vs Elveden (home, 24th July ’21)
Finally, the first of two Saturdays that could well decide Earls Colne’s destiny for next season had arrived and we would be welcoming Elveden to the Rec. The skipper had a near-full squad of players to choose from, Covid-isolators had returned and we welcomed a 2nd NHS hero back for the 1st time this season, Chintesh Patel, who’d not played much since he used to walk off regularly with the annual batting trophy.
With the weather forecast decidedly iffy about when and where exactly the heavy showers might break out, it seemed as if our oppo were looking for that potential copout for some of the afternoon – with most of them languishing around at 1pm rather than taking to the field, we wondered if they saw something in the clouds we didn’t. As it was, Daryl and David G. took to the opening bowling with the usual relish, despatching anything short from the more pacy van Overmeire and less pacy but accurate Kent Sr.
David was undone sooner than he would have liked, caught behind off the former, which brought Chintesh to the wicket with his usual wristy style of playing most balls later than thought physically possible then unleashing powerful straight drives. With only one further wicket to fall for the next 25 overs, Colne would be left wondering (especially given what happened at the other end of the innings) why both opening bowlers went through almost all their allotted overs, not cheaply. When Chintesh was out for 25, Daryl & Pat resumed their old left-right partnership which invariably works out well for one or both. In this case it was both of them cashing in, Daryl powering on to score his third century of the season and his second against the same team – how they must love seeing him !
With the score on 188-2, & around 10 overs to go, all was looking rosy for Colne with their sights set on 260+. However, first Daryl was undone playing across the line to a slower one from the wily Firman, then in the same over Jack & Nick were bowled. Cue time for Pat & Sam to steady the ship which they did…for 2 overs only, before Pat tried to hoik one too many of Kent Jr.’s short balls and proffered up a simple catch to cover. Next ball, Connor took Pat’s advice of “he’s bowling short, just stand & deliver” too much to heart and was bowled by a full one; Dave M. lasted two balls before turning a catch around the corner before exhibiting a side to his temperament that only his brother was aware of due to a remark made to him by a fielder as he left the stage. His subsequent destruction of a line flag and “colourful” language would have made Javed Miandad blush.
When 4 runs later, younger bro Tom also departed ‘without troubling the scorers’ as the old cliche goes, Colne had lost 7 wickets for a mere 16 runs. However, we had high hopes for the last wicket as we had two recognised batsmen out there; at one end we had Sam who was beginning to wonder why none of his team-mates didn’t hang around long with him, whilst at the other, specialist-fielder, death-bowler, and re-born batsman Ben emerging with his running spikes on. Fresh from professing a love for umpiring “because no other *** will do it”, and fired up to make up for the antics of the previous 20 minutes, Ben soon had Sam turning dot balls into singles and singles into two’s. Unfortunately, when a brief fielding mishap persuaded Ben to call Sam through for a 2nd, the latter was still search for 3rd gear when the irate Kent Jr, threw down Sam’s destination stumps from 18 yards away. With Meady having stepped into the square leg umpiring shoes and busily studying the interesting cloud formations, the decision was never in doubt.
So all out for 216 and the proverbial psychological advantage lay with Elveden having seen the mighty Colne batting line laid waste and a few too many batsmen guilty of playing the wrong shot early on. However, with only 9 opposition wickets to take, we took to the field with a spring in our pork-pie-laden step, and cheered on the mighty Moon bro’s as they opened with their familiar numbers of left-arm demon pace and unplayable leggies. When Tom saw his first couple of deliveries deftly carted to the boundary, he might have let his head drop or even stuttered further in his run-up, but his determination would pay off later. Meanwhile, elder brother Dave’s devious dobblies did for opening bat Flack, undone by the superb spin imparted from the bowler’s well-used wrist.
Fellow opener and potential party-pooper Aldous soon followed, caught by keeper David G. off the bowling of Tom, although there was some debate as to whether the umpires might have called a waist-high no ball. They didn’t and when #3, Siriwardena followed the next ball, it would be the third time in the match that a bowler would be looking for a hat-trick. Kent Jr. came and stayed for a few before offering a catch to Jack at mid-wicket – we all held our breath when it was evident he’d come too far forward to take a simple catch, but then stuck out a high hand to make it look like a worldie !
Skipper Rodic joined van Overmeire at the crease with the score on 57-4 and the required rate rising. Their partnership caused a few concerns , but when the keeper-slip combo of David G. and Connor contrived to removed Rodic in Dave Moon’s final over, Colne knew they were approaching the final straight. What they didn’t expect was that straight to be a mere two yards long as Elveden’s own mini-collapse occurred in the blink of an eye with the last four wickets going for no runs. Although Chintesh took a wicket in his one and only over, Connor would no doubt claim all the glory for that collapse as his bowling figures of 5 balls, 3 wickets for 0 runs were reasonably impressive, but we won’t let him forget his batting performance and most of the team agreed it was only because his Mum was watching. It was all over, a win by 121 runs and a good all-round team performance; our bowlers who took most of the wickets had contrived to score no runs between them, nearly all the catches were taken, the Sleeman-Mason-Kerry catching axis went unused, Daryl passed 500 league runs for the season although that doesn’t let him off his fielding misses, and umpire Meady discovered yet another unknown rule.
A great win further backed up by the news that nearest rivals Stowmarket had lost their game, meaning that we regained our place at the top of the table by some margin, and no prizes for guessing which side are next to visit us on 31st July……it promises to be a cracker !