For the 2nd time this season I was at the helm with no Waring, Beaney or Yorke. This was only jaded by the fact we only had 9 players.
On a track which was flat but green, my intentions was to bowl and see if we were still in a game at tea. Hornchurch won the toss and batted. Presumably wanted to rack up points verses a depleted outfit in their pursuit of promotion.
We started up with Sean Whelan & Martin Smith. Both bowled superbly, Sean in the first over sending their top scoring batsmen from the reverse fixture back to the pavilion. Martin after some excellent line and length got what he deserved, as a frustrated opener chipped the ball back at him & Martin took the catch.
Hornchurch’s number 3, played some lofty drives and strong square of the wicket, but with notable edges between 1 & 2nd slip ( couldn’t afford a slip) raced to 50. He was also caught and bowled by Albert, as he replaced Martin from one end. Martin finishing on outstanding figures of 10-4-19-1.
Up the other end Callum Smith replaced Sean and showed promise and got the ball to move. Callum managed to get the Hornchurch skipper to lob a ball down my throat at mid on.
As Callum’s six overs drew to a close, I needed to get some overs up his end. Sam could only bowl a few with his bad knee, therefore i took my chance and re-oiled the shoulder and unleash my geezer- esque seamers down. Bowled reasonably well for the 1st 5 going for 24. After the 6 going for 41-0 ( 1 drop, but tough one for Callum over his shoulder). It was time to get Sean back on to clean up the tail, which he did alongside Albert. Sean 10-2-32-3 & Albert 10-5-20-4. Hornchurch were 173 all out, which was a brilliant effort with 9 players. Everyone was top class in the field. None of of us were getting carried away as we walked back to the pavilion. We had not chased very well in the last 2 preceding games, so expectations were low. Remaining confident I thought if we stuck it out we would win, even if we had 9.
Myself and Sappers strode out to the crease looking to bat time and both saying we would get forward. After 2 overs we were both back in the hutch playing off the back foot. Sappers bowled, trying to cut and myself caught not getting hold of a pull shot to square leg. Back to reality and we are 3-2. At this point I had thrown away an opportunity to dig in & see us on the road to victory.
Albert (33) and Rhys(40) offered us all hope with a 71 run partnership. Both playing some sumptuous drives with panache. The score now 74-3 soon fell to 116 all out scoring and we capitulated once again. An all too much familiar sight this season.
On the face of it the result sounds disappointing, but one we can take heart from. To have 9 players and to limit them to a reasonable score. A game i actually enjoyed captaining, bar the result. This season has shown we can compete in the field with anyone in this league, but our lack of application with the bat has cost us.
I think we need to enjoy the last 2 games & play without the burden of relegation or the painful defeats in the last few weeks. Two tough games, but we just need to dig in with the bat more as a team at critical points of the game. Let’s just enjoy the rest of the season.