First match report in courtesy of El Trez
Hares hare to a hair-raising draw with Bald(erton)
Balderton Cricket Ground, 30th June 2017
The match was in jeopardy when a squally shower passed over the district just an hour before the scheduled start time. Barford CC impressed their hosts with some early drinks in the bar whilst the skies cleared. Chat in the bar was around what to do if Barford won the toss. The sensible money was on bowling first, although some wag (Pete Romyn) suggested having a word with the groundsman first, to see whether or not the match would be going ahead [thanks Pete].
Skipper Morris was offered the option of not tossing the coin and batting first. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth he negotiated to bowl first, two overs a man and to retire on 25 – all potential match winning decisions – and to keep it to 16 overs, not 20 due to the postponed start.
So we prepared to bowl. Skipper offered O’Reilly the gloves to keep wicket. Chris, possessing a typical keeper’s extrovert (some may say, gobby) nature, jumped at the chance, and rewarded the team with an excellent performance behind the timbers.
Rumour had it that Balderton had one of those female types playing for them. The rumour sent shivers through the batsmen at the thought of being “outed” by a woman. So, Hawkins stepped up to open the bowling and kept it tight against two good openers. Then Robbins took overs 2 and 4. Paul was rewarded with figures of 2-0-2-16 which were pretty good against strong opening batting.
Morgan took overs 3 and 5. A mildly suspect LBW shout was rewarded with the umpire’s trigger finger. She was promptly taken off but the scorebook never lies. There was no way Morris was going to withdraw the appeal. If the Ump thinks it’s out, then it’s out. Morgan ended with 2-0-14-1. Pace and strike man Tony “more accurate than a special forces sniper” Timms took over 6 and tied them up, before being rested before they worked him out.
Sandy “the arm” Pierson was then asked to take over 7 and he struck straight away with the very nifty stumping of their number 3 batsman by O’Reilly. Sandy’s second ball was a comedy of errors. Firstly, he fell arse over tit on his delivery stride. Then his (lack of) pace had the batsman in the corridor of indecision. He swiped at it and edged it behind. O’Reilly however was creased up at Sandy on his backside and let the bugger go over his shoulder!
Sandy was clearly irked. His next delivery was equally unplayable. The Batsman spooned it up to mid-off. Skipper Morris raced in to pick it out of the sky but sadly ended up picking it up off the turf. Sandy was clearly even more irked. “Oh do me a favour Phil!” he grumbled, his competitive nature coming to the fore. The remainder of his spell passed without incident, save for a shocker of a wide, but 2-0-12-1 says a lot.
On came Lord Farquhar. Seven off his first over then a wide and a single before their No 3 smashed it straight to Morris running in from long off. Staggered at this rare event “Hmm and outfield catch to Morris not often that’s in the scorebook.” Said one wag [thank you Hendo], the team was temporarily elated. Jake finished his spell with 2-0-10-1.
Drage was next to be handed the leather. “What? Me? Are you sure?” he said to the skipper. “Well it’s either you or me!” replied Morris. “Ah, OK.” Drage said as he took the slightly wet and soggy cherry. Superb semi-death bowling followed with dot-1-dot-1-dot-1. Balderton’s young Tansley came in following the retirement of their opener, Ross. He needed no balls to work out Timmsy’s flight and smacked it over midwicket for 6, then 4, then 6 again over from where Morris had just moved the man. Timmsy came back with a vicious dot, then his spell ended with a scampered single and 2-0-25-0. At this point Hendo was starting to jump up and down, minion like, inwardly shouting “me, me I can bowl, don’t forget me!”
Drage finished his spell with 2-0-13-0 having seen Tansley retire on 26 off far fewer balls. Hendo came on and kept it tightish. At the end of the 14th Balderton were 98-3. Hawkins and Henderson then bowled death-style straight from the heart of the Grim Reaper. Their No 10, the dreaded female came on and hit a nice midwicket drive for a scampered single. It also earned an only slightly patronising “Oh well done!” from our esteemed Chairman, for which a fine was well administered the following evening. O’Reilly took a good catch and another great stumping before their star batsman was out LBW (or possibly LB nothing) off the last ball. Balderton’s innings finished 111-7, Hawkins ending with 2-0-8-2 and Henderson 2-0-13-2.
Tour style, Morris invited Ken “Kenny G” Gill to open the Barford batting. Initially Ken declined, having had four pints. However, eventually valour got the better of him and he succumbed to the invitation. Good job too as he faced down the opening girl’s bowling, and hit her for four over mid-on. O’Reilly knocked a single before being caught off their no 2 bowler.
In came Lord Jakey Farquhizzle and hit it around as well. We were well ahead of the rate and cantering along at 45-1 after 5 overs. Jake was bowled for 16 to bring in Henderson. Ken retired on 25 and in came the not insubstantial batting unit that is Simon “Skipper” Drage. Hendo spooned one to a safe pair of hands and in came Morris. Two runs later, and a Duck suit well avoided, out was Morris to a jaffa of a spinning ball, caught by the keeper. 76-4 in the twelfth over.
In came Hawkins with Drage still at the other end. Some flair-batting followed before Hawkins played on, for 11 and we were 87-5 in the thirteenth. The also not insubstantial batting unit that is Simon Morgan waddled in, quacking nervously. No need to be nervous though as he and the larger Simon set about them; 100-5 off 14 and only twelve needed off the last two overs. 105-5 off 15 and seven needed to win. Dot, two, two off the first three balls and it was looking rosy. Balderton’s Tansley wasn’t to be phased though and two more dots followed. Three needed off the last ball to win. Simons little and large (or large and larger) ran one and nearly stopped there until they realised only a second was needed to tie the game. Sprinting like Bolt and Christie’s fat, lame, white cousins, they scraped home for the tie and the never-ending appreciation of the Skipper.
Man of the match had to be Kenny G for his magnificent 25 not out.
The TFC would be shared between Morris, Timms and Pierson for, respectively, a dolly of a drop, conceding a few more runs than is polite (sorry Tony, although he was a good batsman) and for outwardly expressing disappointment at being let down by the field when a hattrick went awry (occasional bowling makes it difficult to get used to drop after drop eh Sandy 😉).
Thanks to my team for a great performance and to Balderton for a very enjoyable game.