"What's that blue thing up there?" So asked Steve on the train journey to Thames Ditton, a lovely, historic little ground in south London. Our memories were hazy but it was, of course, the sky, looking surprisingly rain free for the first time we could remember.
Pacific lost the toss and Thames Ditton chose to bat. James opened the bowling with some nice variation and Steve, looking sprightly this season thanks to his new exercise regime, took a smart slip catch. At the other end was Krishna, on debut, who bowled pace and got under the Dittonites' skin while celebrating one of his wickets in his extended follow-through. Toby took a sharp catch at cover off his bowling. Vince, bowling first change, claimed the scalp of their overseas pro (a South Australia U19 player), who was looking dangerous, with a "slower ball bouncer" - or a long hop that didn't bounce. Ditton had a couple of big biffers in the middle order, who took a liking to Aroon's chinamen. Jon bowled economically, despite the headwind. Toby benefited from good catches by Aroon (a hard, flat one) and Jon (a high, swirly one). Ditton's tail wagged hard and they finished on 209.
Tea was nice, then Steve and Toby opened the batting. Steve had a couple of lives, dropped twice at point, before falling LBW trying to pull a good length ball. Toby was out to the catch of the day, lofting one over the head of mid-on, who ran backwards, dived, and somehow managed to hang on. Ben, was out to a sharp slip catch. Kurt, playing his first game for Pacific since 2010, was going nicely before he was bowled. Jon hit an assured 55 but was then run out by a direct hit. Rob was seeing the ball well but ran himself out in a misunderstanding with his skipper. Sandeep's was a nonchalant knock, including a glorious cover drive, but perhaps too nonchalant as Krishna was run out, much to Ditton's enjoyment after his earlier "antics". Sandeep then danced down the track, failed to connect, and made no attempt to get back before the keeper hit the stumps, with it going down in the scorecard as a run out. So Pacific finished short on 177. It was a good game though, with quality fielding by both sides.