Gnomes Romp to Victory at Broadbottom
With the pitch set out leaving a short boundary to the pavilion and cloudy conditions promising gathering gloom, all looked set for winning the toss and batting first.
With the pitch set out leaving a short boundary to the pavilion and cloudy conditions promising gathering gloom, all looked set for winning the toss and batting first. Broady had come prepared for this, however, and with only six or seven of their players in the dressing room at 6.20pm (the rest of the team no doubt hiding behind the pavilion), requested that they bat first. Not wanting to delay the start further, cap'n Seg (ret) reluctantly agreed.
Broady got off to a good start and accumulated runs steadily right through their innings, despite tight bowling from M'lud, Fairy (aka Fungi?), Duvet, Snapper, and Mutton - the last keeping it tight in the final overs and taking one of only two wickets to fall to the Gnomads (MJK taking the other). Several missed catches, run out missed, etc contributed to the Gnomads failure to be able to take any attacking stance in the innings. Off the 20 overs, Broady made 147 runs (just under 7.5 per over), a tough target for the Gnomads, especially with the gloom descending. But with a strong batting line-up, the prospect of beating Broadbottom for the first time in Gnomadic living memory (that'd be two weeks last Monday), maybe ever, was a possibility (although the odds at Ladbrokes must have been at least 100:1 against, taking the Gnomads' previous record into account ).
Snapper and MJK opened the batting. After a few Waddy air-wafts, he started to find the middle of the bat and commenced the Gnomad run chase. MJK looked in good touch too, but was run out after rashly calling for a second run to a mis-field. Desperate, recovering from a major foot injury inflicted by a lawn mower, kept up the with the run-rate, as did Duvet, coming in when Snaps retired on 25. The first 50 came up in only six overs - over 8 an over! Seg (ret), coming in when Desperate was out bowled on 16, made only got a handful of runs before being bowled by an dipping inswinger - not really the captain's innings required. This brought a self-reportedly out-of-form M'lud to the crease, who then smote repeatedly to the boundary (three fours off three deliveries at one point). The Gnomads were always just ahead of the rate, but the gathering gloom surely must have an effect sooner or later. It certainly did! The Broady fielders just couldn't see the ball as it raced to boundary after boundary, all of which were cheered on their way by an enthusiastic, and somewhat disbelieving Gnomad crowd (many thanks to Three Bricks turning up to spectate). As Duvet and M'Lud both retired, Sluice put on a quick 9 before being bowled.
Broady, realising the game was slipping away, exhorted their players to greater efforts but with plenty of batting to come Beertrix and MHdlT (coming in at 9 !!) finished off the run-fest in the best of styles. In light that would have turned umpire Buckner into a dead ringer for the Invisible Man, and with two overs to spare, they steered the Gnomads to victory and a total of 150 (for 4, overall run rate over 8 an over).
Agincourt all over again, wild cheering, and a fine tea including pizza, chips, an extravaganza of sandwiches, pies.... etc. Pints of beer. Desperate in heaven. The rest of us were pretty pleased too. The Broadbottom team looked glum, 'though they brightened up later on and invited us back next year (for revenge?).
Desperate reminded us that the Bridgemont Beer Festival at the Dog and Partridge is this coming weekend. Main night for Gnomads will be Friday, when we can re-live this great match once again.
Here are the match stats (MHdlT insists that no match report is complete without them). The more observant may notice (in fact you won't need to because I'm telling you now) that our actual score appears to be 155. We won in even better style than we thought!