On a day that, at the outset, was forecast to be somewhat inclement the Baboons travelled to Upton for their third outing of the season. Captain Bullement’s initial team selection had the look of a cunning plan to avoid Covid travel rules – hitting an average team age of 65 would surely have allowed for a team bus pass to be utilised, avoiding 11 separate car journeys. However, a mix of unavailability and late switches saw a team with a fine blend of youth and experience take the field as the final selection.
Arriving at a dull, overcast, ground Ropsley found themselves batting first. Rawnsley and Booth looked solid; for the first two overs. Rawnsley a little too eager on his shot to Baumer, chipping the ball back to the bowler for a score of 4. Young Gilbert was next to the crease, Gilbert senior’s advice ringing in his ears: “patience” and “nothing silly please” were heard on the balcony (if you can call it a balcony!). Gilbert the younger opted for a more aggressive approach. Playing a delightful cut, straight to the fielder at point. Another victim for Baumer and Ropsley were 11 for 2 after 4 overs. Hulme went in at four and looked comfortable, if low scoring. The overs ticked by until opener Eastgate, rather unsportingly, made use of the seam. Nipping one back into the off stump and sending Hulme on his way; 21 for 3. Booth and Hulme were however able to eat up most of the openers’ overs. Thus, when skipper Bullement strode to the crease at five, he was quickly met by a change in the bowling department. This allowed both Booth and Bullement to begin to accumulate some much needed runs and the tone was set for the remainder of the innings.
Spectators marvelled at the controlled aggression shown by both batsmen and perhaps more so that Booth was seen to run 2s on several occasions: a feat that your erstwhile reporter has been assured is something not usually observed. Bullement was able to successfully bring up 50, his second of the season in as many outings to the crease. The opposition helped Booth at times with a couple of dropped catches but at the close Ropsley had a semi-respectable score of 112 for 3 from their 35 overs. Booth finishing the innings looking ready for a long lie down but with a well earned 38 to his name having batted effectively throughout. Bullement concluded on 58 not out, bringing his average for the season to a dizzying 105 – he was drugs tested after the game.
The traditional Covid tea was taken. Gilbert senior notably opting for more manly fare this week having been fined for salad in the opening match. Your heroes suitably refreshed, Ropsely took to the field in an attempt to wrestle back some control of the game.
Hulme opened the bowling, finding reasonable lines but unable to trouble Buckley who was able to time the ball well from the outset. At the opposite end, Helliwell’s line and length bowling paid dividends in the 4th over, having No. 2 batman Jake Hyphenated-Surname trapped lbw for 3. Hulme and Helliwell continued to toil without reward; Hulme unfortunate to see O’Kane clean bowled only to be called for a front foot no-ball. Inspired captaincy saw Gilbert the younger brought on for Helliwell. Gilbert taking a wicket with his very first ball; well caught by keeper Rawnsley. With Upton now 84 for 2 there remained a glimmer of hope. This hope grew when an Upton mix up allowed Gilbert the younger to take aim at the stumps; a direct hit sending ‘Moose’ on his way; run out for 8. The score was now 95 for 3. Captain Bullement added to his excellent performance with the bat with tight bowling. His rewards coming in his 3rd over, Eastgate driving straight to Gilbert the younger at cover for a well taken catch. Upton 104 for 4 off 17 overs. Alas, the total posted by Ropsley was simply not enough to halt the Upton charge and despite some tidy bowling from Bullement junior and Gurney, the Upton batsmen reached the required runs in the 20th over for the loss of 4 wickets, in what in the end turned out to be a straight forward chase for the opposition. That, as they say, is cricket. Ropsley simply did not accumulate enough with the bat to make this a tighter contest.
There were some positives to take from the day. His display in the field led to Gilbert the younger’s self-appointed status as man of the match (see scorebook)! And who am I to argue with this proclamation? Although I now will do, as it would be hard to look past the skipper or indeed Booth for their respective prowess with the bat, allowing the baboons to post a respectable total. Attention now turns to 4th July when Ropsley host Scopwick, looking to get back to winning ways.