300. To some, a figure that conjures thoughts of heroic Spartans defying the odds in ancient Greece. For the Mighty Greys, it will spark memories of a rout at Wivelsfield Green.
In particular, it will provide a reminder of the batting masterclass provided by Del, Jerry and Guy. If a landmark total was going to be reached for the first time, this was definitely the way to do it.
Coming together in the first over with just one on the board, Del and Jerry were finally being prised apart what seemed like hours later.
Scrub that, it really was hours later.
In between, they put on 212 in 28 overs for the second wicket – not a record apparently, but who cares when they had gone as well as this – with Del stroking 119 and Jerry not far behind on 76.
With that kind of platform it just needed someone able to rack up a quick fifty and the 300 would be in sight. Enter Guy, and this time records were broken. 302 for 4 the total….not bad.
Victory was inevitable and came in style after a watertight bowling display. The winning margin was 225, or in technical terms, fuckin huge.
The Horn was sounded on 12 occasions (fifties, a ton, a load of sixes) leaving kids at the children’s party next to the pitch screaming to be taken home. To be fair, they’d been looking a bit anxious from the moment we arrived.
A routine win then, although it didn’t always look that way.
The warning signs were there when the first car rolled into the village and Del excitedly jumped out to buy some ale and almost found himself on the end of a sting.
The apparently lovely lady in the shop was trying to rip him off 10p a bottle, fingers flashing faster than Ted Rogers.
The village would pay for that soon enough, but was it a sign? We were being hustled and a smiling assassin in the shop could mean a stony-faced killer opening the bowling.
More evidence when we reached the ground and saw they only had nine players. The oldest ploy in the book.
That’s certainly how it looked to Biffo when he was out third ball, caught off of a leading edge.
“I fuckin hate cricket,” said the skipper, although the romance appeared to have been rekindled by the time he was dancing around his cellar hours later.
Actually it was back on course long before then, certainly by the time he helped wrap up the win with two late wickets, so let’s just call it a wobble.
The home side, now bolstered to ten, were buzzing. Poor buggers. It wasn’t just the kiddies party that would be left shell-shocked.
At first it was simply a steady assault by both batsmen.
Scores were checked as the 100 approached; Jerry had 40, just three runs fewer than his partner. They stayed together but were soon to part company.
Yep, that’s right, Del reached three figures before Jerry hit 50.
The pattern was set. Jerry struck a single, and Del used up the rest of the over to go through his shots.
They all came out; effortless cover drives, several hooks and no end of straight sixes, before one finally fell just short and he was caught on the boundary.
Reckless, rash, unprofessional. You have to wonder what those winter nets were for.
Jerry quickly followed, unfortunate to have missed out on a century, but with a sterling job behind him, having moved through the gears impressively despite taking a sharp one on the thumb.
Terry helped steady the ship but it was Guy who carried on where Del and Jerry left off, slipping in seamlessly to deliver more brutal, classy stroke-play for an unbeaten 58 while the new bloke scratched out 14.
Mammoth total achieved, what could possibly go wrong?
Nothing, as it turned out.
Dave Day had been growling the Teddy Prendergrass classic ‘Turn off the Lights’ in the dressing room and, alarmingly, was clearly in the mood for love.
He cradled that ball, caressed it, teased it into finding an inside edge that Alex took well behind the stumps.
Then, he delicately removed the leg bail after shaving off stump. How did he do that? Nobody had a clue, least of all Dave.
My whippet always told me you should never resort to regional stereotypes but this was the craftiest of cockney tricks.
The batsman was left bamboozled and bewildered. Anyone who has sat next to Dave in the pub knew how he felt.
Two for four off five overs? Fair enough.
And with Robbie conceding just nine runs from his six overs – he was unlucky not to add a wicket to those figures from a sharp caught and bowled chance – the reply was over before it had begun.
Chiefy got into the groove, showcasing his Chicago Cubans cap with eight overs of thought-provoking off spin that brought him 2-19, one victim trapped before, the other smartly caught by Del at mid-wicket.
Alan found a nice line during his spell, working up some pace and repeatedly finding the edge before collecting two wickets when first Alex and then Dave did the honours behind the wicket.
Keep low said Del. I’ll keep low, thought Dave, and took a cracking catch at second slip.
Guy produced an even better effort to give Biffo (2-9) his second wicket after Del had pulled off a carbon copy of his earlier catch.
Then it fell to Terry (1-5) to seal the deal and take the final (okay Terry, match-winning) wicket, Chiefy pouching the catch in the covers.
So a sunny day, fine tea, batting for fun and an almost flawless display in the field with the PSM going to the superbly executed top edge that brought up the record-breaking 300.
Thanks for the warm welcome chaps – is it like this every week?