Saturday, 28 August 2010

...And you thought Pakistan were out cheaply!

Today's match was probably one of the shortest I'll ever play. We weren't even at the ground before it all went pear-shaped - first we were one short and then 2/3rds of the way there one of the guys I was taking in my car realised he'd picked up the bag of someone playing for the seconds who is about half a foot shorter than him. We found the ground and the Captain Jo took the guy back to Stafford to make sure everyone had the right kit and since we now only had eight players actually present and ready to start we decided we'd have to bat first if we won the toss, which we did.

It then rained a little for ten minutes or so on an uncovered wicket that was probably already quite damp, but eventually we got underway and as I was in at No.5 I began to leisurely put my pads on in the dressing room. I was about halfway through this when the first wicket fell, but when I emerged we ticked over a few runs before I went in at 25 for 3. My partner was on 16 and going reasonably well, but somehow I felt a little flustered.

I went in against a pretty swift seamer who I was advised was getting the ball to jag back. I just wanted to block him first ball as it was the last of the over, and I tried my best when he threw down a ball I had to play. I got the very thinnest of edges off the shoulder of the bat, but thankfully the keeper let it slip. Next up was a leg-spinner who was OK but didn't seem to be turning it much. my partner got a single off the third ball and I faced the last three, getting bat on ball each time but without scoring.

Back at the other end my partner had a bit of a rush of blood to the head and was bowled. Young Mr Birt came in next, a bright-looking lad who I've batted with once before this season, and he saw out the over. I was back facing the leg spinner and after a couple of poorly-judged wafts I got a single of the fourth ball thanks to a cheeky outside edge. Back up against the seamer he bowled one either side of me, both of which I treated with lofty disdain and left alone, before the third ball, a straight, full delivery on off-stump which I tried and failed to block. It is I suppose progress of a sort that today was the first match where I got off the mark but still walked back disappointed.

So two partnerships of one run each, and in truth my batting today was poor. I did remember to stay on my toes and bend my elbow, but my left foot was rooted to the spot virtually the whole time and I simply wasn't relaxed enough. As it turned out though my stand at the crease took up more than a fifth of the whole innings, as every player coming after me failed to trouble the scorers. Just the one run and I was our joint-third highest scorer!

A bye had nudged the score from 27 for 5 when I came back to the pavilion to 28 for 9 (i.e. all out) and we went straight into the field pretty much expecting the game to be up pretty soon. As it turned out we started off brilliantly, with Sam bowling brilliantly well on a tight line and only bowling one run-scoring ball in six overs. At the other end they had only scored two before a wicket fell, then two more fell and at 2 runs for 3 wickets we half-thought we might be able to snatch a win. Unfortunately the sun had come out mid-way through our innings and with the wicket now drying out two expensive overs from Ryan saw them over the line with no further loss. My own performance in the field at wide mid-on was pretty much textbook. We only bowled 12 overs and I hardly had more than a dozen times when it came my way but not a single run went past me all day so that was a box comprehensively ticked for me.

So all in all it was a disappointing day with a heavy loss, just the one run and no chance to bowl, but at least I was reasonably patient with the bat and well-disciplined in the field. As well as that it was a nice ground with an attractive pavilion and the Guinness was good, and that always gets a thumbs-up from me!

Good points: I didn't throw my wicket away like most of the team, played each ball on its merits, mostly left wide deliveries alone, fielding was entirely mistake-free with good technique.
Points for improvement:  When batting I didn't push out to close off the ball, defensive shots weren't sound, mentally I was a little distracted, before and after batting I was a little bit separate from the rest of the team.

Today's stats: (Stafford 4th XI Vs Oldfields Cheadle, 50 overs each)
Batting: Bowled T.Bourne, 1 (11bf, 0x4, 0x6 prt: 4th:1, 5th:1)
Bowling: (didn't bowl)
Fielding: Ct 0, St 0, RO 0

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