Baboons returned to wood and leather after a month's lay off due to cancellations and it soon began to tell.
The wicket was the best produced for years and ripe for good batting, and yet both teams failed to make hay while the sun shone. Perhaps collecting in the harvest was a better option, where was the dust cloud of two years ago to cause havoc and much coughing and sneezing to the Upton batsmen as the combine harvester chugged by at regularly spaced intervals. Oh no, it was two fields down the road and ineffective as an ally.
Redcar Stu's dodgy £2 coin set the tone as when loaned to the skipper he promptly lost his first toss of the season, but we'll not say any more about that!
Upton chose to bat and steadily accrued 34 for the first wicket. Tellywell opened the attack with the Group Captain and it took until the 10th over to make the break, despite the created chances. Fumbles in the field when trying to collect miss hits as catches didn't prove to costly but unfortunately did affect the fielding performance overall as Baboons looked very much like they had just returned from a month in the sun, but with only Grecian bronzed Stu with that excuse. The Hus was the unlucky victim, twice he was bumped from under the ball by a rampaging Shankers who was oblivious to the Hus call. Twice the ball ended up on the ground at their feet, with the Hus feeling most aggrieved.
Anyway the Group Captain took the scalps of the openers, the first fell bowled, which was just as well, the second at 41 was clutched emphatically by the gazelle like Hus bounding across the Veldt or maybe it was at extra cover, who let everyone in the village know it was his to take in no uncertain terms. Shankers kept his distance! The Blonde Crusader having removed his alien blue cap, but noted by the Judge for a later fine, secured a caught behind by BeeGee amidst the flurry of byes conceded. 42-3.
After Sammy G's spell wickets began to tumble at regular intervals, his dad producing the best bowling performance of the afternoon with a Courageous fresh from the Cape exclusive edition, 7 overs, 2 maidens, 3 wickets for only 9 runs conceded. he restricted the batsmen from scoring freely and removed the two highest scorers, one on 24 lbw, and the flashing O'Kane for 22, caught by the safe hands of the Blonde Crusader, when he looked at his most threatening.In between these Tellywell 's equally safe hands gave our returning tourist his third victim.
The Spin twins then worked their magic, with the wily old fox, Spin Doctor Beard floating the ball invitingly to tease the opposition and securing a bowled as he did so despite receiving a bit of tap in the process. The Judge completed the bowling honours and the wicket taking for the afternoon with a mixture of off spin and ? and the good Doctor glided imperiously in to collect the catch at short extra cover.
With Upton on 143 for 8 at the end of their 35 overs and that seeming a reasonably gettable ask tea was taken. The downside however of the fielding display had yet to be fully understood, as the Hus with gashed and bloody dripping finger and injured shoulder from an acrobatic dive later had to visit A and E for restorative treatment and another rest from cricket, at least not as critical as last season when he tried so hard to join Burger King in the flame grilled section.
Jeanette served Teas and then Baboons were set to attack, the Blonde Crusader reminding us that he had never scored less than 50 in each innings against the Uptonians. But, as always with a boast there comes a fall, and so our hero added just 4, bowled, to the opening partnership with young brother Tellywell. 6 -1 at the end of the 5th over as Bowmer with his accurate seamers and O'Kane's left arm spin tied the Baboons down. 28 -2 and Tellywell was back in the hive, caught for 5 in the 14th, and having to deal with a plague of wasps which had snook into the dressing room. Judging by the crash, band, wallops that echoed from behind closed doors they were all successfully swatted.
Redcar Stu was now joined by the sore jointed Hus and they pushed on to 68 before our injured veteran departed for 7 in the 23rd over, run out, stranded in no man's land. Struggling with himself , Redcar was next to leave, caught for 40 . It now fell upon the chairman's shoulders to lead the attack and we had to desperately push on if we were to avoid a first defeat for the season and our beloved captain, who now sat beneath furrowed and bushy eyebrows awaiting the doom and gloom of losing, along with no trip to the Green Man and an evening's entertainment with family and friends.
The Judge joined BeeGee and left two runs later, despite trying to knock his own head off, top edging into his helmet and protective visor to score his only run as the ball resounded with a metallic clunk and sped off down to fine leg, before holing out to cunning Tom Anderson, trying to force the pace, caught and bowled.
If it wasn't down hill before, it certainly was now. Sammy G walked out to the middle and returned another caught victim of Anderson, without troubling the scoreboard, Quack Quack oops.Dad left the parade shortly afterwards, stumped for 1 off the returning O'Kane.
The Group Captain arrived at the crease, struck a 4, before giving Anderson his third wicket, caught.
Tedders, our Spin Doctor, much practiced in the nets, fell to Bowmer bowled for 0, Quack Quack too.
That left the unflustered Shankers to blockade his wicket scoring 1 not out to see out the remaining time with BeeGee who battled onwards to 24 and take the Baboons to over 100. 77 -4 had disappeared in 5 overs to 90-9 before a final fling from our Club Chairman took the total at the end of 35 overs to 109 without further loss.
Not used to such treatment this season we licked our wounds in the local hostelry, minus our captain and his chauffeur the Hus, with Beer and fines, everyone contributing £2 or more in the case of the absentee landlord, the Judge, Redcar with his dodgy coin and Scotch Egged Will.
See you next week, Empingham at home, 1.30 start, with the rumble of the Grummit tearing in to bowl fear into the opposition from a great height and in new boots!!