By Stuart Bruce
It was pretty grey all Tuesday, but as they say, the sun shines on the righteous, and apparently it also shines on the Gardeners as they took the field in brilliant sunshine at Parliament Hill vs the Gospel Blokes. Stuart is captain for this midweek game – and after seeing Richard’s toss success rate (0% and not counting), he decided not to bother with a toss and instead agree whichever team got to full complement first would bowl first. Given the average Gardener time keeping ability, this was a foregone conclusion and the Gardeners batted first.
Sam and Richard opened up, the former hitting the first two balls he faced for four. Richard kept the strike rotating with a mix of pushes in to the off, clips off the legs & lots of well-judged running (I know, I can barely believe it either). Sam continued to hit boundaries, a couple of lovely straight pulls meant he soon had to retire for 29*. This brought Nik in who hit big from the off, two huge sixes over long-on a highlight. Richard kept picking off the singles and was also retired back to the bench for a run-a-ball 26*. Debutant Suni came in and perished quickly, a good ball moved down the slope and took his off peg for 1. John followed Suni and got into the groove straight away, picking the spaces in the field well. The Gardeners then had their third retiree of the match, Nik for a swift 28*. No 6 Graham swung hard at everything, two big slog-swept fours down the hill in his 13 before the ball stayed low and he was pinned lbw. Next in was Conor, who kept the momentum going with John – both attacking well in a partnership of 19 off 7 balls – both ending not out, on 8* & 19* respectively. So a very defendable target of 140 off 18 overs.
Now before I report on our bowling – I would like to caveat that the following is even more of a flight of fancy than a normal match report, as the Gospel Blokes scoring left a lot to be desired. It was possibly the worst book I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some horrors – you weren’t there man, you weren’t there… Maybe it’s because I’m an accountant and deal daily with debits and credits, offsetting balances & reconciliations that I enjoy a tidy, well organised scorebook a lot more than I should. Or maybe it’s because I’m a loser. Who knows.
Definite facts though – Sachin opened the bowling and used his pace well, yorking oppo captain Hugh in the first over, then collecting a second wicket, also bowled. Shahed supported ably, varying his pace well to keep the batsmen guessing. Suni took over from Sach and was soon among the wickets, one bowled, two caught – one by Shahed after much encouragement (luckily he had his specs on), and one by Graham at fly slip. Stuart bowled four self-indulgent overs, a heady mix of short-pitched “spin” & medium pace leg stump half volleys – but what’s the point in being Captain if you can’t abuse the position? Graham took one wicket in his two overs with a well disguised slower ball, the batsman slapping it straight to a seemingly surprised John at square leg. Nik bowled the last over, and after a couple of looseners he got his range to finish the match with a seven run with for the Gardeners according to the scoreboard. Or a seventeen run win according to the batting figures. Or a thirteen run win according to the bowling figures. I literally do not know, but I do know the scorers could easily walk into any job they fancied at Arthur Anderson. But definitely a win for the Gardeners, somewhere in the ten to twenty run range.