The author is reading Tony Iommi’s autobiography at the moment; somewhat ironic as with a record of only 1 win and 4 losses in weekend games, we are suffering from a number of Black Sabbaths in cricketing terms (for the uninitiated, Tony is the guitarist with the legendary heavy metal band). So will I end up Paranoid, or could it be that the Gardeners will show that they Never Say Die? Off to a reasonable start as Richard won the toss and elected to bat.
It’s a bit of an odd day: being a Bank Holiday, Woodstock have been somewhat depleted, but fortunately the Gardeners had surplus, and my sincere thanks go to Matt Ames and Jonny Spitfire for being Woodstockers for the day. To keep the complement up the field, Richard agreed to ‘keep for Woodstock and we supplied a sub fielder. All of these shenanigans may have unsettled Darren, who couldn’t control his length in the first over, Stuart Bruce taking toll with 14 runs including an all-run 4. Alex is much more steady from the other end, extracting some lively bounce. Paulie J found himself at the wrong end when Darren got his radar adjusted, lbw for 2. Now the bowling has tightened up and Toby was watchful until playing all round a good ball from Al for 3. Stuart’s still going like a train whilst Dave Stead, played himself in. Woodstock introduced Matt and Jonny; Matt was extremely good, testing both batsmen, whilst Jonny settled after a somewhat wayward opening couple of overs during which the South Coast Slammer brought up his half century. Couple of lovely straight drives mixed in with the trademark muscular strokeplay off the back foot. The bowlers changed again, Dave started finding his range, reaching his 50 – a very intelligent knock. Stuart was meanwhile eyeing up his century until John McGirr enquired for an lbw … out for 87. There was quite a bit of afters to this, not least the bowler thinking on reflection the ball was likely to miss leg stump. Oh dear. Dave Hollingsworth joined the fray as Steadley took the long handle to all comers, reaching three figures in the 33rd over and retiring. High class return by the Whitley Bay Champion. Dave H continued to chip around, maintaining the momentum, until we suffered a clatter of wickets as the overs ran out. A very tidy score of 236 posted with only Richard and Spike not being required to visit the middle (apart from ‘keeping / fielding for Woodstock).
Excellent teamwork displayed at tea-time too – thanks to all the contributors. Richard is too old, knackered and frankly not good enough to ‘keep all afternoon, so Dave S took the gloves as we headed into the field. Spike and Joe were simply awesome with the ball, Darren nicking Spike to second slip where Richard clung onto a low chance with his fingertips, then Joe bowled Darren with a fine inswinger. Matt applied himself manfully against our opening bowlers, and Jonny looked comfortable until Joe tricked him with a slower ball, Jonny having completed his follow through as the ball dipped past him to rattle the timbers. Yusuf had come along at tea time to augment Woodstock, but Joe’s precision off-cutter trimmed the bails and it was time to change the bowling with four down. Doosra Duckett bowled Tom in his first over – a wicket maiden. Meanwhile Tim’s keeping Matt in check who is bowling an immaculate line in the corridor of uncertainty, on a length always there or thereabouts. This produced the edge we were looking for, Richard again taking the catch at second slip. Now time for a comedy mix-up: Bobby drove Tim into plenty of space in the leg side and called for a run, but Big Alex sent him back. Bobby was not to be deterred, and Al set off somewhat late as Stuart arrived at the ball, turned smartly, and hurled down the stumps to leave Al stranded by some margin. Shortly after, Doosra’s speed ball removed Bobby’s bails, though Steadley’s attempted party trick of catching one of the bails in his mouth backfired, as the ball struck him under the nose, drawing blood. This makes Dave a proper wicketkeeper (i.e. shed blood in the cause) through a slightly unlikely cause. Time for Graham to have a go, and his fourth ball was very good, removed John McGirr. That score we compiled was somewhat daunting; so we achieved Heaven rather than Hell (I’ll explain in person to anyone wondering what I’m on about who cares …).