On a balmy summer afternoon Baboons made the short trip up the A1 (and across a bit) to Upton cricket club. Following the news that plague carrier Booth was unavailable the Baboons squad was in need of reinforcements. These arriving in the form of Sam Richo (I can’t call him ‘Little Richo’ as he’s already taller than his dad!) and Nikaash Dinesh, agent Gilbert securing his signature late in the week to bring Ropsley to their full complement. Skipper Bully lost the overs discussion and a 40 over match was agreed, perfect for a 2pm start… Nonetheless Baboons found themselves bowling first in what can only be described is ideal conditions – for batting.
Hulme was put on to open the bowling, with what can only be described as the world's roundest cricket ball. As such, Hulme found it difficult to find any movement from the seam but was unlucky on two occasions not to bowl the opening batsmen having beaten them for pace only to find the trampoline hidden in the pitch and see yorker length balls bounce over the stumps. At the other end Capt. Bully bowled tidy lines and also found the wicket springy. The run rate was under reasonable control in the first few overs, until the batsmen started to get the read of the wicket. Noticing this Bully rang the changes and Helliwell replaced Hulme (5/0/0/22). Sharp fielding from Dinesh saw Austin run out and Cameron followed, caught by Helliwell, thus Bully ended his spell (8/0/1/30) and subsequently turned to Richo to provide some leg spin (turned to Richo for spin – see what I did there?). We won’t linger on those two overs and experience soon took over as Gilbert the Elder came into the attack. He bowled with nothing short of aplomb and his persistent lines paid dividends as he swept aside some dangerous batsmen to finish with figures of 8/1/18/3. The highlight of Gilbert’s spell however, has to be the invention of the ‘shin barrier’ fielding technique. Not content to conform to the standard long barrier Cruickshank showed amazing dexterity to nonchalantly block a boundary bound ball with his shin! Supporting Gilbert, the two young guns of Blake junior and Dinesh bowled some steady lines and Blake was rewarded with 2 wickets for his efforts. At the close of the Upton innings the score stood at 177/8.
Teas were taken, but not by Gilbert the Elder who had forgotten his. Refreshed and revitalised Baboons prepared to begin the chase.
Going for 177, Helliwell (W) and Gilbert the younger (featuring his new, questionable trim) strode out to the middle and the former quickly set about the bowling of Upton, launching Bowmer for 6 in only the 2nd over. Young Gilbert was more conservative, content to nudge a couple of singles to rotate the strike, until he finally lost patience and smashed Bowmer to a well placed fielder, departing for 2. Sam Richo making his debut at 3 played some nice strokes, hitting a couple of boundaries before he too got over excited and a leading edge saw him c&b. Hulme then came in, much earlier than hoped, and tried to steady the ship. Helliwell at the other end continued to make hay although the opposition then took all pace off the ball and the rate slowed. Young James Anderson (no not that one!) bowling his dibbly dobbly seam, showed good control to restrict the run rate. Nevertheless, when Hulme departed for 20 (middling a cut from the bowling of Russel to point) the score had progressed nicely to 94/3 – a respectable score half way through.
Now playing as a specialist batsman, left handed Grummet joined Helliwell in the middle and picked up where Hulme had left off, steadily rotating the strike. When Helliwell finally departed in the 24th over he had made an impressive 63, plus a few lost balls to various hedges. The score stood at 104/4. Grummet then took the reins, as first Blake senior came and went and then young Dinesh made some nice strokes before being bowled by Hartland. What then followed next was unorthodox and unfortunate as Blake junior and Gilbert the Elder were both dismissed by Eastgate, who seemingly defied the laws of physics to loop a half tracker onto the top of off-stump. So shocked was the bowler that he apologised profusely to both batsmen for the nature of the dismissals. Sadly at this stage the runs required in the remaining few overs were simply too great with Baboons finally recording 145/8 off 40 overs to lose by 32 runs. Its fair to say that the removal of pace in the bowling did the trick, Upton certainly learned from watching the Ropsley bowling and were deserved winners on the day. Baboons return to action on 3rd July at home to Scopwick.