Detail: 25-06-2023 - Langley

Result: Lost by 8 runs
Blues CC vs Langley CC

On a glorious June afternoon, the Blues drove out of London for a new fixture against Langley CC. Fresh air, sunny weather, Sunday cricket, more what could you want from a weekend. Apparently, a lot. With two Blues birthdays, in succession on Friday and Saturday night there were some serious head noise for half of the blues.

With the sun scorching down, the skipper asked the 4 Blues that had arrived on time what they wanted to do, and "Field first, get it out the way" was the decision. Jack went out and won the toss, chose to field much to the confusion of the Langley skipper. This was the second mistake from Jack today, the first was the 1am tequila shots.

With the start time quickly approaching phone calls were made as our three of our bowlers were in the same car and no-where to be seen. All responsibility was placed on James Leworthy, who didn't realise how long Garratt Lane was and decided to turn up to the opposite end to where Chellis was picking them up. Metto thought the game started at one, so quickly put the foot down to make sure he got there on time, he didn't. Fielding with 6 was not an option, so the Blues just settled down into some delay tactics.

With the team finally assembled the Blues walked out to the dustbowl the excitement rose, whilst deciding who to give the new ball to, I remembered the last time I played with Tom he got the opening batsman out first ball with some unbelievable swing and seam movement and Brando snaffled it at slip. Hoping for similar he took the new ball with glee and set off on his delivery stride with limbs flying around. The less said about this first ball the better.

But having settled into some lovely line and length, Tom and Chellis set into their work making one of the openers struggle and regularly finding the edge. Whilst Closey was counting this blokes dot balls to really get into his head the other opener was here for a good time not a long time and started teeing off immediately heaving to cow corner on almost every shot.

Having been given some unfair treatment on some excellent line and length, including a huge heave in which John Syfret tried his best to take what would've been a screamer, Chellis got the last laugh as the ball crashed into the stumps and he was back on his way.

After five overs, and the ball regularly travelling to the boundary, multiple blues where heard stating "it's a 250 pitch lads, loads of runs to be had out here". There were lots of runs, unfortunately for the Blues it was mainly extras, but we will get to that later.

First change saw James Leworthy bowling some liquorice allsorts, mixing up pace with some leggies, offies and the occasional bouncer. James found the edge of the bat with regularity, but even with 3 slips and a gully the chances just weren't coming and he finished with pretty bleak figures of 0-50 of 7 overs. Can see Glenn already wining at seeing such figures.

Jack Close, having scored 50 against the Blues earlier this year was brought in as a bowler and you can see why. Immaculate line and length has slowed the run rate, but unfortunately he too fell to some incredibly unfortunate chances and finished with 0-30 of 6.

James Howe, coming off quite a large night and the same 1am tequilas Jack had, was finally given the chance to see if he could be more fortunate. He was, having had an early LBW appeal refused, as the ball was "going down leg", instead of crashing into middle of middle, he took things into his own hands and the bails went flying.

James continued this with another clean bowled, and with some smart field positions, Jenks took a catch and James was all of a sudden on a 3fer. Having decided to let him bowl out and drop all the way to 11 in the order, James took his fourth in his penultimate over as Metto took a smart grab at cover.

Having made this sound like the Blues took lots of catches, I want to reiterate that the opening batsman Closey was previously mocking for scoring slowly, had somehow managed to accumulate his way to 50 by solely nicking it down to 3rd man, and placing all his aerial shots teasingly close to the Blues fielders.

James took the ball in his last over, 5 balls down and the dreams of a 5fer fading, he got the ball to hoop in and hit the pads for the umpire to finally give an LBW and he was jubilant. Maybe you are a specialist bowler who should bat at 11 more?

James L and Tom Hinde came back on to finish out the innings, and Tom was extremely unlucky to not take any wickets in an over in which he could have had 3 if the ball hadn't dropped invitingly near Blues hands. Were any of the Blues going for the "If you don't touch it, it doesn't count as a drop" mantra.

Langley CC ended on 236-6, under par according to the excitable Blues. Especially with Pikey and Metto opening.

With everyone covering under the nearest tree, Metto and Pikey strode out to get the chase underway. Pikey looking annoyingly good at cricket as always, played some excellent cover drives and pull shots to streak away to 27. Metto kept up by having a huge over in which he put away 4 no balls on the trot... always a nice way to get motoring.

Pikey, dreaming of Glasto and listening to Sir Elton, duly forgot to concentrate, and an untimed heave later was back with the boys having heard the dreaded death rattle.

Harry J came and joined Metto at the crease and the pair continued the great run chase to take us to 80odd for 1 at first drinks. With the boys on the sideline talking about how Metto was looking in great nick, giving him the commentators curse for him to nick off a few balls later and was back joining Pikey for a cold drink and some well-deserved shade.

Simon Richards coming off a top-10 hangover having been vomming from 8am to 8pm Saturday was hoping his Sunday would be better. Striding out with the Blues in a precarious position, Simon knew there were runs out here and hoped they would be for him. A few balls of Simon and Jenks, Jenks decided to absolute middle it to a fielder and got quite unlucky for him to actually take the catch, tough day at the office.

Jack came out to join Simon and with the blood alcohol levels for the batting pair were barely legal to drive, both proceeded to struggle to drive anything. Having had some dubious, LBW, wide and front foot no-balls called against us in the field, the MO for the umps was, "don't give anything, even if it's plumb", was duly followed by James Howe who decided it was going down leg, when it was clearly hitting middle of middle. Simon's first life of the day. Barely one over later Simon attempted to sweep, and top-edged the ball straight up in the air, somehow the keeper and first slip couldn't decide who's ball it was and the ball landed safely on the ground. It's not a drop if you don't touch it.

Sadly, Jack didn't have the same fortune as Simon and top-edged after scoring a few and had to retreat to the boundary. Chellis having been pulled after only a few overs of bowling to give himself the opportunity to bat took to the field knowing how important this knock could be for future batting opportunities. He proceeded to make our specialist batsman look a bit silly with some exquisite cover drives, on drives and some attempted reverse sweeps.

Having spent far too long on this match report already, I'll rattle through the following:

Simon's 3rd life was another drop by the keeper, who threw a tantrum and gloves at his fielding misfortune. Two balls later, Simon cut to point to be dropped again. If you haven't seen the video of Simon dancing around his stumps, please look at the footage, there are no words for how I can describe the ballerina-esque footsteps around the wickets after he middle the ball with the toe end of the bat.

Having watched Simon and Chellis try and up the run rate, but a couple of mistimed shots and a very defensive field, a certain John Syfret was seething on the sidelines. " If you're going to bat before me at least go and swing the bat at it". I thought, punchy from a man who's in next, will this come back to bite him, only time will tell. Simon's luck finally ran out and he was caught, much to John's relief. Living up to his MO he came out swinging, 4 first ball and the run chase was on. That was sadly the highlight as he was back with the boys an over later. A story as old as time, it's a lot easier to bat from the boundary!

Closey, coming in of some serious LMS and Latchmere form, hoped this would carry on in after stepping up to the Blues standard. Closey and Chellis hit boundary after boundary and ran hard. They gave themselves 24 to win of the final over. A big ask, but not unheard of. James Howe feeling excellent after his 5fer decided to annoy the oppoy even more by calling 2 front foot no balls followed by a wide in the first three balls of the over. All of a sudden it was 20 of 6, sadly the Langley team had every single fielder on the boundary and Chellis and Closey couldn't quite carry us home. Congrats to Chellis for finishing with a 50 red inker after scampering through a single last ball of the game. Shame you'll be bowling a full set next game!

Langley beat the Blues by ~17 runs, a hard fought, but unfortunate loss. Hopefully the Blues can get back on the horse on Wednesday with a T20 against Putney CC.

Allez the Blues.

P.s. this is when a match report should be finished (James H, Brandon, Cef!)

[updated 04 07 2023]