Report by Dave Williams:
On what started off as a baking hot day, under fierce sunshine captain Paul Jordan won the toss and decided to bowl. From my position in the field the gold foil on the new cherry was glowing in the sunlight as it was hurled, at good pace, seam upright, by Seth Aycock past the tentative bats of the TTP openers. Will Phelps was standing some 20 yards behind the stumps and made some impressive stops hurling himself sideways. Julius Rix’s first ball removed the the TTP no. 2; Paul has a surprisingly wide and expressive range of subtle theatrical gestures, like a David Bowie gig, when the ball comes in his direction (I remember one where he really seemed to give the impression of thinking how he could avoid trying to catch the ball without appearing to do so deliberately - and yet he caught it). This evening, though, he simply grabbed it. The no. 3 was giving me some concerns about his personal safety in the face of Seth’s pace onslaught, so it was with some relief that he quickly departed caught behind. Some slightly panicky running between the wickets led to a direct hit from ??, bringing in Ammad at no. 5. Ammad took some of the gloss off Seth’s figures (4 overs, 1 for 19) by taking 13 off the last four balls of Seth’s fine spell.
Paul's bold introduction of Claude Warnick into the attack looked like it was going to come unstuck - his first four gentle lobs went for 12. But then the ol' red mist (cartoon $ signs on the batsman's eyes) came down and the batter's heave to infinity and beyond ended in the chink of ball on stumps. By the time that Qaiser Ahmed came on (after Julius's tidy 4 overs, 1 for 23) a massive solid cloud formation had arrived and parked itself immobile above the pitch, like the huge alien spaceships above the White House in Independence Day. The density of the air made sounds carry clearly, with echoes off the pavilion and an eerie thwup as Qaiser's deliveries hit Will's gloves. In the relative dark and cool Qaiser kept building the pressure (2 overs, 1 for 9) alongside Claude (4 overs 2 for 23), but Huw Davies was the star in perhaps his finest spell for the club. With excellent control of line and length, supported by tight fielding and good catching (including some canny field placings by Paul that brought fielders to where catches were taken), Huw turned the screw for his superb 4 overs, 1 maiden, 4 for 8 - a standout effort. Paul came on at the close for a cameo two overs for merely 7. To bowl any side out in less than 20 overs is a fine achievement; for 90 runs only was surely a matchwinning performance. Wasn't it?
"Everyone has a plan", said Mike Tyson, "until they get punched in the mouth"; openers Rix and Williams' plan was to play sensibly and not throw it away. The bowling was tight but not (metaphorically) mouth-punchingly so, although Julius holed out to mid off for 10 (off 13). Kaustav Dutta came (to use Paul's enjoyable and distinctive phrase) to join the party as we efficiently progressed towards the target. Some highlights along the way: I was pleased with some crunchy off drives, and a wristily punched half-volley from whippy Ammad to the wide open spaces of cover point, followed two balls later by a late glance to third man. Next over from Windsor Road end Ammad went round the wicket; cue my reasonable but still pleasurably punitive request for his teammates to move the sightscreen. By this time the result was no longer in doubt, and the arrival of "Josh" to bowl his wrist spin by means of a strangely equestrian "dressage"-style run up gave me the chance to compete with him in surrealism by a patted tap 10 yards to fine leg for a gentle single and, with one run still to get, a balletic leave. With 6.1 overs to go we duly overhauled our target, leaving Kaustav 26* (off 30 balls) and me 44* (off 41 balls). On a personal note I apologize that some people may not have had a chance to bat or bowl - I trust you will at another time very shortly.