What an almighty mess – and I’m not even into the report yet. Some jobsworth at Parliament Hill declared our pitch unfit to play, just after I’d finished preparing the tea. I couldn’t get a pitch at Regent’s Park or London Fields at short notice, but Players skipper Ghost got us in at Barn Elms. Redirect the A4 to South of the river, shocking traffic, took two hours, but never mind, each side has 11 and we agreed a 35 over match. Of course, Richard lost the toss. But he would have batted anyway.
Oh blinking flip! It only turns out Sean Pollock sewed a few wild oats in Ulster a few years ago and young Hume bowled a sublime opening spell, finding a neat outswinger to claim Stuart after the South Coast Slammer had the temerity to hit his only loose ball for four. 2-Bats sensibly stayed at the other end whilst Richard fended and prodded; eventually finding himself facing Tom Hickox who was gracious enough to bowl him a long hop, which Richard was stupid enough to hit off the back of the bat to gully. I absolutely hate coming South of the River. Toby weathered the storm and was looking good together with Dave, but our entire middle order got out just at the point they’d settled in, Scotty taking 3 wickets in a very tidy spell. Possibly the tidiest bowling I’ve seen as a unit by the Players, Graham offered some good resistance and new boys Matt and Josh also shaped up well, but we surrendered for 100.
In reply, Joe and Steve were simply brilliant with the ball, a lot of swing and some great pace. ‘Wang’ was very unlucky to go wicketless, but Smokin’ Joe got two quality wickets (both Langridge brothers). The first was an improbable catch by Jim at Square Leg – I am not being unfair to Jim here, simply that he was chatting to Ghost (umpiring) as he became vaguely aware of a red object approaching him – so he put his hands up in self defence and produced effectively a decent catch. The other was simply an inswinging jaffa that most would have struggled to keep out. Stuart’s pawing the ground so he joined the fray and bowled a great spell, skittling Billy Yates – who’d played well to get to 10 against hostile bowling. Later, after Brewer and Cooke had eased the Pineapples close to victory, we posted three Extra Covers to Brewer. “You think I’ve only got one shot” opined the batsman; “Yes, bit abusive really” replied Higginbottom. Then he promptly selected Steve at the widest of the Extras, who took a good low catch. Bit too late now, and after Jabba had to retire hurt having pulled a muscle in securing the final pork pie at tea time, the classy Cooke clattered the ball to the boundary to retain the Ashes.
High points: I got to have a shower after the game, the tea was not wasted and the home made cakes went down to a great reception. Shame about the cricket …