Away – Hampton Wick – lost by 6 wickets

Graces Hampton Wicked!

Planning a late summer wedding? Check Graces fixture date at Hampton Wick as it’s always a beautiful day!

This year was no different as Graces arrived at our host’s lovely ground (on the edge of Bushey Park) to find perfect cricket conditions; sunshine and around 25 degrees.

There was a lot of activity around the clubhouse (bar and cafe open!) due to a morning junior rugby event finishing up. As usual we were supported by our great band of followers – thanks as ever.

Manish had returned unscathed from his quarantine and promptly won the toss  – maintaining his 100% record! He chose to bat first on what is always a very true strip with a flat outfield. A late drop out saw Mark (skipper of our friends Roehampton Bats) make up our squad.

Hampton Wick Royals are a thriving club with a seemingly endless supply of talented colts who are selected to play against us – a request to their skipper revealed that their team’s average age was 24.7 –  I don’t think I have enough fingers to calculate ours!

Stuart and Jesant opened for us and looked comfortable against the host’s medium pace attack before Jesant fished at a wide one in the 6th over edging to the keeper for an ever stylish 12 – 32 for 1.

Mahender in at three couldn’t find his usual timing , edging to point for 6 – 35 for 2 in the seventh over. Regrouping was needed and Dom (nursing an assortment of injuries!) showed the necessary application with a strong defence while looking to rotate the batting with Stuart. The vice-captain meanwhile had reached an attractive 32 including 6 crunching boundaries before being caught – 60 for 3 in the 15th over. Guest Mark in at 5 helped compile our highest partnership of the day (53) with Dom , showing a nice range of shots before falling LBW for 33 off only 24 deliveries. 113 for 4 in the 27th over.

The game saw 9 (!)  bowlers used by our hosts – sadly none of these could be classed as making up the numbers as we were made to work for runs. This accuracy (together with youthful fielders) prevented us from reaching 200 – Scott with a quickfire 15 not out helped us reach 178 for 7 wickets – Dom top scored with 36.

After another BYO tea (featuring Tunnock Tea Cakes) we took to the field to experience deja-vu. Twice this season we have encountered young opposition openers who have scored a classy century and today was the hat-trick! 16 year old Chris Cole (later revealed to be part of the  Scotland under 17s) showed he’s a few levels above us with perfect timing and judgement dispatching anything loose (and not so loose!) to the boundary with regularity.

We were doing a lot of chasing and as ever we never gave up. He gave one difficult chance (a catch in the deep) but otherwise was errorless as he rapidly reached his century (in the 17th over) before retiring! After this the run rate thankfully slowed down to something more normal. But the damage had been done and despite a few late wickets our total was reached in only the 31st over with 4 wickets down – the next highest score was 16! It was a family affair as Chris’s dad hit the winning runs – so a loss by 6 wickets.

The pic of our bowlers was Mahender with 3 wickets.

Thankfully the bar was open so we were able to enjoy drinks in the sunshine with the opposition while looking for deer (a few spotted in the distance) while hearing the ubiquitous green parakeets flying around.

As ever there are positives as we showed resilience in our batting and our heads never went down! -With the season nearly at an end next week we visit a usually strong Pacific with a tennis tournament unfortunately depleting our squad!