & Wakes Colne, at the Rec ground.