By Adam Wood
Ham – The players, Salmagundi Gardeners (New Blood), Actors Anon (Stage Blood)
Act 1 Scene 1
Captain wins the toss and decides to protect team from the oppressive heat and glaring sun by batting first. The Gardeners’ line up included three newcomers and a borrowed actor (an understudy?)
James Tait opened and fell victim to an LBW decision in the very first over – I hope the ‘borrowed umpire’ heard my comment in the pub that the Umpire’s decision was the only one that counted as Mr Pimlott, umpiring at square leg during this dismissal, made his feelings clear… No way (etc.)
Phil Sessions arrived at the crease, hit four boundaries in succession then it all went wrong to the rattle of stumps and bails – bowled for 16.
Paul Brasted is not sure whether he is a batsmen or bowler and in earlier games seemed to be improving at the former whilst practising the latter – opening with James, holding up the Actors onslaught for seven overs, he fell to a good catch in the slip/gully area – caught for 13
Joe Fox, unaccompanied by holidaying father Mike, strode out to the crease, looked every inch a batsman and returned caught for 8.
The score was rattling along at around 6 an over. Joe Fox had joined Nick Barrett in the middle. Nick, a friend of Paul’s, travelled all the way from Salisbury to keep score, keep an an eye on his brother’s children and to make his debut for Gardeners. After a start that included a lot of wafting, Nick actually began to look less like a Gardener and more like a batsman – then he was out, caught for 13.
Richard Hayles, a borrowed actor (credits – not positive but I thought I saw him in the Bill, third mugger from the left), showed the sort of resilience this captain dreams of and stayed 14 overs for 10 not out – he had been much quicker with his earlier umpiring decision – see first wicket.
Nick Duckett seems to be practising his batting whilst Paul B hones his bowling skills. 3 runs had made Nick adventurous – out, stumped as he gave it the charge…
Your Captain got off the mark with a well slogged four and felt confident enough to sweep the next ball, slightly to early, producing one of those straight up in the air shots with the leading edge that give you time to pray that the keeper will run into the rapidly approaching deep fine leg – their calling proved adequate – caught for 4.
Sean Flaherty, Joe’s footballing colleague showed a youthful enthusiasm and young athlete’s eye and skill for a ball game – bowled for 4 seemed unfair but on balance was as much as could be hoped for from a debutant.
Rob Pimlott could not claim the same youthful athleticism, but enthusiasm should have been better rewarded than bowled for 1.
Adrian Barrett, (brother of Nick) had stated clearly that he was a bowler – bowled for 0 confirmed this.
Extras and several recounts posted a score of 92 off 28 overs and 3 balls.
Actors Anon served a good if slightly slow tea (the liquid refreshment came in relays of about eight cups at a time). The cakes were superb and baked by the wife of the player we borrowed.
Joe Fox and Adrian Barrett opened the bowling and for a time looked threatening – Joe produced a wickedly bouncing bal at the Actor’s opener only for it to be called a no-ball as it bounced over the batsman’s head. As this was a good length ball I queried the decision. The umpires explanation that it was a pre-match agreement to no ball deliveries that pitched and cleared the batsman’s head surprised me. As we had not faced anything like Joe’s explosives during our innings I could not claim that we were hard done by and accepted the umpires decision.
The required runs were knocked off in 17 and a bit overs. The revelation of the innings however was the success of the slow bowlers, specifically Brasted’s naggingly accurate left arm and more than audible appealing. The umpire did well to stand his ground to polite but firm (and persistent!) requests for LBW. Actor’s top scorer was removed by a combination of Paul’s determined bowling and Joes athletic fielding deep midwicket on the leg side.
My own bowling wasn’t bad (save for two appalling balls in my third over) and a very satisfying clean bowled of a number three scoring fours off practically every other ball he had faced before, made up in small part for a disappointing result.
A brilliantly sunny day, a game played in the best of spirits, a couple of jars at the Royal Oak – There were no BAFTA awards, but I went home happy.