In both my own and Vice-Captain Olly Beaney's absence, this week it fell upon trust opening batsmen Oliver Gordon to lead the troops into battle this past weekend. See below his account of Saturday's encounter with Hornchurch:
On a cloudy, but humid day I was thrown in to cover for skip & VC. At the toss knowing our strength was definitely in our batting, i of course lost the toss. Knowing the Hornchurch athletes were back to full strength (according to their skip), it felt a sense of impending doom sinking in.
We took the field, Martin opened up and continued through for 10 overs. Massive credit goes to him. Martin deserved more than what his figures suggest with excellent line & length( 10-2-37-0).
Up the other end, Tobie found it hard to get off to a good start. After 3 legside wides, the first legitimate ball off the bat was a filthy full toss which the opener bizarrely slapped straight to Stimmo, who took a splendid catch.
Their number 3 came in and carved everything and anything to his 50, taking Tobie to task. Aided by Stevie C & Dinesy we needed to change tact & Dinesy for his first spell tightened an end up.
Meadows was introduced after Martin’s fine spell, Meadows was exceptional, given the state of play he came in on. He removed an opener, who was all at sea trying to pierce the field l, but mostly just rotating the strike to their bludgeoning number 3. Meadows bowling the opener coincided with Sappers suffering a nasty blow to his mouth, removing a tooth. This meant for a short period we were once again this season a man down in the field. Steve Coleman took the gloves and did a fine job. In an another incident, Meadows & I collided with each other. Both failed to take the catch and our woes continued.
I needed to find overs after a poor start, Sam Crispin stepped up with the ball, coming on to replace Dinesy. Sam was soon in the wickets and bowling well removing the number 3 chopping on & number 5 spooning a catch to Albie.
Persisted to bowl Meadows and Crispin as we had weathered a storm, which was only yet to come.
Hefty contributions from their middle to late order made sure they were posting a substantial score. In response to this, in the field we lost our voice and sense, with buzzers and village fielding in session. Panic stations commenced and their number 8 came in despatching Dinesy several times into coxtie green road. My own goober of a drop catch will live with me for a while, head truly spun. Loose bowling and poor fielding at the death in the last 10 cost us pegging back a score to chase.
295, seemed a taunting ask at Tea, but one we all embraced and got on with after the break.
Myself & Sappers got off to a decent start, Sappers the aggressor and getting the ball rolling to the boundaries. Sappers caught behind. Albert came in and myself and him had a strong stand of 76 & glimmers of Hornchurch feeling they were in a game. I departed from the scene trying to play one too many pull shots and ballooning a catch to the goalkeeping outfielder who leapt like a salmon to pouch the catch. Albert shortly was out caught. The two Steve’s gave some big hits and carried the momentum, until both were caught playing big shots to push us further along. Some strong swiping from Stimmo with a cavalier 6, which he was stumped now we were 171-6.
Enter Sam and Meadows, both with nowt to lose at this point, came out playing their shots. Notably Sam’s first ball 6 from a no ball from Henergan who was called twice for no balling & out the attack immediately. Sam (24) & Meadows (26) were both caught from the bowling of the goalie Philips, who had turned spinner to get the overs in. Both of them put on 41 for the 7th wicket.
Some big hits and cameos from Dinesy, Martin with Tobie supporting them well. We fell 40 short. By and large a tremendous effort from everyone 1 to 11. Couldn’t be more proud of everyone and how we all performed. Many thanks to Steve Coleman & Dinesy for their input and assistance to me. Harder games to come in the next 3 matches which we must compete against Great Totham, Stock & Great Baddow ( Top 3 teams in the league) like Hornchurch Athletic all vying for promotion. Let’s go again next Saturday boys!