Report by Paul Jordan:
We usually expect a good game against Fen Ditton, who traditionally turn up with a well drilled and competitive unit. This is usually confirmed by their pre match warm-up batting and catching drills; tonight was no exception. We on the other hand managed a team of ten and on arriving at the ground was greeted with the news that Olly Rex was unable to play. Like Chris Froome he had fallen foul of the French transport system: in his case the trains were the culprit. Nevertheless, due to Fen Ditton's generosity of spirit we acquired Michael McCann, who up until this point resembled a Liberal Democrat at the ballot box - couldn't make his mind up where his loyalties lie.
And so to the game. Having won the toss I decided to bat. The opening partnership of Ferdi Rex (25 off 33 balls) and Tom Serby (4 off 12 balls) is usually as reliable a combination as one could wish for. Fen Ditton opened with their latest acquisition, an athletic young pace bowler. His first over demonstrated variation and bounce; in his second over he bowled Tom Serby a beautifully disguised slower ball and Tom was on his way. At the other end a more seasoned pro had been bowling a good line and length giving nothing away. Enter Julius Rix. Sadly he perished to a sharp caught and bowled for a second ball duck and we were looking in a parlous state.
We needed Ferdi and Andy Bell to rescue our innings and put some runs on the board. Anything near a hundred at this stage would raise spirits and give us something worth defending. Slowly but surely Ferdi and Andy turned things around. Ferdi's innings was full of classy pulls and drives and Andy to his credit waited for the loose ball before unleashing some big hits. He too batted with application and was unlucky to fall short of a well deserved half century, eventually being dismissed off the second last ball of the innings for 46 (off 40 balls).
Ferdi went before the end to a great catch at deep long on, prompting Michael McCann's arrival. The momentum continued and he and Andy looked as if they would close the innings. A change of Ditton bowlers saw Michael's innings end (23 off 19 balls), bringing Matt Hughes (5* off 6 balls) to the crease. The opening bowler was back on and Matt played a few and missed but sensibly played straight and put bat to ball. He scored a lovely four through point and after Andy fell to the Ditton skipper Josh Nall (4* off 1 ball) added some much needed runs with a delicate cut (the less charitable might say an edge) for four through the non-existent slips.
The Fen Ditton innings began with a bang. Ferdi's first delivery was hit through cover point in the direction of Julius Rix on the boundary. My money was on a brilliant wicket for Ferdi and an outstanding catch for Julius; sadly neither were to be congratulated as the ball sailed past Julius for a six. Fortunately, we pegged their openers back with Alec Armstrong (0/22) at the other end fulfilling his duties. The openers then decided to attack and some big hits followed. Enter Harvey Hughes (1/19). He bowled beautifully and kept an immaculate line throughout, eventually snaring one of our three wickets. Fen Ditton had some good batsmen and were chasing down our total with relative ease.
Paul Jordan (1/15) came on for a luckless Michael McMcann (0/33). In his first over he bowled a decent yorker to remove the incoming batsman and bring our tally to three wickets. Eventually Fen Ditton passed our total comfortably and by finishing at 8:15pm we were too early to get a drink as Dave was out for the day and not due back 'til 8:30pm at the earliest.
Much to reflect on. Our batting was encouraging considering the quality of the bowlers on show. Congratulations to everyone, but particularly Andy Bell who must have used use up all his forward defence shots for the season. Michael and Ferdi were pleasing to the eye with their offside cuts and drives. The lack of another player and in particular a bowler/batsman may have had an influence on the end result. Our bowling and fielding was pretty good with Julius, Tom, Matt and Harvey putting in some sterling work. Josh is gaining in confidence with every game behind the stumps; well done. A good win for Fen Ditton. We will have wait 'til next season to exact revenge - maybe a Tuesday will offer more hope and without the disruption of that bloody bike race?