Detail: 09-07-2023 - Paddington Rabbits

Result: W by 23 runs
*Blues v Paddington Rabbits match report*

Never have too much of a good thing, so the saying goes (or something like that), as was the case last night after the delivery of Eddy Js excellent Friday match report. But hot on the heels of Fridays game and match report, we also have Sundays game and match report (cough Cef cough). Lightening also doesn't strike twice (apparently, although once is probably enough to ruin your day) but whilst 9/11 Blues arrived before meet time and were this time warming up waiting for the oppo, Eddy J (with brother Guy in row) were running late - ironically from having too much of a good thing.

The remainder of the Blues team were out assessing the wicket, which didn't take long as it was an astro deck with an outfield rougher than Leworthy's performance on the second night of tour.

For those unacquainted, Paddington Rabbits play in the lovely Padding Rec, with the quirks being that not only is it on astro deck but you can only bowl from one end to stop the children's playground being at square leg. With the surroundings slightly tardy and the opposition finally showing face, the captains view was we could be watching a famous England win at Headingley on the boundary, whilst also topping up top order averages and having the delights of an engine room of Jenkins to watch at the same time. The opposition captain was a bit vague about whether he wanted to toss or was happy for us to bat, so under the captains instructions the openers padded up and headed out before questions could be asked.

Unfortunately Eddy J had other ideas on the Jenkins engine room entertainment and lightening did strike twice in 2 days, as he took his marching orders after a questionable leg side flick from middle stump that ended up in the slip's grateful hands first ball of the second over. Thankfully in this case form is temporary and class is permanent, but Harry Jenks was in the middle to join Bakes. Whilst Blues nerves jangled with the updates from Headingley, Baker and Jenks were providing nothing but excitement for those assembled around the Rec. Seeing off the two accurate openers, whilst adjusting well to the unusual pitch, both quickly began to score with ease as the Bluesmen tried to give England a guiding light. 113-1 for 1 after 17 and drinks were taken, and with those lower down the order (cough Cef cough) mentioning within earshot that maybe we should be thinking about retirements, the captain had a quick word - 'you don't need to go Mark Wood, but let's get on with it so you get hundreds and the others can have a bat'. Being the dedicated Bazball disciple / Bluesman he is, having just got himself to 53 the over before drinks, Baked spooned one to cover first ball back out. Whilst those engrossed in the Headingley magic hoped this wasn't a sign of things to come, those still watching the game (pretty much no one) got what the crowd came for - a Jenkins duo at the crease, as Guy Jenks strolled out at 4. Looking a little dusty from the previous nights antics didn't stop the crowd from getting what they'd been promised - dealing largely in boundaries it took all of 7 overs and the return of the opening bowling pair to remove Guy, who had in the meantime gathered a rapid 47. Being padded up for 23 overs, with the batsmen in the middle making the pitch look docile, is many batsman's nightmare - and so it proved for Prem, gone second ball. Happy to play second fiddle to a, at this stage rampant, Harry Jenks, the captain was in and tapped it around to dominate the non-strikers end. It was at this point Bakes, no doubt bored of umpiring and a potentially impending England loss as Brook departed, mentioned between overs that Harry Jenks was 99 not out before giggling to himself and running off in the silence that followed. I laughed it off and insisted he wasn't quite there yet and to concentrate - 2, 4. It must have crossed his mind, 'was he nearly there', ah yes, next ball caught in the deep - for a fantastic it turned out (but no doubt infuriating) 97. Cricket is a cruel mistress, but a strong 148 run contribution from the Jenkins trio (thanks for coming Ed).

As shown by the scores, it was a pitch for the settled batsman and so it proved with a few runs but wickets falling until the end of the innings, the only moment of note being Cef running himself out at the non strikers whilst half way down the pitch to a ball hit hard and straight at short mid on, who was two steps from the stumps. You can only play what's in front of you though and on a tough pitch 238 was felt to be a decent score from the boys, despite the outfield making fielding look tough.

An extended tea break followed as both teams were happy to watch the end of the Headingley run chase. Cef clearly decided that running himself out wasn't enough of a mention in the match report and, having got over excited by the Mark Wood six, decided that my nose shouldn't be a barrier to his fist punching the air forcefully in celebration. We therefore returned to the field buoyed by the scenes at Headingley (suck it @Brandon Lancaster) whilst I tried to stem my bleeding nose.

Cef, now starting to take a leading role in the match report, informed the team he'd forgotten the match ball and so we carried out with us the spare GBP4 Slazenger that we usually give the oppo if they're stuck - so the bowlers weren't in the best mood when we kicked off. A regular sight in south west London and Surrey is Glenn's hooping outswingers and many a batsman ending their day early. What we didn't expect to see on Sunday was Glenn swearing at a guy that was probably old enough to be his granddad and then bowling a bouncer - but we saw both in the first over, after an admittedly outrageous wide was given despite the ball being inside the tramlines. Debutant James shared the (already disintegrating) 'new' ball and after a tense first over the umpire had clearly got the message that we weren't going to allow him to tick off our total with extras (although there were 42 of them in total). Another flash point as he initially gave a wide for 'over the head' as it cannoned into the batters grill, before he backtracked and claimed he was saying one short ball for the over (to the confusion of the scorers), and thankfully things settled down from there.

Glenn and James, with guile and good skiddy pace (I'll let you guess which was which) and unerring accuracy (from both), soon had the already stretched run rate nearing double figures. Just as the change bowlers were warming up Glenn finally struck in the 10th over (roughly, he's still doctoring the scorebook to remove the leg byes that were given from his bouncer so I'm not sure, which obviously didn't help his mood) and we got the unusual sight of an umpire getting a half send off as the Blues frustration was released.

Another debutant Rob (Jenks' Black Book was really tested this week), who'd already shone at deep cover, and Chandra came on at first change. Rob, returning to cricket after a few years playing football, was welcomed into the Blues by drops at slip and point in his couple of overs - hopefully you won't have to get too used to that, but I wouldn't count on it. Chandra bowled a challenging spell of in-duckers and was rewarded with his first Blues wicket, taking the fielders out of the equation, clean bowled through the gate. Both bowled well on a challenging surface, with a brutal outfield and a ball that now had a crack in one side, staying under 7 an over and taking us through to drinks with Paddington having under 90 on the scoreboard. It was at this point that Cef discovered he had in fact packed the match ball but hadn't looked for it the first time - maybe would have been better not to say anything as we pieced the offending match ball back together and discussed how bad it would have to get to justify changing it.

Post-drinks often bringing wickets and, with Eddy J and Prem having had a combined 2 overs at the crease earlier on, bowling changes were made. Instant success for the Blues as both struck, Eddy J in the over after drinks with 'the ball of the day' (Cef), removing the not out opener who made 27 (4-0-27-1). As the batsmen struggled to score with our Ben Stokes eat your heart out in-out field Harry Jenks then took a blinder off Prem, running round on the cow corner boundary, with their danger-man departing for 42.

Bakes and myself were next, as Eddy J and Prem tired and thoughts turned to the pub up the road. Bakes, continuing to make cricket look embarrassingly easy, bowled beautifully and was unlucky not to take a wicket for his (2-0-6-0). I was slightly more expensive but picked up a snick behind that Cef gobbled up to try redeem himself - thankfully my nose had also stopped bleeding.

With the middle order exposed, and pints in the sun calling, Glenn and James were called back on. Wicket for Glenn and a first Blues wicket for James, Harry Jenks redeeming himself for the slip drop earlier on by taking a Brook-esque catch over the shoulder running back from slip, finishing with an excellent (7-0-29-1). Despite the quick burst there was still time for Guy to add to the Jenkins fielding lowlights for the season (see above match report + tour) by making no effort to bend down and attempting to stop the ball with the underside of his boot whilst puffing on his vape - Glenn immediately returned to his first over language and requested he be moved from mid off, before remembering Guy is a Jenkins brother and also a thick set farmer and apologising.

Rob and Chandra closed the match out, with the lower order batsmen deciding that a red inker was more important than going for the win (very Cummins-ball of them). Chandra, having picked up his first Blues wicket earlier on finished (5-0-26-1), and Rob completed a promising return to cricket (5-0-36-0). A win by 23 runs.

One real benefit of Paddington is that no one has to drive and the post match pub is delightful. Despite the game finishing remarkably early, due to the bowling from one end, the post match analysis ran well into Sunday evening. Rumours are that Harry Jenks was trying to go for more pints than runs yet again, and despite being unsuccessful this time, I don't think he fell short by much (story of the day?). The Blues victory train marches on, with Metto's charity day in our sights.

H Jenkins - 97
H Baker - 53
G Jenkins - 47

G Moore - (7-0-28-2)
S Richards - (2-0-15-1)
P Nirmal - (3-0-24-1)

[updated 30 11 2023]