TMG vs Hartfield 27th April 2014
It was the first game of the season, and unsurprisingly it was pissing it down in Brighton. Still, undeterred (well, a little deterred) the Mighty Greys set off for unknown territory in the shape of Hartfield.
The opposition won the toss and very sensibly invited the greys to bat first. The pitch was soggy, the grass on the outfield long, and batting looked like it would be difficult. So it proved to be, with both Jerry and Biff struggling to time anything on such a stodgy surface. Our fearless leader was the first to go for 3, unfortunate to see the ball trickle into leg stump after hitting him on the pad. The score was only 10 from 7 overs, and Jerry, feeling the need to get a bit of a move on departed 2 overs later, caught out for 9. Alex was the next victim of the slow track, his attempt at an expansive drive finding mid-off for 2.
Next came the best partnership of the innings, with Guy and Terry putting on 38. Guy managed to control the urge to whack everything for a while before unleashing some lovely shots, including an effortless straight six. He also perhaps caused the most damage that has ever been done to a cricket ball for no runs by repeatedly smashing the ball as hard as possible either straight at a fielder or into the stumps at the non-strikers end. And when Guy was caught out for an innings top score of 28 Terry took over the six hitting with a mighty pull shot over square leg. Unfortunately this was Terry’s last contribution to the innings as he was out next ball, for the second top score of the innings, 14. After these relatively fluent attempts, normal service was resumed and the scoring slowed again. Alan took up plenty of deliveries but failed to trouble the scorers and Dave Day looked to be getting the hang of the conditions before being stumped for 9.
Ben and Ian replaced them, but at this point the Greys progress was delayed even further. Realising that his helmet had begun to fall apart Ben sent for a replacement which caused a dilemma in the team. The question is what to do when a team mate requests a new piece of equipment when time is running out? Do you, A: insist that he carry on without a helmet to avoid wasting time, B: delay the innings whilst running to the changing room to search for a new one, or C: fashion some protective headgear from boundary markers, empty tobacco pouches and paper mache made from the unused pages of the scorebook. If you don’t understand the question then you are probably Ricky, and you just take the broken helmet back out.
Ben overcame this to remain 3 not out at the end, Robby contributed a quick 6 and the Greys were bowled after Ricky (5) had hit one of the shots of the day, a straight hit for 4. So the Mighty Greys had limped their way to 96 all out from 42 overs, it didn’t seem like enough, but with the conditions as they were we had a chance.
The first breakthrough came in the third over, and after a couple of loose full tosses, Robby coaxed one of the Hartfield openers into driving a good length delivery straight to Biff at mid-off. Dave picked up the other opener in the sixth with Guy taking the catch, and after tight opening spells of 1 for 15 from Robby and 1 for 10 from Double D Ian and Ben were first and second change. Ben bowled tidily, was one of the few bowlers to extract some reel swing, and ended up with no wicket for 5 runs from 3 overs. Ian went for a couple of early boundaries but came back to take 3 wickets in seven balls, two of them bowled and one a fantastic catch on the boundary from Double, complete with signature Dave Day gratuitous backwards roll. Ricky and Guy got a bowl, but the Hartfield six and seven had got in and looked to be taking the game away from the Greys. Decisive action was needed so the skip recalled the opening bowlers. It took only two balls for Robby to strike, removing the number seven by inducing a loose shot, caught in the covers by Alan. Dave managed to better this by getting the next wicket with the first ball of his spell. Again a catch by Alan, this time at mid-on, who leapt like a salmon/antelope/tiger, putting in a full length dive and snaffling the ball (winning PSM in the process). Dave took another wicket in that over, bowling the batsman with a great Yorker, to make it a double wicket maiden and after that it was almost a formality. Dave took another wicket in his next over and Robby finished them off, getting the batsman to nick behind, for jerry to take a neat catch. Robby finished with 3 for 17 off 7, and Dave with 4 for 12 from 9. Cue celebrations.