Report by Grant Kennedy:
By writing this report I thought at last I'd be able to contribute something to the game against St Barnabas, having achieved a paltry 7 runs opening with Tom Serby, as 'keeper dropped a catch behind off Olly Rex, and missed a run out nice throw in from James Crozier. I fell at the first hurdle, unfortunately, as I was unable to remember who took the first catch (off Andrew Granville's bowling), so this may not count as redemption.
Anyway, yet another sunny evening was passed, this time in the company of an amiable St Barnabas, whose keeper said "welcome" to new bats. Tom Serby and I got off to a pretty good start, which is to say we had our mandatory run out near-miss, after which I nearly took out some tiles getting six sevenths of my total (of 7 off 6 balls) in one shot. And then he and Dave Williams started a solid partnership, clearly doing much better without me. They made it to 92, but the ball after hitting a six to bring up his well-earned half-century, Tom looked like he'd had enough and was bowled (for 52 off 38 balls). David Williams went soon after for 24 (off 27 balls), caught off some rather excellent leg-spin that, from my vantage point at square-leg, made it look like we had no idea. Tom's wicket had brought Robin Eddington to the crease, who then hit one of those "caught but possibly a bump ball but no one was really sure and by the time-we decided we weren't sure he'd already walked off" shots. He got a round of applause for good sportsmanship, walking back with 9 off 12 balls, but I think he was as unsure as everyone else.
It was now the 15th over, we had about 110 runs, and James Crozier and Olly Rex (in-between holidaying in France and a new job in London I believe) pushed us through to 142 before Olly (9 off 9 balls) was caught near the boundary. James (28 off 19 balls) was bowled with two balls to go, leaving Andrew Granville (4* off 2 balls) to crack a boundary to bring us to a rather nice 157/6.
We were felling pretty good about that, although 12 off Robin's first over was probably the reality check we needed. Success came in the second over from Andrew Granville, with a catch that someone took that was clearly crucial, but not so crucial that I remember who took it. [Reliable witnesses say it was Faruk - ed.] I'm sure an editorial comment will fix that up. Anyway, this wicket brought a young chap A. Freeman (yes, I am old) who looked very technical and played very solid offside shots, in. He probably got more runs from the leg-side slogs, but perhaps I just wish I got as many runs as he did. He was the mainstay of a series of partnerships that St Barnabas clearly failed to document in the scorebook, and once he'd pushed captain Paul Jordan to spread the field far and wide, proceeded to run very tidy twos.
We managed to slow them down with some tight bowling from Andrew (1/19), Paul (0/25) and Faruk Kara (1/25), but we were still rather concerned about this young chap. Olly Rex bowled very nicely, bowling one of their (probably) more competent batsmen with what I think was him just warming up, but what I think the batsman mistook for a decently-paced ball that actually wasn't going as fast as Olly's run-up would suggest. The next over from Olly was a bit of a mess through no fault of his, within about four balls I dropped their star batsman, failed to run him out, and a run out chance was missed at the other end. Sorry.
As Paul brought Dave Williams (2/18) on to replace Olly (1/23), Faruk said "ah goldenarm" to me, with a nod. And lo, there was a pretty spectacular caught and bowled within a few balls, removing their star bat for a solid 65. The lackadaisical scorebooking means I don't know what the ask was at this point, but it was about 10 an over with four overs left, and 13 needed off the last over, to be bowled by Robin.
The first ball went for three, thanks to yet another mistake by yours truly, with the throw hitting the stumps and going for an overthrow. This may have worked in our favour, since it brought the less able of their batters to the crease, who nevertheless hit a single. Nine needed off four balls, and then four off two balls after a boundary and a single. A wicket was a welcome relief, but four was still needed. The last ball was a bit of a blur, all I remember was being wrong footed (again) and throwing myself ball-ward successfully. It was apparently one leg bye, and thus we won by three runs. Whew.
St Barnabas were very gracious in defeat, generously sharing the pizza that they had craftily pre-ordered. Why didn't we think of that?