By Richard Higginbottom
Just one match this year so on the Saturday the Gardeners had a double wicket competition which everyone who took part seemed to enjoy. Your correspondent had an engagement as a Roadie for Louise’s band Indigo Visions at the Balstock Festival on the Saturday but this got scuppered very late as the band’s drummer got sent to prison on the Friday leaving the decision whether to proceed with the gig as an acoustic three piece made very late (1am Saturday morning). Blimey even The Who didn’t have to cancel a gig because Keith Moon was in jail …..
Anyway we had a pleasant dinner at the Pilot Boat, Michael won the skittles, Paul and Adam had a loud shouting match on The Cobb (a draw I reckon). Dave H disappeared then reappeared like a harbourside ghost (the result of wearing black on a starless night). Sarah (a.k.a. Crystal) was loudly criticising Nick though none of us (Nick especially) had any idea what it was about. We later figured maybe Nick was leading Paul astray. Nick, fuelled by alcohol and perplexed at why he was the figure of a sonic attack had a surprise encounter with a bush on the way back to his and Mandy’s hostelry (this time the bush won). Mary threw herself onto the Cobb with quite some force, scattering the contents of her handbag and I think Chris and I managed to recover everything in the gloom (the Cobb won that battle). We all won the battle of clambering down Granny’s Teeth.
Next morning and no-one’s on parade for the Crazy Golf competition. I read a lot of the Sunday Telegraph and could wallow in the joy of Norwich City’s 3-1 win on the Saturday. Then four of us assembled but we’re cutting it fine so we had a 4-ball-better-ball competition in which Dave and Richard narrowly edged out Adam and Chris before heading to the ground.
The home team are approximately half our age in aggregate – thanks very much to Oli and Ferdie Parry-Lashon (the sons of Jason’s ‘landlady for the weekend’ Tiggy) for getting us up to 10 in number and taking down the average age considerably. Richard won the toss and inserted Uplyme because as they are very likely to be the stronger team this is the correct etiquette. Crikey! They can’t half bat. Chris shook off the rust pretty well and Jason bowled OK too but openers Jaques and Wellman were getting after everything, six runs per over being achieved and maintained for the first 8 overs – the last one of which Jason bowled his worst delivery of the day – a slowish ball down the leg side that Wellman ushered away towards the backward square leg boundary only for Chris to make good ground and take an excellent catch. Paul had been fielding very well despite his not-too-good back and his bowling wasn’t so bad – but anything loose disappeared to the long grass or ditch as Jaques and L Thomas opened up. Oli received serious harsh treatment as Uplyme accelerated. Pat came on and bowled a very good spell, slowing down the run rate a bit and stopping a four – that he almost managed to catch, his juggle ultimately proving fruitless – to let off Jaques. Nick was treated savagely as Jaques belted two reverse sweeps to the Cover boundary as well as locating the car park with a more conventional pull. Dave came on as the carnage continued but then hurrah! Pat got an edge from Jaques that Richard trapped using some glove and some pad and his titanic innings was over for 84. Matthews continued the onslaught with L Thomas, the latter retiring after reaching a classy half century. Adam came on and bowled (in the context of this innings) a tidy spell, getting Matthews to top edge into Richard’s gloves. Chris and Jason came back and S E Wooster was caught off Chris by Patrick at Wide Long On as he tried to add even more lustre to the scoreboard. The 30 overs were up and ULRCC have a total that wouldn’t look bad for 50 overs.
Tea was very good – thanks very much to John – and it’s a bit like walking amongst the wounded after a hard battle to find out who’s ready to fix bayonets and have a go at clawing back some of the ground we’d lost.
Adam was out in the first over so the captain wandered out to join Dave and we put on 30 for the second wicket until Dave (who was looking by far the more accomplished of the two) was caught in the gully off P Thomas. Chris hit a couple of 4s and was starting to settle in another 30 stand but an inswinger from P Thomas clipped his off stump. Paul hit his third ball – a rare short pitched fast delivery from the home side – into long-on’s hands and then Nick was caught at slip off a ball that bounced just as much as the one that got Paul (though it was an off spinner from the same bowler, Davies). Pat’s now in and together we got the score up to 98 (he hit a marvellous square cut for 4 from his first ball) but then Richard – trying in vain to up the scoring rate – holed out to Mid Off for 46 – including six fours, all but one of them through Square Leg – note: I used to be mainly an off-side player. Oli got a single then got bowled by Wellman; Pat made an elegant 17 before losing his wicket to L Thomas and then Jason and Ferdie put on another 10 until Jason lofted one up to Cover to complete our defeat.
The match ended, we said thanks to the hosts, we all went our separate ways – I gave Nick, Dave and Jason a lift home and I have to say (we all know this) what excellent company they are, despite 30 overs of chasing leather and the subsequent batting task too far deflating us somewhat.