Detail: 21-05-2023 - Weybridge
Result: Lost by 4 wickets
Well the last week has certainly felt like summer, the sun has been shining, 2 Blues cricket games were on the cards with lots of excitement in the air & yes just like all previous summers, there were drop outs galore. The winter months had been peaceful and I had been able to give my job some of the attention it deserves. Well that serenity and focus was shattered last week. 2 matches in 4 days is a big ask, and despite 100+ members in the whatsapp group, the black book was once again opened and the Blues saw 2 debutats fielded across both fixtures.
Enter Lewis Hillman, stepping into the breach and signing up for not one, but two blues games in one week. Just so are Blues legends often born.
Unlike the ring of Power, Blues leadership can be shared, and Simon Richards stepped up to "share the load" and "carry it for a while" to proficiently lead the boys to their second win of the season on thursday.
Sunday started off poorly, with a flat tyre puncturing my plans of driving to the garden centre, buying 300L of dirt and building my vegetable patch. Again, Simon Richards stepped up and after watching him inhale half a dozen eggs on toast we headed to Weybridge.
On arrival we were greeted with 3 bleary eyed Blues drinking what from a distance we presumed were pint sized energy drinks. On closer inspection, no they were 3 lagers. With the maxim that "it's rude to say no" the boys had gratefully accepted Feltonfleet's offer of liquid fortitude. If this was part of a master plan to put the blues off their game, it was the most hospitable sabotage we could wish for.
Jon Molloy, ex Blue, umpiring, scoring and running the game offered me the chance to bat first. Suspecting they may have been stronger than us and unsure if our 11 had 35 overs of batting in us, I happily accepted the offer and Wardy and Cef stepped to the crease.
Before the game started we enjoyed a 45 minute net, which I think most of us desperately needed as not many have enjoyed a sizable stay at the crease thus far this season.
Jack Ward in particular looked mustard in the nets and took that form out to the middle. After a few well timed drives he unfortunately got a pearler from their left arm swing bowler and had to leave.
With Tom Jordan running late the number 3 spot was up for grabs and neither myself, Archie or Simon wanted it. Up steps James Howe ready to show the world what they've been missing. Playing some very out of character defensive shots, great use of the high elbow and showing huge patience Jimmy Howe settled into his rhythm nicely. Just as he was starting to purr and get the scoreboard clicking over there was another James Howe and Youcef run out. This time caused by a direct hit and Jimmy Howe had to depart.
A stoic stay at the crease for Archie, rotating the strike admirably before he too had to depart. A tough Yorker for Simon to face 4th ball to consign his day to focusing on ball shining. Whilst wickets were falling at one end, Youcef dropped anchor "thou shall not pass" and made sure only 1 end was under attack.
With Simon leaving, Jenks senior stepped up to the crease at about 70-4. With Youcef going at less than 2 an over and only 15 overs left, HJ stepped on the accelerator. Despatching a fair bit of yuck and punishing some nervous bowlers playing their only game a year, boundaries started to flow and the scoreboard ticked past 100. Suddenly gaps opened up everywhere and even Youcef got in on the fun hitting a few well placed 2s.
In 4 days the Jenkins boys scored 140+ runs between them. Whilst Ed's was against a decent attack featuring the fearsome Close / Keating axis, the elder Jenkins was dealt a slightly easier hand. Hiding down at 6, HJ capitalised on some dibbly dobbly bowling to motor to 50 odd at an impressive strike rate of well over 100.
Youcef (40 odd) did a great job of playing the situation well & departed after trying to up the ante, looking to clear the ropes and picking out the lad on the boundary. Despite the grumbling on the sidelines once Youcef fell, as is often the way, so did many more wickets. Wickets kept tumbling as batsmen joined Jenks at the crease for brief stays before turning back around and heading to the hutch (or the bar in this case).
After Cef there was a good ball for Tom Jordan and a Tough LBW for Chellis. & Henry after looking competent with the bat fell into the all too familiar trap of playing a big heave ho across a straight one - Henry missed, the ball hit all 3.
Indeed, we actually struggled to ensure we batted all 35. With Lewis Hillman weidling a new wand smacking a few runs to keep the score ticking over & Glenn Moore going at a run a ball to rotate the strike & ensure we got to a decent score. 171 off 35 overs. A decent total, much better than the last few Sunday outings. The Blues were confident with our battery of fast bowlers that we could defend this.
Cue a great tea of chicken and vegetable pasta, garlic bread and chocolate brownies all washed down with watermelon and some juice & then we took to the field.
However, it seemed that Feltonfleet batted a lot better than they bowled with some impressive hand eye co-ordination on display and some very expensive looking cricket techniques. People say money can't buy talent, but it can buy excellent cricket coaching & there was plenty on display and as our bowlers nobly charged in.
Good keeping throughout from Wardy, wearing his 3 pints well.
A great catch from James Howe on the boundary to dismiss one of their openers.
With their number 3 bat stroking Chellis and Glenn around the ground heads were being scratched and skipper Jenks was at a loss. Enter Henry Giles. Steaming in he asked questions of the batsmen & suddenly chances were created. Their number 3 had scored 47 in about 4 minutes and we had a serious game on our hands. Some well placed chat from Wardy behind the stumps to the gullible youngster 'it's got to be back over the bowler's head to bring up your 50 mate'. Luckily the chat worked and Henry bowled a good ball that was skied high and not so handsome. Quick back pedalling from Glenn and the ball was successfully taken. Jubilation all round.
Sadly it was short lived as the next man in was even better. Despite some impressive strike bowling from Henry Giles, bagging 3 wickets, to open up an end, runs continued to flow. Gilo brought himself out of the attack with a stiff back & we were treated to a lovely bit of flight and guile from Tom Jordan to probe away.
Despite Chellis steaming in, Lewis Hillman plugging away & a few tidy few overs from James Howe (also with a sore back) - they ultimately had a chap 'Director of Sport' for the prep school who plays golf with a handicap of 1 (how does he find the time I wonder?) - who was simply too good for us. I didn't have a Director of Sport at my primary school, indeed we had no sport teachers at all, but perhaps that's why half of FeltonFleet's cricket team are in the Surrey Academy while I bat 6 and bowl 3rd change for the Blues... Anyway, this ex-Harlequin player (3 caps apparently) proved too difficult to dismiss and hit multiple 4s and 6s with ease, not giving a sniff of a chance.
Indeed, with his rugby player build run outs were are best hope. There was a close run out chance with a good piece of fielding from Youcef to Jenks at the stumps. Despite vociferous appeals from both involved, not out was the Umpire's decision. A few more run out chances throughout, but each time an untimely fumble or an errant throw meant that the chances didn't fall our way.
Finally one end was opened up by X (perhaps James Howe?) & the father and son batting line up was broken up with the son given the hurry up by his frowning father and promptly miscuing.
Then, a caught and bowled from HJ. Queue an aggressive celebration from the excitable captain, slight embarrassment from the assembled Blues as the departing batsmen was about 12.
& finally FeltonFleet put us out of our misery with 3 overs left. Hand shakes all round, a jug landed on our table from the oppo and all assembled Blues settled into their preferred sport: chewing through their pints, doing their best not to think about Monday.
On to next weekend when the fellowship that is the Blues (luckily 12 not 9), like the elves will head into the west, into the undying lands, for our Exeter tour under the collective leadership of Messes Collett, Tawney, Howe and Leworthy.
See you all there.
An article proudly stating that FeltonFleet made it into the 'top 50 schools for cricket' once again this year https://www.feltonfleet.co.uk/325/news/post/281/feltonfleet-is-voted-top-50-cricketing-prep-school-for-second-consecutive-year
[updated 24 05 2023]