Detail: 30-04-2023 - Roehampton

Result: W by 185 runs
Blues vs Roehampton cc 30/04/23

George Orwell, parodying Soviet socialism, wrote "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others". Such is cricket. The push and pull of 'mother cricket', the capriciousness of fortune & the chance of a good ball seemingly out of nowhere all play a huge role in deciding whether sunday is a great day out with the lads, or a stupid sport that takes all day.

Cricket, like life, is not fair. In life you have 'the haves' and 'the have nots'. In cricket you have those who are dropped and those who are not.
That is exactly how sunday played out.

Roehampton fielded a youngish looking team with 3 juniors & a rag tag collection of adults. They won the toss and put us into bat on a two paced soggy pudding. With the skipper's rallying cry of 'we are more of a batting team today' every Blue looked at the wicket and thought it highly likely we would all get a bat today. "A good day to be a bowler" Glenn wisely proclaimed.

The Blues started with a solid opening stand between Harry Baker (dropped once) and Nick Ellerby (not dropped). H. Baker could have had a 2 ball duck after middling it straight to point, only for their fielder to spill it. As a non bowling batsmen, boredom, tantrums and immediate Ubers home were thankfully all avoided. At a run a ball 34, H.Baker wielded the willow with deft touch, never over hitting it and looking untroubled for the entire innings. In 5 innings now opening the batting for the Blues, Harry Baker has replaced the departing Harry Tawney seamlessly at the top of the order averaging just over 25. You would take that.

Finally, on a pitch with more demons than Boris Johnson's love life HB was eventually bowled through the gate after a bit of help from the wicket. A few gorgeous extra cover drives from Nick to get to double figures and then a chance was pouched and he had to go.

Cef came in, not particularly pleased with the fact that the Blues digital revolution now clearly displays strike rate. Dropping anchor Cef nurdled his way to 9, before getting a lesser spotted quick, left arm yorker. A missed flick of the pads and Umpire Walker was in the game. DRS showed it to be hitting middle of middle, Digby's finger shot up and Youcef left the field with no complaints.

Then came the match defining partnership of Jack Ward (dropped 5 times) and Hal Stevenson (dropped 4 times). They put on a 'chanceless' 100 run partnership that took the game away from Roehampton and got the watching Blues settling into an early lunch. Fyfey developing severe pad rash, coming in at number 5, was up and down more times than the Shard's elevator. Watching each aerial shot from the boys get dropped repeatedly Hamish was convinced his first wayward shot would get pouched.

After Hal sauntered to 50 runs, Roehampton finally started putting fielders on the boundary. With all of Hal's runs coming from massive leg side swipes, it was strange that RCC did not respond by stacking that particular part of the field. Eventually when on 95, Hal decided to go full KP mode and smash a 6 to seal the ton. Out came Digby's camera for the fireworks. The bowler ran in, Hal lined him up and smashed it high and handsome. Sadly, this time, Hal's luck ran out and the ball sailed to the lad on the boundary who this time clutched it safely home. Hal had to go, with a match defining innings and an early marker for the batting trophy under his belt - boasting a strike rate of 138. Hopefully, that should act as incentive for the big man to come back for a few more Blues appearances this year.

Hamish, finally in to bat after watching the last hour of drop city, sadly took the fielders out of the equation and quickly missed a straight one, departing for 5.

Jack Ward continued to frustrate RCC with his solid defense and good use of 1s and 2s, providing a solid foundation for the score to keep ticking over. Eventually, he too was caught and had to go for 37 runs from 52 balls, 2 4s and 102 minutes at the crease. Definitely worth getting out of bed for.

A bombastic 9 from Digby until he was denied by a worldie of a one handed catch, with mid off diving to his left hand side. Shaking his shortened, but still resplendent, golden locks at how unfair cricket is, he too had to go. Richard too was unlucky falling prey to some crafty outswing and a well taken slip catch.

Jenks poked and prodded accumulating a 14* and helped to get the score to 233, with some good running from James Howe down the other end who was out in the middle for 2 overs and didn't face a ball.

Now over to the bowlers. Could they defend 233?

After some expert leg spin bowling on Saturday's morning net from Diggers, the Blues had a plethora of bowling options on display. Cracking the nut open with the tried and tested combo of James Howe and Glenn was the first option. Pace and tireless energy matched with guile and experience.

Sporting a new salt and pepper George Clooney-esque beard, what followed was a mastery of swing bowling from G Moore. The ball was on a string and catchers were seemingly everywhere. 7 overs into his spell Glenn had taken 4-for, one of which was an absolute pearler, starting on leg stump, swingwing away to clip the top of off. It's always a beauty of a wicket when the batsmen turns around and the only bit of the furniture that's missing is the crucial off stump bail. Put that on a postcode.

As we were playing 40 over cricket, Glenn had a bonus over and 6 more balls to play with. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. On cue, G Moore delivered another beauty of a ball and the 5-for was claimed.

James Howe, wreaked similar havoc at the other end. Incidentally, a new balcony seemed to have been developed on one of the houses overlooking the ground. Every time James ran into bowl 2 ladies with G&Ts in hand popped out to promenade on the decking and admire the tousled locks as they streaked in the wind. Spurred on by admiring glances, James bowled 4 maidens and took 2 wickets for 12 from 8 overs.

Not only did Jack Ward get dropped umpteen times but he rubbed salt in the wounds of all watching Blues by taking 3 catches including 1 absolute worldie. After an opening barrage of death and destruction from Moore and Howe (Digby counted 22 dot balls in a row) Wardy moved himself out of slip into cover. As we already had a crowded off-side field, Wardy decided to move himself even closer and pushed H. Baker back proclaiming "I'll go in short as I'll show him how to catch". Next ball, the batsmen crashes it straight at Wardy with a well hit extra cover drive. Somehow a big left paw shoots out and the ball stays firmly in his grasp. Cue Alan Shearer celebration from Wardy as he did laps of the square & the bat was on his way. Baker was not amused.

Nick Ellerby was a proverbial rock in the field, taking some great catches that helped keep the bowlers ecstatic & the Blues hyenas hollering.

After the opening bowlers took 7 wickets from 16 overs, the skipper turned to The Mullett and Fyfyey to take a turn tormenting the oppo. With everyone seemingly keen for a quick pint, Hamish had 2 overs and took 2 wickets for 10 runs & Richard took 1 wicket in 1 over. 10 wickets taken, Digby and Jenks were not needed with the ball and off into the sunset the Blues rode. RCC all out for 40-odd in 19 overs, with the Blues claiming a winning margin of c190 runs. Heady days indeed.

An added bonus was that thankfully we only had to listen to Youcef's "let's see what they've got in the hutch boys" for 19 overs and not 40...

Rolling into RCC's clubhouse, jugs galore followed. No longer GBP12, but still under 4 a pint, the clubhouse looked after us as a long winter was put to bed. The Telegraph pub for Guinness and chips followed. Then for afters an uber into Tooting led by opening pair Baker and Ellerby as the boys went on a crawl, making strategic use of the early finish and the monday off work.

Onwards to next week, to keep the winning momentum going.

Incidentally, Roehampton's Saturday 1s were bowled out for 59 & their 2s were bowled out for 128. Putney Sunday 1s were 153 all out & the Sunday 2s were all out for 89. A damp squib of an April has certainly played havoc with groundsmen across the country & as long as you're not bowling at Hal I'm sure May will see some pretty tasty bowling figures.

H Baker 34 / 35
Nick 10
Cef 9/19 - 48 strike rate
Hal 95/69 - 138 strike rate
J Ward 37/52 - 71 strike rate
Hamish 5
H Jenkins 14*
Digby a bombastic 13 -
Rich 0
James Howe - did not face a ball.

Glenn (8) 19-5, 2 maidens
James Howe (8) 12-2, 4 maidens
Hamish (2) 10-2
Rich (1) 1-7

[updated 06 05 2023]