A poor performance all round from us lead to our first defeat in a few weeks on a steamy then rainy day at Canvey Island.
I'm getting rather bored of typing this, but once again we lost the toss and fielded first. With a pitch where the ball dusted through the top regularly, it looked as though it might suit our bowlers, but we never really hit our straps.
Dinesy and Sean both started OK, but despite the ball popping and occasionally shooting the only chances came from the occasional close run out call. By the time the change bowlers came on, the Canvey openers had settled in and begun to open up. At this point, a couple of catches went down that probably should have been taken and a general malaise in our fielding set in that was way below the high standards that we have set for ourselves.
Both spinners took some tap as Canvey upped the rate and sailed past 100 without loss, but when Cyril removed one opener it only seemed to spur the other on past a hundred. It was a quality knock, but we only have ourselves to blame as we had at least 3 chances to remove him. When Cyril, who up until that point had bowled fairly well, was tonked for 20 off an over, 300 looked a distinct possibility. That they didn't was largely down to Dinesy and Sean. Dinesy nipped in with some wickets to ensure we at least got on the board a bit, including a team hat trick at one point. Sean meanwhile was really impressive once again, bowling at the end of innings against a team with wickets in hand he simply did not let them get away. Dinesy picked up 4 and Sean 1, cleaning up the batsman he had bowled with a no ball just moments earlier. 257 was way above par - it could have been more at one point, but the earlier wickets we would have got if our fielding had been better could have left us chasing a sub 220 score which was more in line with the wicket.
Gunnar and I started solidly if unspectacularly as Canvey hit the length that we had perhaps struggled to early on. However, runs became easier to come by as time went on and a second consecutive hundred stand left us in with a sniff. Gunnar teed one straight up in the air shortly after I had passed 50 and Loz followed soon after. Dave came in and played a nice mature knock, picking the right ball to hit and leaving intelligently as the game got tighter and spicier. With about 90 needed off 11 overs we were still just about in the game, but unfortunately I clumped a full toss straight to midwicket and Dave was yorked next ball. Losing both of us in quick succession proved to be the fatal blow, as after that in steadily heavier rain we struggled to put a partnership together. Beaney heaved around a straight one, Greeno was caught on the line hitting out and Albert chipped one back to the bowler, then suddenly we were into the bowlers who were left with way too much to do. Sean was eventually the last man out just as lightening began to flash around the ground, about 20 minutes too late to save us from an in all honesty undeserved rain off.
This league is now really, really tight. Rankins are close to being up you would think, but the next 4 are all in with a very real shout of promotion - we still have the other teams in the top 4 to play, so in many ways it is in our own hands still. We just need to chalk this one off as a bit of a one match aberration in the field, pull our collective fingers out, and start anew next week...