A strong Pacific outfit were soundly beaten by an excellent Mayfield side in a good hard game of league cricket played with just enough competitive edge, friendly banter and a few beers amiably shared afterwards. Nugsy was saddle sore after cycling around London in the middle of the night and dropped out (please feel free to insert your own comments) so many thanks to Fred for picking up the keeping gauntlets at short notice.
Much fielding practice gave Toby the chance to knock in his new bat and the rest of us to warm our hands in the cold conditions. Full of confidence we took the field having won the toss and inserted the opposition. Satch steamed in and first ball had the opener plumb LBW and both he and Shaz bowled superbly with the batsmen spending most of their time running up and down the middle of the pitch and very little time scoring runs. Shaz was rewarded by clean bowling the other opener.
On his return from a touch of back pain, Satch took another wicket, and the feeling of so far so good was dominant with the oppo moving along at three and a half an over and all very much under control. The innings was held together by the No 4 who blocked and bashed sensibly on a pitch with little pace and no bounce. Other batters came and went and all our bowlers did a good job. However, a couple of chances went down and a late innings flurry from the big hitting No 7 shifted the target higher than looked likely earlier – but we all felt that 200-odd was only par and well within our range.
A good tea was eaten to the backdrop of watching Malinga breaking some toes and we set off in pursuit of 20 points.
I'm afraid that is where the good news comes to an end. Toby, of course, was the notable exception proving that whatever the bat (his, Steve's, Ahmed's or Jon's cast-off) the runs will flow – 70 this week and, given the context of the rest of the innings, a great knock as everyone else struggled to hit it off the square. He fell just 30 runs short of his third consecutive century, caught at long-on by Stark. As the pitch got slower and lower the pace and quality of our batting did the same. What was a very getable 130 of the last 20 overs soon lurched into a matter of survival and even that proved beyond us. The spirit of cricket award goes to Kieran who walked for the finest of edges and then gave the skipper out LBW in the last over. The only honest appraisal can be that the right side won and the smattering of points we got was all our batting merited.
Key points learned: if we bat second we must get through our overs quicker in the field and Toby needs some help from time to time other than the loan of a bat.