vs Stradbroke (home, 19th June ’21)
As the covers were rolled off after the heavy Friday showers, the Colne ground staff were a little perplexed to discover the source of the new River Colnette, right where the match was due to take place. Against all odds though, they managed to ‘vanish’ away the water away and breathe some life into the spongey underlay , thereby ensuring a pitch that would offer something for everyone…unless you were a batsman.
Having promised he would opt to bowl if he won the toss, given the wet outfield as well, skipper Sleeman naturally lost the toss and we would be batting first. How many of our batsmen could get their head down and not be tempted into wafty shots giving catches or playing across the line ? This would be the test of man against pitch !
Daryl and David G. started solidly enough against a surprisingly strong Stradbroke bowling attack that had depth beyond just the openers. It was soon evident that boundaries would be at a premium. and that Colne’s policy of having quite a few players who might euphemistically be said to be ‘carrying some extra baggage’ would be thoroughly tested. Having reached 26 and given some warning of the catching practice he likes to entertain opposition sides with, Daryl duly sacrificed his wicket with a catch in the same old place. This allowed Pat to come in, get his eye in for the first 25-odd balls, then complain about a dodgy contact lens – as nearly all of his 25 runs came from streaky edges, there must have been something in what he was moaning about. He hung around long enough to see David’s fine innings come to an end for 31 (or 33 as he prefers to call it), as well as see the departure of not-so-fine ones from Nick and Sam. With bowler-turned-batsman Ben entering the fray on the back of an excellent 50 last week, and soon partnered with Brommers, it was a relief to hear that scorer-turned-paramedic David Mead was on hand with the defibrillator should it be needed.
Fortunately it wasn’t needed, but when Brommers ran a three, it was good to know that all hands were available and that the recent purchase of a new First Aid Kit was a wise decision. When Brommers was run out by a direct hit (like David G. before him), it only remained for Connor to do his usual with the limited time left, ‘spank, spank, out’ (similes and metaphors are available, but this is for family-reading, Ed.), whilst Dave Moon was given one ball to make an impression on the final score which he did. 159-7 therefore, not a huge score but a good psychological advantage to have broken past 150 on a difficult wicket.
Colne took to the field with yet another new-ball combo; this time it would the left-arm terrorizer of former wicket-keepers, Tom Moon, together with brother Dave, tormentor of batsmen with his vicious, spitting leg-breaks. Cricket being the entertaining game it is though, ‘Hero’ Dave from a fortnight ago (he took 6-11,zzzzz, Ed.) would find the going ‘hard to tough’ today whilst younger brother Tom, from the top end, had both openers back in the pavilion and changed back into their civvies before Harry P. had remembered where long leg was. David G,, behind the stumps, was the willing accomplice for both those two wickets, the first one being an amusing juggling act, the second more regulation ‘snick and even the umpire heard it’ type.
Today though, two wasn’t enough for Tom; he wanted the full jug. So he was helped by further catches from Daryl – taking it cleanly in the unmentionables low down at mid off; Pat – calling for it in a most un-Colne manner, and even surprising himself for a caught & bowled. Five wickets achieved, even more remarkable given that he went through his full 11 overs straight for only 20 runs.
The oppo were in trouble at 36-5, but surely this would be where we let them off the hook and fail to take all 10 wickets ? It wasn’t to be though today; Harry came on and bowled an economical four overs, taking one wicket, another fine catch by Ben in the covers (he does moan if his catches aren’t mentioned!, Ed.), whilst Connor held up any progress with his spell of 2-42. There should have been more wickets in those figures, but today Connor was the beneficiary of some dodgy catching; no names, no pack drill, but regulation snaffles were put down by the same person who had taken a catch in the covers, by our point fielder who runs his own excellent window-cleaning business…and by the bowler himself. As each of these catches went down, it did give the rest of us the chance to see Connor adopt his new “bowler in foetal position”, as he vented his frustration.
With only one Stradbroke batsman (James Gilbee) offering any real resistance, the Chairman found new ways of frustrating the skipper and team-mates through his greater insights and knowledge: (1) revealing he knew the code to the all-weather pitch where the ball had been deposited only after one of his team-mates returned from the bar with the same info, & (2) requesting that all fielders retire to the leg-side boundary as that seemed to be the destination of every shot played by the above-mentioned batsman. After Ben had narrowly missed (again!) taking a great catch at mid-wicket, but instead succeed in parrying the ball over the line for six, suggestions that we put someone taller over there were flatly ignored.
But concerns of an excessively close finish were soon forgotten, as Daryl bowled the dangerous batsman, and elder Moon returned to pick up a wicket, smartly stumped by David G. (“I got six other stumpings today, but the umpire’s only just woken up!”) So victory by 43 runs and several reasons to be cheerful: back to the top of the table, at last we took all 10 wickets, we took seven catches, all the bowlers picked up wickets, we have a keeper who can keep (whilst we solve the mystery of the disappearing Woods), we have batting in depth, a scorer who can almost score…and every week, Connor is getting closer to taking a catch !
Next week, in his season of geographical oddities, we welcome our new nearest-rivals… Bury St Edmunds !