Its a well-worn trope of the comedy-action movie genre; a hapless hero who, during the inevitable fight-scene, manages to vanquish a number of more highly-trained and dangerous enemies through a series of mishaps, pratfalls and accidents that have unexpectedly happy consequences. Awkwardly firing a bullet nowhere near its intended target, but thanks to a series of improbable ricochets, turning to find it lodged in the forehead of a would-be assassin who had crept up behind them……..that kind of thing, you know what i mean……
Anyway, lets start with some actual heroes. The Handsome Greys had been thrown into bat by the Hartfield captain and immediately Skip and HatRick settled nerves with another solid opening partnership. Biff was the first to fall, being bowled an evil slower yorker by the Hartfield opener who had kept it on a tricky length for much of his spell. Unfortunately for the home side this brought young Derek of Covill to the crease and our Ozzie batting sensation was soon into his work. And what lovely work it was!
Like a handsome and initially charming but ultimately selfish and emotionally unavailable bachelor, Del Boy found it easy to start partnerships, but much harder to convince anyone to stay with him long-term. HatRick again went in the respectable 30s, which bought The Fentonator to the crease. Alex’s assertive drives complemented Big-Hands-Del Boy’s cuts and pulls nicely as the Greys amassed runs and moved into a strong position. Zonko lost his head, getting bowled whilst trying to hit an improbable six, but luckily next-man-in Zack kept his to shepherd the Greys over the line without any more wickets tumbling. Zack quickly and efficiently reached double figures in support of Derek, who had tails wagging as he reached a century. A magnificent performance which included a dance-down-the-track forward punch that seemingly defied the laws of physics – the ferocity with which the ball raced over the boundary completely at odds with the minimal effort with which it had been struck. A preposterous piece of timing – gasps of delight hissed out from the pavilion!
Having scored 220 from their 35 overs, our eleven princely athletes took to the field confident of victory. In typical fashion Good Ben bowled someone out almost immediately with a trademark inswinging full one. Also in typical fashion, Ally G bowled superbly but just slightly too fast for any of the opposition batsmen to be able to get a nick on anything. The glut of wickets he deserves is coming soon!
The Shadow of El Telvador and Robbie Economy entered the fray, bowling well, despite this annoying geezer at the other end hitting loads of good-length straight deliveries for six! Just not cricket – bad form from him. Despite being put under pressure, Tel and Robbo responded very well, with The Shadow fully justifying his selection as specialist bowler, beguiling the Hartfield middle-order with his ….googlys? He finally did for the opposition’s stubborn opener, though a large part of the credit for the wicket has to go to Alex, who with an injured left hand, lurched to his right to claim an incredible one-handed catch with the ball just inches from the floor. The audacity of the catch was matched only by the nonchalance of the “yeah, yeah, who’s ya daddy??” celebration. It was one of a few moments that were all deserving of PSM.
Robbie, pro that he is, adjusted his length to stem the flow of runs just as it looked like the home side might run away with things. He wrapped his spell up with an impressive and deserved caught and bowled. Through all of this Evil kept wicket quite superbly for a man undertaking the job for only a second time! To concede so few byes on a postage-stamp ground is quite a feat. His first flying catch is not far off I feel. Biffy Lyno and the Zonk came on to bowl at the death. The skip getting the vital wicket of Hartfield’s destructive centurion thanks to another wonderful catch in the deep by the cool-as-a-cucumber-under-pressure HatRick. A match-winning moment that, again, would have been a worthy PSM winner.
This just left a bit of tidying up for the Greys very own Man Who Knew Too Little, who in true action-comedy fashion claimed his first wicket when a rank long-hop was top-edged to be caught at deep mid-on (thanks Biff!). He seemingly could only manage to hit the stumps when he wasn’t actually aiming for them, dismissing a couple more batsmen clean bowled after being instructed to aim quite wide of off. The game was finally won for the Greys on the last ball of the day when, with the opposition needing 6 to win, the batsman kindly hit the ball onto his own stumps – this is marked in the scorers book as ‘bowled’! Bowlers have it too easy in my opinion.
Many thanks to the Hartfield XI who were a lovely, hospitable set of lads who live in a wonderful and picturesque part of the world. But the most thanks to the ten mighty comrades (and indeed the other Greys who assembled with us back at HQ) with whom I’m lucky enough to share these days of cricket. What a pleasure it is to be spending Sundays with you all again. Don’t fuck with the Mighty Greys #DFWTMG