Some new opposition and on a Saturday instead of a Sunday … born of the Holkham connection, the Patchett clan have brought down their rambling ensemble to London and we were delighted to host them. We had 10, they had 9 … but actually the numbers fluctuated a lot as did the fortunes of the teams.
Skipper Higginbottom won the toss and elected to bat mainly because on this terrible looking wicket he was wary of some of our bowlers causing injury so figured we’d better face the chin music first. First drama of the day however was Matt Incledon being caught at gully by Motley captain Sean Patchett off Harry Jervis. Matt, disgusted, performed an improvised ‘sword dance’ over his bat and was beyond distraught and it turned out beyond consolation … more of this soon. Meanwhile Adam Wood joined the skipper in the middle and settled quickly, hitting two fours as Richard was grateful to the Crew for not bowling at express speed. Will Patchett – a sometime Gardener – has a rapid turn of pace but was bowling spin so he didn’t upset his constitution which had been put at full stretch by a marathon session the night before (we were on tour last week: we know how it is). Still, a bruised elbow and dodging face balls three other times was a little alarming. Embarrassing to count this as our home ground. Anyway, Adam clothed a drive off Will and gave another catch to Sean and we’re 14 for 2. Darren Owen came in and the face ball he got … was hooked for 4. A scintillating straight drive and a number of other fine strokes took him rapidly to 21 and then a high bounce took a top edge with Bones making no mistake with the catch – again off Will. 38-3. Joe’s innings: Dot-Six-Dot-Out – another high bounce, another top edge – this time Sherwin takes the catch off Jervis’ bowling. The Gardeners’ skipper then (yawn this is getting repetitive) top-edged a high ball (though to be fair it was a lot shorter and was a worse shot), Jervis the catcher this time off Will. 51-5. Then 55-6 as Graham Bruce played “a nothing shot” to Jervis (in quotes as it’s Graham’s description, not the correspondent’s). Gopala played well until he (oh stop it) top-edged a pull to be caught at square leg. Jeremy! Not for nothing did Pearl Jam name a song after him, some very sensible defence and some superb driving took us up to 100 with some solid support play from Spike Harby until Spike was out for 11. Graham went in for a second time … now what’s going on here? As I mentioned earlier our numbers fluctuated a bit. When I got back to the boundary I found that Matt had – after pacing around a lot – decided he’d had enough of cricket for this Summer – handed in his match fee and left. I confess I was pretty disgusted by this, speaking as someone who has found lots of new ways to get out cheaply over the years, I have learned to deal somewhat stoically with these “small deaths”. However, Matt’s having quite a year in a number of ways and we hope everything resolves itself well and he comes back renewed for some cricket when he’s ready. We’re rooting for you buddy if you’re reading this! So we were for a short while 8 as Jason had changed his medication (someone said “From Claret to Burgundy”) and was running late. So Graham didn’t play any “nothing shots”: this time as he put on 48 with Jeremy until The Musicologist holed out to Will off Sherwin for his Gardeners’ best score of 42. Jason got one and out and we finished on 150 which is a good score on this heap of a pitch.
Richard instructed all the faster bowlers to pitch the ball up and this was duly adhered to, though Gopala got the ball into the ribcage a few times off a good length, such is the fact of playing on a pitch that is a stranger to a roller. As often happens, batsmen were trying their shots at the other end where Spike was getting some prodigious swing and struck in his first over, bowling Moles for 5. T Patchett (I’d like to guess at “Terry” but I’m being infantile) struck two excellent fours then chased down the wicket to Spike and a lifter was taken well above his head by (ahem) me! Quite pleased with that. In Spike’s next over, a much more straightforward catch for the keeper as Bones tickled a good length ball and the Crew are 18-3. Some cavalier strokeplay now as Will Patchett and Storey took on the bowling with good effect. Joe and Darren came on to replace our openers and Joe’s slower ball caught Will playing slightly too early and the return catch was taken neatly. 48-4. Storey and Sherwin continued playing attacking cricket until another accurate slower one from Joe had Sherwin spooning one up to Spike who made good ground at Fine Leg to take the catch. 60-5. Jervis joined in with Storey with free scoring until he swept across a ball heading for middle stump from Darren and was lbw for 27. 82-6. Exciting stuff. Although we’re now 9 vs 9 the captains agreed a 10 wicket match. Proper sporting cricket on a dodgy sporting wicket. 88-7 soon after as Joe bowled Jervis with a lovely off-cutter for 11. Captain Sean Patchett settled pretty quickly and played handsome strokes as Jason and Jeremy endeavoured to make perhaps the decisive breakthrough. Some half-chances not taken here and there. The Crew’s skyscraper-tall stumper “Stilts” (I have no formal name in the scorebook) hung on in gamely whilst Sean gained ground. A decisive stand of 61 ended with the Crew one short of our total as Jeremy bowled Stilts. Gopala back on and Sean gloved one to slip – unfortunately we couldn’t hang on and we lost by two wickets as scores were level at this point. Excellent match against a fine group of fellows. See you next year!
“Having shown the rest of you how to bat, I shall now show you how to wear the cap”