Pit of Wolves – for the bowlers

vs Woolpit (away) 29th May ’21

As the first stragglers turned up at the oppo ground, and pondered the etymological derivation of Woolpit, it turns out we were wrong ! ‘Pit of Wolves’ from the 10th century, would you believe it ?

Meanwhile, back in the real world those same early arrivers wondered at how a village of 2,000 people had ended up with two bowling green-like pitches, five fixed nets, two movable ones, multiple Adult, Women’s, & Junior teams, and a pavilion that, er, didn’t quite match the splendour of the surroundings. (get on with it, you’re not Kevin McCloud ! – Ed)

Onto the match itself, and Colne were looking for a 4th consecutive league victory that would put them back on top of the table. The skipper won the toss again and chose wisely to bat, given the late arrival of three players. With new player David Mead set up with the online scoring app and Pat taking the place of late arrival David as an opener, everyone settled down for a carefree snooze or to play the game of “what avoid options did Harry put in his satnav today?” Ipswich, Bury, places ending in “-ham”, roads, etc.

Soon enough though troubles arose as Pat having reached a chanceless 4*, missed a straight one, and David M’s problems trebled. Daryl & David G. embarked on a lengthy partnership that would ultimately be match-winning, whilst our plucky scorer was having trouble telling them apart…or was the iPad playing games of it’s own ? We may never know, but when David G. was finally stumped having scored an excellent 56 (4 of which he had to run between the wickets for), the skipper at the other end was starting to motor through the gears, calming the Chairman’s constant run-rate concerns by hitting many consecutive boundaries. He was joined by Sam, promoted up the order and under strict instruction to play positively on the front foot, instructions that were not needed as he smote several leg-side over-pitched balls off his legs with consummate ease. His six that disappeared over the trees in this manner will be long remembered.

Daryl’s century came with the usual yawns from the under-appreciative Colne spectators – “we’ve waited five matches for this, I want my money back!”, followed by a further flurry of boundaries before offering up a catch to depart for a superb 120. With Jack joining Sam, five overs to go, and plenty of heavy-hitters to come, it was time for the fireworks ! Sure enough, these two pushed the scoring rate on well, so that when Connor came in with two balls to go, the bowlers were under such pressure that four wides and four byes later, our VC was wondering what he’d have to do to get a ball he could hit. A final score of 271-4, including a generous helping of 40 extras meant that Colne could tuck into their Ready Salted / mini Chicken Kev’s / Pasta Surprise well satisfied that they were well on their way.

Nothing is straightforward with Colne though, and just as we hoped we would knock the oppo over as easily as we had batted, have a drink, then be back on the road in good time for the start of the footie to see one team in blue beat the other team in blue, it all went a little pear-shaped. Our bowling attack, considerably strengthened over the past year, suffered an attack of the collective yips. Only Connor was able to escape the curse of the wides, but even he couldn’t get a wicket, but by only giving away 24 runs from his allotted 11 overs it did at least put the scoring pressure on the home side. Harry was the next pick of the bowlers with 1-33 from 7 overs, whilst Jack’s banana deliveries paid off, twice hitting the stumps. Alex discovered that Friday-evening-in-the-nets form couldn’t be replicated directly but picked up the only other wicket to fall, Ben had troubles with his line, Tom & Daryl went for a few, whilst David G. & Pat (as the only players old enough to remember) were startled to see that former Aussie skipper Kim Hughes had made a quiet comeback in the lower leagues of Suffolk, scoring 62* as Woolpit picked up a lot of cheap batting points in an ultimately fruitless chase. Some good fielding by David M. was rather spoilt by some not-so-good by various others, including one catch that Sam will have replayed all night.

So victory by 42 runs, and a lot of cliched lessons learned / discussed: “winners keep winning”, “25 wides is 25 too many”, “the records state 3 byes only, how can you sack the ‘keeper !”, “HOW much for a small bottle of beer?”, “maybe a trial run with the online scoring system would have worked better”…. etc etc

Next week back home to the Himalayan undulations of Earls Colne compared to the finest fescue bowling green of Woolpit, and a local derby with Halstead. This will be the match that would have been a league game, had our oppo not pulled out of the league …..when they saw we were in it. As a footnote, Colne fans will be disappointed that this season will not see the unveiling of the much-anticipated 30x15m electronic scoreboard, planned for blotting out the view of the shed, not as thought initially through a lack of welders, but through an abundance of mice feasting on the vital innards. Other plans are afoot…..

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