Pitch preparation was conducted with great care so as to achieve a pitch of even bounce with opportunities for batsmen and bowlers alike. Sadly two mowers died in the course of pitch prep but no humans were injured.
The sun shone, showers threatened so the covers were released from their prison by the hedge and positioned to be at the ready and protect the near-perfect pitch.
The opposition won the toss and chose to bat first. Baboons all complained at their captain, Will. He seems not to be able to complete this simple task satisfactorily. However, all's well that ends well....
Upton came out with their stylish captain Roper and Austin. Baboons' bowling was accurate and mean but no wicket fell til the 8th over - a splendid yorker from Hulme who previously had tended to fall occasionally short and get pulled to the boundary. Tom Helliwell was just mean, there were near misses but no reward for him until his 6th over in his second spell. The second pair of bowlers were considerably slower but just as mean. Stratford on his return to cricket being unrewarded but Will Helliwell eventually rewarded with three. The first being a gift from their umpire - Will's polite enquiry regarding a ball pitching outside leg, went on to hit the pads in front of middle then be adjudged out by the Upton umpire who will probably be asked by his colleagues to study the Laws of Cricket more assiduously. He also caused the stylish Roper to be caught - a most valuable wicket. Then Hawkins (known as Guest One in ths scorecard online) bowled more mean stuff while giving himself a good talking to and Tedbury gave away some runs in time honoured fashion so as to get the time-honoured catch at long on - except Tom Helliwell lost it during flight - and down it went. But next ball Stratford, on his return to cricket, stepped to his left at mid-off to nonchalently pluck the ball out of the air. (2-0-26-1, Moeen Ali would be proud). The penultimate over went to Henry Stratford in his first outing for Baboons - a vast improvement on Tedbury going for a mere 5 runs though no wickets. There's more to come there.
Tea and cakes were achieved in style and much appreciated by both teams. Turning on the water boiler is really helpful when it comes to tea production.
Was the Upton total of 156 enough? Could Baboons exceed it? We had seen good bounce and only one ball that kept low. Will said there was spin to be had. Would Upton exploit this? Captain Will said yes. He opened with Guest One (Sam Hawkins) but they struggled. Occasional glimpses of Helliwell power were seen, much mistiming from Hawkins - the ball seeming to stick in the pitch on numerous occasions. Still singles were taken and boundaries achieved. Sam H continued to give himself a good talking to but was eventually caught and bowled for 34. Booth looked on in admiration while enjoying his umpiring stint. (It has to be said that umpiring was not hard. No decisions re possible lbw, caught behind, stumping or run out had to be made. Sometimes umpiring is easy. But only sometimes) Stratford senior (on his return to cricket) joined Will. He had one simple job. Give Will the strike. He did this and his son was proud, particularly when, after 8 singles he finally hit a four. By now Will scented victory. Bowlers were dispatched for 6 with the unfortunate Moose (he of the raised finger for outside leg LBW decision) given the honour of the 31st over and his first ball being contempuously dismissed for 4 runs and thus the last ball.
So all is indeed well that ends well. Baboons victorious. Only 3 batsmen used. Beers enjoyed at The Green Man and celebrations all round.