Finally, the word is in from Hendo
Ropsley Baboons vs Barford, Saturday 1st July 2017
For those who were not nursing a sore head before the British Lions magnificent victory, then the performance-enhancing ‘breakfast-of-champions’ (of a pint of Carling at around 9am) was the best possible preparation for another crucial game on tour. After the ‘miracle on grass’ performance of the previous evening, it was sadly time to say goodbye to man-of-the-match Kenny G, so the captain was left wondering where the star-performers might come from in the fixture… A quick tour of Newark in the sunshine was followed by a splendid lunch in Green Man (so long as you avoided Captain Morgan’s scratchings of Doom) and some pre-match warm-ups in the garden.
In contrast to the gloomy conditions of the evening before, the sun shone and clouds scudded across the sky and a youthful looking Baboons team promptly won the toss and kindly agreed to a slightly shorter game to ensure we could be on time for our Tour dinner.
So into the field we went and the ball was immediately and confidently tossed to the Tourmeister Mike Ireland, who once again showed everyone what we miss for the other 364 days of the year when he’s not propelling his deadly accurate tweakers towards the opposition’s timbers. One (double-bouncing) loosener was all it took to get back into rhythm and he bowled a water-tight spell of 5 overs for 16 but somehow contriving not to pick up a wicket. At the other end, the pace of Captain Morgan was used in a tactical burst of 3 overs for a miserly 7 runs. Keeping the pace options fresh, James Beavan was quickly brought into the attack, keeping the opposition interested, but quiet. The pressure told and when Judge Jolly was brought on to replace Mike Ireland, his impact was immediate, snaffling the dangerous looking opener Gilbert for 29 with a superb catch by ‘Tiger’ Tony Timms.
James was unable to make the breakthrough finishing with a fine 5 overs for 22 but he’d be needed for other exploits later, so the ball was tossed to Ben Griffin who tightened the screw with a remarkable 5 overs for 3. At the other end, the Judge was, as usual, in no mood to be profligate and doubled up on his wicket tally by knocking over (a) Guinness for 5, finishing with the fantastic figures of 5 overs 2 maidens, 2 for 3!
From one golden arm to another and Tony Timms rolled back years and made an immediate impact by holding onto a return catch from the other opener Booth in his first over, and never let the batsmen get after him.
Into the last 10 overs and although the Baboons had wickets in hand, with just 66 on the board they needed to start swinging to put up a competitive total on a great wicket and fast outfield. PJ and the skipper finished off the innings each claiming a wicket,with O’Reilly completing a neat stumping off PJ leaving the Baboons 98/5 after their allotted 35 overs.
Excellent fielding and tight bowling made it look like a chasable target, but Barford have done less with more, so tea was enjoyed but a lack of opening options forced the captain to accompany Jake Farquar to the crease, who immediately set about the task striking a couple of beautiful boundaries before being caught behind for just 8. Your captain for the day also perished early and the game was definitely on when tour veteran Pete Fisher (off the telly) was out for 2. 27/3 in the 6th over and James Beavan was joined by Ben Griffin to rebuild the innings. And rebuild they did, like Sandy receiving a call from our little porky friends asking for a rush job that needs completing before the big bad wolf comes complaining about some scratchings of doom he’s just eaten….
Clean strikes of the ball from James and telepathic running between the wickets brought up the fifty partnership in double quick time after just 14 overs. Then James, clearly wanting to get back to the hotel for his starter, pressed the accelerator, smashing his own 50 and finishing the job 3 overs later to wrap a up an enjoyable win against a side who play the game in the same spirit as we do.
On another day (perhaps in a year’s time) the result could easily be other way round, but cracking weather, top nosh and fun in the field in beautiful surroundings on a great wicket meant we could repair to the hotel for our fines session contentedly. Thanks to our hosts and we hope we can come back again next year and renew our rivalry over another beer or two.
Further tour photos are available here