vs Elveden (away, 3rd July ’21)
With several regulars absent for this game due to a variety of reasons (weddings, wedding dress-fitting, Covid-isolation, football-isolation), Colne were keeping a keen eye on the weather and any favours it might dish out as they made their way up to Thetford Forest. As it turned out, the weather played no part in an exciting match between 1st & 3rd in the league.
As the skipper and the chairman padded up, ready for the off at 1pm, debutant Reece Hayns showed he had minimal faith in the nine provisioned batters before him by also donning his pads, but given we were still waiting for the arrival of Harry P. (who’d flagged he’d be very late) and David G. (who hadn’t), he might have had a point. Those worries were soon put to bed as our intrepid right-and left-handed openers fended off the opening 10 overs of regulation line-and-length from one end and allsorts from the other. When the latter was replaced by Elveden’s alleged ‘danger man’, the watching crowds sensed a change in the wind – which there soon was as Daryl & Pat tucked into some short and wayward semi-pace. However, Pat failed to get over one drive too many and was caught at mid-off just before drinks, rapidly followed by David G. who was unfortunate to receive a good yorker early on.
This could have been the moment when Colne capitulated (& many of us over the age of 11 can remember when it was the norm, Ed.) but this is 2021 and we just cannot seem to manage it anymore. With one 80+ partnership in the bag, the next one with Nick Richardson at the crease really ensured a good total would be on the cards. Anything short was punished by Nick, whilst Daryl was grinding through the usual gears giving the opposition limited chances only when he knew the fielder wasn’t interested in catching the ball, content with a personal scoring rate of 40% early on before moving up to 400% later. Only when Nick was out for an excellent 37 with the score on 169, did the skipper realise that the incoming batsman (Ben Mason) might require him to run 6 three’s each over, so it was time for boundaries only.
Ably and briefly supported first by Ben and then by Dave M., the score shot up to 216 in the last four overs. With Daryl’s 2nd century of the season (127*), the rest of the team were all smiling as they clapped him off and put away their wallets away for any post-match drinks. The only small teeny-weeny fly in the ointment of the innings was that down here in Div 9 of the Two Counties, Nick’s ‘Mankad’ dismissal raised some questions about how far some opposition teams will go to beat us (see David “magic hands” Griffith’s many stumpings not given out, from previous reports).
Having regaled us with how, from his previous ‘dark years’ playing for Cornard, Elveden were a one-man team, Ben started his bowling stint clearly intent on making good batsmen out of all the other 10. With his first 3 overs going for close on 45 and an admission from the bowler that he was throwing the game away, the skipper was forced to bring himself on for the first time in several matches. Given our paucity in bowlers due to all the aforementioned reasons, would it be Colne showing ourselves up as a one-man team ?
Fortunately not, as this year, we can always rely on a Moon. Whether it’s ‘P. Moon’, as stated in the scorebook (I don’t think he’s playing this year, Ed.), ‘T. Moon’, as stated on Play Cricket later that evening (definitely extremely pissed at a wedding 20 miles south at this moment, Ed.) or D. Moon (that’s the one ! Ed.), there’s always a Moon handy in a crisis. Today, it would be Dave whose venomous spitters soon tempted a couple of batsmen into offering up catches and surprising batsman #1, Aldous, who’d earlier dined out extensively on Ben’s buffet, with a straight one. With Ben taking the catch off Daryl’s bowling to despatch the ‘alleged danger-man’, the oppo’s run rate suddenly dried up, from ca. 70 off the first 8 overs to 100 off 24, which was largely thanks to Messrs Moon & Sleeman getting through their dot-ball-ridden overs at electrifying pace.
Meanwhile for those not bowling, the ongoing support from all the fielding participants remained vocal; with ringmaster Brommers keeping up a steady encouragement line as well a precocious talent for calling out the fielder to whom the next catch was coming, which it invariably did; with Reece doing a great job jogging from long-leg to long-leg each over he’ll be thanking us for his fitness improvement; with Trevor stopping anything that came square leg’s way…well, nearly all !; and with David M. keeping up a steady stream of “C’mon ECC” until it was pointed out he was inadvertently supporting the wrong team, the spirit in the team never dropped.
Just like a Shakespeare play, the witty banter and rapid progress were matched with a couple of comedy fielding moments (Nick’s attempt at a catch with the fielders both behind him and in front of him calling for it could be forgiven, plus Dave M.’s running drop) and a near-tragedy when a nick from the batsmen flew straight in ‘keeper David G’s nose. As the pitch turned scarlet with our star man on his haunches and several players turning green, David sprang rapidly back to life when he heard that Pat had gone off to put his pads and gloves on, stating he’d rather play through the pain and crimson than see the byes column debited whilst he was the official ‘keeper.
With the 4th and final recognised bowler Harry flagging on his way to seven economical overs with one wicket, the skipper was looking to Brommers to make a return for the first time since he was 2019’s ‘Bowler of the Year’. However, Ben, back on at the other end, had clearly given himself a strong talking-to, and was an absolute revelation in his 2nd spell. Safe in the knowledge that any jug-purchasing was going to be monopolised by the skipper’s earlier run-making, Ben proceeded to bowl us to victory as Elveden’s lower batting order faded away rapidly and he was as pleased as the rest of us that somehow despite his earlier overs, he’d picked up a 5-fer. Brommers’ imminent return would have to be postponed.
Victory by 41 runs then, and relief all round that our choice to postpone this match to this date when so many players were unavailable was a great one, given the depth and positive attitude pervasive across the squad. Onwards and upwards next week, to the fixture that’s as far as we have to travel this season, Stradbroke…c’mon ECCC !