Bathed in the orange light of the Autumn sun setting behind a distant hill, with a hot air balloon casually floating across; Barton Seagrave was an especially scenic location to close the season for many of these playing today, myself included. Of course, with this unexpected encore of a fixture being up at Barton, I took in the vista having just climbed out of the bushes following a fruitless search for a ball recently clattered out of the ground. There were enough runs on the board to make victory for the chasing home team unlikely, but would we be able to finish before it was dark?That this combined Grunicorns team had those runs to play with was largely down to two stand out batting performances. Ezra having opened, maintained a confident and consistent innings to retire on a century, which was assured enough to feel doubt-free quite a time before three figures was reached. The majority of that knock was backed up by Damon at the other end, who reached a personal 55 before retiring a few overs earlier to give others a chance to bat. There was just time for captain Stu to come in for a quick swash-buckle 22 off 16 to leave Graces with a healthy 261/4.Fielding at square leg, I was clearly perfectly placed to witness the turn of Abdul’s first ball; the facial expressions of others suggesting something rather dramatic. First blood came from a runout, quickly followed by a dramatic catch. The shot that looked infinitely catchable, but near certain to just reach a safe spot between fielders, until a dash and knee slide got Ezra to the right place to snaffle it. Safe to say he was having rather a good day. That was the first of three wickets from Kash’s bowling, the later two coming from a second stint when we needed the game closed out.Spoils were shared round the team. Helping himself in the overall season figures of two competitions, Matt caught off his own bowling. Damon nabbed Daniel just as he looked to be bedding in and set the scene for my own two over cameo. The first a sublime over featuring my first two wickets with the ball for Graces and the excitement of a potential hat-trick; the second over lasting approximately a decade and shipping sundries like they were going out of fashion. The highs and lows of cricket in (just slightly more than) twelve balls.
Chasing the sun then, it was back to the rather more competent hands of Kash and Adbul to remove Jack and Max who had made a stubborn late stand, then the rest of the Barton bats. A victory by 111, well worth a Hardy kiss. Tremendous team spirit all round and chance for both ends of the M40 to hang out once more before winter begins. A special thanks to Barton Seagrave for hosting and Matt for making the fixture happen when the unexpectedly excellent October weather forecast was spotted.
Here is the terrific report from John following a most wonderful day at a perfect setting in later summer at our friends’ in Northampton.