Bushy Park, Hampton Wick KT1 4AZ
Midweek delight in Bushy Park
Taking up a particular invitation by Hampton Wick Royals, long standing regular hosts of our games in many years, Jonners managed to gather Graces Players supplemented by others we know well who play for various teams to play this midweek all day match. Wednesday 10th July was a lovely bright day and ideal for Cricket. Dom, a former Captain, took the reins for this one though it was good to have Manish in the side too, as you will see.
Overs were not limited but starting at 11:19 there was intention to play until Tea interval at about 14:30. Before that we would have drinks about every hour. Graces and Guests batted first against the two Jones, T and S. We know of course there is a third brother in the sides but he was working today. Our openers were Adam, again to be wicketkeeper today, and Dom. It was hard work getting any score going. After three maidens, Dom got a single and Adam the boundary and I could finally try pressing new buttons on the scoreboard remote. I tend to cope with it as the game progresses though fixing errors is stressful but the hardest part was initial set up today. Anthony, who kindly sponsored today’s matchball, was around to help in every way and be delightful company as ever but opted out of the technology.
Umpiring was done by rotation from batting side as usual and it was good to have Alban, father of our youngest cricketer who we may see more of in the holidays, open as Umpire for the first ten overs. Jonners being the other at first.
Sadly the next over was the demise of Adam as he was caught by Yas Ahmed at slip off T Jones. Our first guest, Sacha from Roehampton was next in and T Jones got another scalp in the 7th as the ball flew at speed off the edge of bat, was touched by first slip and with a bit of a juggle caught at second slip by Wood. Joe, his colleague from Roehampton was in next and at least got a boundary before he was caught by Bate at Midwicket Off Sam Jones this time. 16 for 3 was not a most ideal start and around this time word was filtering through about the delayed Indian response to New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup semifinals. They might have been 5/3 at that stage so at least we knew it can happen to the least and the great.
Phil of Hobgoblin Nomads was now in and just as the bowling changed in the 13th to Goodwin and Dunmore, he was undone too soon being quite forward of the crease on the third ball and given LBW. On the modern scoreboard, batsmen appear on left or right and so far every player on the right had not lingered too long. Syed Ali of Sunbury was our next guest but Captain Nick Dunmore had now started bowling.
Long slow flighted balls that were an invitation to despatch to willing hands and also on great line, often Yorkers. Dom resisted the first but fell on the second and was caught and bowled for our top score of 7. 26/5 in 14th was not our plan and Dom was definitely displeased with himself. In comes Manish, lower order as often. First though after 15 overs was a drinks break. Not just a cup of weak squash taken onto field but a trip inside to a fabulous plate of fruit, fresh tea and coffee, iced water and optional cordial and home produced brownies and flapjacks.
On resumption Syed and Manish stabilised the innings, rather like India were doing with Dhoni and Jadeja. Jadeja is from the same Indian state as Manish. He is now our Jadeja. This went well and became a partnership of 38 before Syed was caught at Long On by Dunmore off one of the last balls from Goodwin. His 28 was so valuable here. Jonners in next, remembering last match, was determined to stick around but Dunmore was still bowling and after three overs he gave into the temptation and sent it to Long On where Sam Jones did the business. In now comes Rob Field who now lives up Chelmsford way but has played a couple of matches for us in the past.
A hesitant start but then settled to a lovely rhythm with Manish. Mendip Singh and Wood were bowling now but this pair were staying and as we finally reached 100 at the end of 31st over it was another drinks break. Rob hit the only 6 of our innings on resumption off Singh but it was the 35th when he was caught by Sam Jones, this time at deep Midwicket. To his credit Sam was running around everywhere often thwarting boundary shots. 19 out of the 49 partnership to Rob’s credit. Nies, our other Hobgoblin Nomad was in briefly but soon caught by Yas Ahmed at Gully off new bowler Mr. Bate. Last man in to join Manish was Cato Harris from Ad Hocs in a lovely Icelandic Shirt. The 14:30 interval was a long way off. Manish however was hungry for runs. He was now on 41. Could he achieve a first ever 50? Cato blocked, he ran when Manish called, he read the game and stopped futile runs. He may have come close to being mankaded as he inched forward ready to respond. In one notable moment he set off but the fielder past short leg got it quickly and messed up the throwback to stumps.
Once Cato successfully regained his ground and the ball became dead, he walked over to that fielder and shook his hand. Hilarious. Manish got his 50 with a boundary off Sam Jones. The clock ticked on. Jadeja continues and suddenly it is as late as 14:21, virtually three hours of play, before Cato was run out on the second run of a Manish hit. He had tried to backtrack but there was no quarter a second time. The last wicket stand of 28 was over. Jadeja had stalled the Royals for a long while and his score was 66 not out in the 46th over and we had 154 on the board after all the early drama. It turns out this was a personal best score, to our surprise, as we have often seen great run chasing in lower order but Manish knows his achievements.
While all our activity was going on the field, Kent was in the kitchen working on providing a splendid tea, all from scratch. Nick thought the deadline was 14:30, Kent was working on 15:30! We agreed therefore an innings break of fifteen minutes and to break the Hampton innings when food was ready. However, that semifinal was coming toward a climax, were India in with a chance or not. Everyone was upstairs watching TV in the bar. Watching more late wickets, a stunning direct hit by Guptill, a still mathematical chance of India survival and in fact the Kiwi victory. No one went back till that was all decided.
Alban had gone off earlier but Anthony stayed throughout, long enough for birds in trees to say he parked in the wrong spot. We discussed his forthcoming Arctic Cruise. A friend from previous travels, John, also came to spectate after hearing much about us. We also had Will with us, another great guy to have around. Later we also got to meet Robert who may assist with scoring as our season progresses when matches are in the south of London which will be a relief if a week I cannot attend.
We resumed at 15:07 with Rob bowling to beefy left hander Yas Ahmed. What took us more than ten overs took place in one. Four consecutive boundaries! A precious dot ball and two byes. Manish bowled to Ian Collier and Yas and 9 more accumulated. How long till Tea? Rob hit back with a classy Wicket Maiden as he bowled a full toss and removed Collier. Harry Copeland was the replacement. Manish only yielded 1. Yas had more boundaries off Rob, Manish held firm. By the end of 7 they had piled on 50.
Hooray Tea was ready and a delight not to be rushed. Nies now joined Manish in bowling and between them the strike rate slowed. In the 10th just after a back of car park 6 but no damage evident, Manish got a result. Phil made a clean catch at Deep Extra Cover and Yas was gone for 53 of the 63 on scoreboard. After getting used to updating the remote as I scored, it was to be a luxury not to have that task as the boys of Hampton took on that responsibility. Or was it? Next in was G Tong. I gather he may have been away recently in Wales. The boys sledged both batsmen incessantly and as the pair steadily piled on runs they manipulated the tally on board. Quite confusing at times for the umpire colleagues. Cato and Phil were our next bowlers and it was the first from Phil when he removed Copeland for 27 on LBW.
Bate came in with determination and we feared another Yas but in Phil’s next over, Nies had a great slip catch to eliminate Tong on 45. A Wicket Maiden to boot. Wood came in and being passed strike survived the Cato over. Bate hit a boundary to reach the 150 and passed strike again and Singh really wondered why he was padded up at all and Wood smashed a Cow Corner 6 to finish the match. Bate was 18 not out from 10 balls. In defending our tally, we had at least made it to the 23rd over against a side admitted as having a few first team regulars. It had gone 17:00 so a good time to socialise afterward in the Bar.
It was not the closest of matches today but it was a fine experience and Hampton Wick appreciate that we put together a team for them. We enjoyed the company of our guests realising a midweek game is often most difficult for most players. And we now knew that depending on the next days semifinal, a thrilling climax to the Cricket World Cup would be in store.
I mentioned earlier that our matchball was sponsored by Anthony. I do not recall giving many credits for this recently which is either an omission or a lack of sponsors recently. If you would like to sponsor a matchball please get in touch. If you know of anyone wishing to be a corporate sponsor do get them in touch as our committee knows many a way they could be taken on board.
Our next match on 21st July now is League, away at Mayfield, to be played at Hazelwood Lane Sports Ground N13, not too far away from A406 Great Cambridge Roundabout. One we would like to win after losing the home fixture on the last ball the other week. Adam will post a report in due course on that match but we await some clarification of stats meanwhile.