It was game two and pastures new for our merry band of Greysmen. We were playing a match at Colemans Hatch, and that’s quite enough of that, thank you.As we drove through the gorse bushes of yellow and purple, rain was the last thing the weather was going to throw at us. Bluebells in full bloom, temperature up on last week, sun shining and wind light, all the omens were good for a fun day’s cricket, including the welcome return to his rightful place on a Sunday- Double D. Honourable mention at this point should go to single D, Dom, who made way for Dave, . “I could never take the place of your man”, he said to Biff, and after also answering a call at 10.30am to play the previous Sunday is surely an early leader in the Greysman of the year stakes.
Colemans Hatch proved as tricky to find as we’d been told, especially with the sat nav arrangements in Dave’s car being as reliable as Dave’s car, but lived up to its billing as very pretty with an undulating outfield. We hadn’t been told about the quality of the square, though, and the wicket was a belter for this time of year, especially compared to Warninglid, which this venue replaced in the fixture list from last year. Skip won the toss(?) and we batted first, the two openers got us off to a fantastic start, taking advantage of the friendly bowling and the gaping holes in the field, our opposition consisting of only 8 Hatchers, as they have been affectionately known since about half way through this sentence….. or a bit less, unless I do a bit of filling, dum-de-dum, there, that about does it. Biff and Jerry put on 50 in no time, batting with great positivity and reached three figures after 14 overs, by which time the opening bowlers had been told to get off, and had been replaced by more accurate swing bowling.
Jerry eventually went to a sharp caught and bowled having amassed a fine 63, to be replaced by your scribe, who dallied only briefly before playing a shocking shot, across the line of a straight one. Terry’s visit to the wicket was also brief, although he was more blameless in the manner of his bizarre dismissal, which went something like this…. Biff turned one off his legs straight to square leg, where the evasive action by yours truly (such as it was- lifting of the right foot to a point slightly to the left of the left knee. I could do with one of Zac’s diagrams as this point. Suffice to say it was more of a flamingo impression than a piece of athleticism) standing at umpire was not sufficient to avoid contact between ball and foot. In defence, your honour, the ball did take a big deflection off the turf, and was travelling at near supersonic speed from skipper’s Newbery Guevara. Unfortunately, the resulting ricochet landed about a yard from a fielder, who ran Terry out by about 6 feet. He wouldn’t have made it even with a dive, and he wouldn’t have done that anyway, since he’d only just washed his trousers, and is not planning to go through all that again in a hurry, I can tell you. It’s a hell of a job getting Christine to do these things for you, you know. And anyway, cricket whites are more cream than white. Another Greys first, I think (back to the run out, if you’ve lost track). In any event, it was deemed the stand out PSM.
Zac (our first player who’s name starts with the last letter of the alphabet. Streat and Westmeston don’t have a Zac) then went for a first baller with a swipe across the line, soon followed by Biff, caught behind for another fine 63 and suddenly we’d gone from 115 for 0 to 150 odd for 5. However, Guy coming in at 5 stuck around for 25 valuable runs, including a trademark wristy six over long on, and then Dave clobbered 46, batting at 7. He started slowly but accelerated through his innings, the highlight being a beautiful cover drive, which shot along the ground to a boundary others had struggled to reach. There was nearly a moment of controversy when Terry called a four that wasn’t, but no one seemed to mind. The two bowlers kept going to the end, with 14 and 16 overs apiece. Ben nicked one to the keeper, Alan finished not out for not many, and Ibu, after briefly showing us his new helicopter defensive shot again, danced down the wicket and unleashed a mighty swipe for 4 to finish the innings on 240. On top of the reverse sweep he attempted the over before I think it’s safe to say someone’s been watching the IPL. Not sure how long it is since we reached that kind of total. Also not sure how it is other teams manage to get through their overs so quickly, but nothing compares to us in that regard.
Tea was strangely flat, well the sandwiches were anyway, but very pleasant sitting on the grass in such a pretty place, as we contemplated the Colemaners batting. There had been much talk of one of their openers, who had apparently scored over a hundred centuries for the club, a record going back to 1999, so we knew the job was only half done, even though we only needed 7 wickets to win.
The first over from Alan, which was by no means bad, was hit for 14, as we discovered that Mr 100/100 was indeed pretty good, and would cart anything on his legs for 4. Ben bowled his usual inswingers, which are always fun to watch from behind the stumps but the runs were still flowing. Al regained some control after finding a line wide of off stump and then Ben managed to find an inside edge which was taken behind by a diving keeper. In a sign of the times, our former opening bowlers are now first and second change, Dave removing the No.3 and Robbie “don’t spare us the cutter” Hoare dismissing the No.4, both clean bowled. Opener Pollard was still there though, and while that was the case, a draw seemed a possible outcome. However, Mr Day was in fine form with the ball as well as the bat, and got his man with one that seamed in and struck Polly plum in front. Another caught behind and two bowled off the last two balls, Dave finished off the game on a hat-trick, with figures of 5 for 2. The 8 of Colemans Hatch, 96 all out. 8 bowlers used in the entire game, which probably isn’t a first, but is still worthy of note, as is the fact that a horse rider behind the bowlers arm stopped play briefly, which may be a first.
Off to the Gallipott Inn (or something) and it’s many terraced garden, where we learned that Christopher Robin may have/probably did play cricket at Colemans Hatch. Whoever that little tit-bit of information came from knows more than the interwebs, because there’s no reference to it there.
There was a good turn out at the Dover/Constant, where we were joined by Chiefy, Ricky and I-O (I put the dash in so we don’t confusing him with a moon of Jupiter, but it doesn’t really work, does it?). More merriment at Biff’s, with girls and boys, and a good dose of Wiff-Waff finished things off in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed; another very satisfactory day all round. Now we just have to settle on what dead animal to leave outside Twineham’s changing room next week. I say nail a raven to the door. Let’s go crazy.
There’s 13 altogether, if you’re trying to spot them all.