TGCC 220 all out
CHRIST CHURCH CC 163 for 9
Temple Grafton won by 57 runs
Warm sunny day, nice opposition and so to yet another series of Sundays spent passing time generally peacefully, seldom grippingly and always stoically – season 2018 and some notable debutants, more of which anon. And an interesting season it could be – what with the new ECB fair play regulations and Tom Thompson’s come back. Casual homophobia? Warning. Calling Liam Killian a c***? 5 run penalty. Directed swearing at the opposition? Removal from the field of play. And a new ’bar’ soon to built called The Old Mower Shed – works temporarily postponed as Andy Bilbrough managed to circular saw the better part of one arm off. Just for kicks.
20 minutes to the start and it’s nice to see the new opening pairing getting acquainted. Shame the conversation centred around A level Decision Maths module Core 1 – a specialism of Craig Atherton (Maths teacher) and A level hopeful, ne’er-do-well Lewis Bilbrough. Toss won and, astonishingly, batting given that we only have one and a half bowlers – that is half bowler Howard Benjamin (side strain), half bowler Adam Kirk (‘I got totally f***ed over bowling yesterday’) and half bowler Sam Roberts (who just always looks like he’s massively pissed).
Atherton got off to a flier, Bilbrough played pleasingly straight to everything and looked every inch the opener who came of age last season. Indeed Atherton simply would not be reined in and smote some fairly average bowling to all parts. The scoreboard ticked over, as did the overs – an unprecedented 12 being bowled in the first 30 minutes, shorn of borage as the fields were. Had they not been the Atherton induced delays would have been innumerable. He passed 50 in the 13th over (after being cataclysmically dropped in the previous) and only perished for a magnificent 74 (off approximately 42 balls) when another searing aerial drive was held on to at extra cover. Meanwhile Bilbrough was no slouch at the other end putting away many a cover driver on his way to a thoroughly impressive 43. 126 for 2 off 20 overs and surely game over. Well, no-one really stood up after that. Killian flattered to deceive, holing out for 13 at very deep extra cover, Mahoney’s eyes lit up first ball and planted it into the hands of point, Young swished away for 20 and Thorpe (actually a very well crafted) 27. The undoubted highlight of the second passage of play was debutante Ben Ashfield. Burdened by the weight of parental expectation, positive stroking and general mumsying (actually it was primarily dadsying), he simply posted a monumental two finger salute to all and sundry by mowing the first ball to the longest boundary for four – followed by dot, four, dot. This ever so slightly feisty young whipper-snapper carried on in the same vein until an injudicious heave, a shot with all the hallmarks of his family lineage – very much a ‘Martin hits a coxes pippin with a fence plank into next door’s garden’ kind of shot – and he was correctly adjudged leg before all three stumps. A fine 13. The less said about the rest the better. Kirk, in fairness, played straight but went for 10, Roberts second ball zero (and the first was so badly played it made the eyes water), Thompson a creditable 10 not out and Benjamin prodding a return catch for 1. All out for 220 in about 36 overs.
Tea was a robust, no-frills affair – roughly hewn bread that looked like it had been assaulted by a madman, good basic meats, cheese and some highly delectable homemade brownies. Presentation 3, gut fill 8, brownies 9.5.
So, usual plan. Bowl Howard Benjamin until the batsmen nod off. Worked a treat. Dot, dot, dot and Roberts, who bowled a very decent opening 5 overs, picked up the key wicket of a frustrated Hall. With that it was highly likely to be game over as 3 an over was never going to cut it. Somewhere in the Grampian Highlands this afternoon between 4pm and 5:30 there was probably an old man sitting on a dry stone wall watching crops grow who witnessed the human race move forward more than was evident between those times down at The G. Wickets occasionally fell, runs occasionally came and 49-3 at drinks was, well, 49-3. Sure, there was the usual litany of human ineptitude in the field – dropped catches, balls dived over, over-cautious fields, over-zealous fields – with a smattering of highlights (Ashfield Junior’s direct hit run out being one and Thorpe’s sharp keeping being another) and some very solid bowling (Benjamin, Roberts, Kirk, Ashfield, Killian, even Thompson at times). The lowlight and a moment studiously uncelebrated was Thompson’s wide that the batsman lazily threw the bat at anyway only to drag it horrifically onto his stumps. It ended 163 for 9 – quite a resurgence as it happened but never enough to divert the course of the game. And so the afternoon passed.