Only the second time this season we’ve had matches on consecutive weekends. Even then it rained as I neared the ground and created a high-class impromptu Richmond upon Thames version of a wet T shirt competition. Lots of high scores I’m delighted to report. Despite this distraction I managed to arrive at the ground first (that’s rare too) and we turned up in dribs and drabs. As always on a hot Summer day (30C) I lost the toss and we were invited to field.
Mick Campbell – beautiful inswingers; only runs came from nicks off the legs. Matt Carter making his debut at the other end bowled an “accidental” (his word) bouncer which cleared batsman and keeper on its way to 4 byes. Then he bowled a deliberate one that Richard, now standing close to the boundary, managed to stop. Matt’s not played regularly so his line was a little erratic. Nearly all the runs in the first few overs came in extras or in edges. Chris took over from Mick and Tom came on for his first bowl of the season to replace Matt. It must have been something to do with the river as Tom was erratic and Chris unerringly accurate. Tom very unlucky not to have James LBW. According to Richard (admittedly biased) it was “hitting every part of middle stump”. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking what a stupid statement that was even by my standards.
We’re keeping the runs down but how about some wickets? It’s got to be Jim Monahan. Immediately turning the ball and finding a good length Jim at last lured limpet-like opener Hayes into an attacking shot, sweeping over the top of one and being trapped right in front. Richard had already figured it was a day for an all spin attack (honestly I said this to a total stranger at Letchworth open air swimming pool in the morning) so on came Stuart and bowled a tremendously tight spell. Stuart produced one that got a bit extra bounce, surprising the batsman and the keeper. Richard was fortunate enough to knock the ball up and take the catch on the rebound so Stuart got his just desserts. Actors skipper Jamie was now at the crease – a man with sound technique who has often proved difficult to remove. Jim produced the classic arm ball*, foxing the left handed Jamie into thinking the ball would turn away but instead it continued to drift in, trimming the off bail. What skill! Voss joined James at the wicket and he obviously leads a lonely life during the week as he took over a minute discussing the bowling, strategy, whatever before taking guard. Someone with a Tasmanian accent said “get on with it”. Was only two seconds short of that coming from a Norfolk accent. Score slowly crept along as Stuart and Jim kept the brakes on until Jim’s stock off-spinner defeated Voss. Combined figures for Jim and Stuart of 14 overs, 4 wickets, 37 runs.
*Arm ball: an off-spinner delivers the ball using his usual grip but rather than running his fingers down the side of the ball to impart clockwise turn, he keeps his hand straight and allows his arm to sweep across him, imparting gentle outswing, i.e. “going on with the arm”. Thus inswing to a left hander, hence Harper b J Monahan 0.
Richard invited Mick to come back on with his spinners. Pretty good show too as Stuart took a good catch (slipping just before claiming it) to remove James for a painstaking 54. Meanwhile Paulby was compiling runs square of the wicket each side with some good cuts and pulls and Huds provided some quality support until debutant Richard Redman had him caught by Matt for 10. Good steady bowling at the death by Richard and Mick – Richard also getting the wicket of Paulby and Will Towers (welcome back, dear fellow) showing great control and intelligence in running out Parker. Actors innings closed on 165.
Actors Anonymous 165-8 in 35 overs
James c Bruce b M Campbell 54
Hayes lbw J Monahan 6
Peter c Higginbottom b Bruce 5
Harper b J Monahan 0
Voss b J Monahan 8
Paulby c Carter b Redman 32
Huds c M Campbell b Redman 10
Parket run out (Towers) 2
Berling not out 4
M Campbell 7 – 0 – 45 – 1
M Carter 3 – 0 – 24 – 0
C Packham 4 – 1 – 10 – 0
T Monahan 3 – 0 – 20 – 0
J Monahan 7 – 0 – 21 – 3
S Bruce 7 – 0 – 16 – 1
R Redman 4 – 0 – 23 – 2
Excellent tea provided by the Actors – thanks very much. Doosra pondered the charging policy for dogs on the Richmond ferry – 10p for the first dog, 5p for the second. If you have a third does it go down again or do you start again at 10p. “How much would he charge for Cerberus” mused Will … “for three heads that may be a conundrum beyond the ferryman” countered Tom.
Back to the cricket. Can we bat properly today? Last three matches we haven’t made it to 3 figures. The wicket’s good, the weather’s great. Lets play! Adam drove over a straight one from Voss for zero though Chris had already belted three super back foot cover drives to the boundary and extras meant we were 18-1. Stuart went in and hit a 4 off his first ball and was so surprised at being presented an even easier ball to hit to the boundary he copied Adam’s stroke to make us 24-2. Tom went in just as Chris was upping the rate and lots of wides and byes were going our way. Actors skipper Jamie found a good ball to dislodge Tom in the 9th over and we were 55-4. Run rate no problem. Wickets, though …. Will continued where Tom left off, supporting Chris until the Kentish all rounder was caught behind for a fine 36. Will followed soon after in almost identical fashion and then Nick hit a pretty good cut – but was a little too near Harper who took a splendid catch. 102-6 but Richard was still relaxed, figuring that the batting line up had such quality it was equally good (or perhaps better) in reverse. Matt took the fight back to the Actors, launching a fabulous straight 6 of Paulby before mis-hitting a cover drive again to Harper, taking another great catch. The stage was set for our top class off-spinner to demonstrate that he is also a batsman of uncommonly high quality. Jim did not disappoint, standing up straight to punish short balls through the leg side to get going and then producing a couple of thunderous off drives and an aesthetically delightful square cut. Richard R hadn’t played for three years and backed up Jim quite brilliantly, digging in and running everything to keep the scoreboard rattling along ahead of the rate. Richard perished by not quite getting hold of an off drive, that man Harper taking another tumbling catch – what a performance in the field. Mick made his skipper jump a bit by edging his first one to slip who despite three attempts couldn’t keep the ball above the turf. Mick capitalised by sweeping his next ball for 4 and then on driving for the 2 remaining runs to win the game.
Salmagundi Gardeners 166 – 8 off 32 overs
Chris Packham c Keane b Huds 36
Adam Wood b Harper 0
Stuart Bruce b Voss 4
Tom Monahan b Harper 4
Will Towers c Keane b Huds 2
Matt Carter c Harper b Paulby 15
Nick Duckett c Harper by Paulby 0
Richard Redman c Harper b Berling 9
Jim Monahan not out 32
Mick Campbell not out 6
Richard Higginbottom will bat in the next match
Total 166 for 8 off 32 overs
Actors Anonymous bowling
Harper 7 – 0 -42 – 2
Voss 6 – 0 – 35 – 1
Huds 7 – 3 – 10 – 2
Paulby 7 – 0 – 43 – 2
Berling 5 – 0 – 20 – 1
Salmagundi Gardeners won by 2 wickets