The green shoots of summer are beginning to appear on the horizon and Kent Ramblas’ second fixture this season took us the scenic route round the M25 to the home of Tuskers CC – just a short walk away from SW19.
Disappointed by their batting performance last time out, the Ramblas were looking to get some runs in the bank and build on a solid bowling performance. Fat fucking chance…
Conditions were slightly on the chilly side for this encounter, jumpers and thermals were most definitely at the ready, always an important ingredient in these limited overs matches.
Having lost the toss, sorry lads (apparently tails does fail!) Tuskers decided to bat first – giving the Ramblas a real chance to penetrate their opening batsmen. So to speak.
L. Stocks opened the bowling with some real corkers, only conceding one run in the opening over. The complimentary pace of M. Loughlin at the other end proved an uneasy partnership for Tuskers who conceded an early wicket courtesy of a marvellous catch by James Benson. Unfortunately it wasn’t a trend that would continue.
Tuskers bounced back from their early slump with some gentle nudges and well executed cover drives, and the runs began to multiply. Ramblas were toiling away in the field showing energy and commitment in all areas. However, when the chances came the catches went! Several half chances went begging, and the watching journalists just got a sense that it wasn’t to be the Ramblas day.
As runs were leaking away and our attacking options dwindling the Captain was contemplating the unthinkable. Bowling…
A few high balls and wides later and J. Stocks J got his man “got him yeeesss, fuck off you’re out!” Stumped beautifully by J. Loughlin. At last the breakthrough. With still one more ball left of the over Stocks threw down a jaffa (cake?) that was edged and taken, another one down and the crowd were wondering if the hat-rick chance would come soon. End of the over.
The Thames Barrier opened and wickets were coming from all corners of the ground – S. Cleverley on his debut with a brace, likewise M. Cooper finishing up where he left off against Wickham Park.
The innings finished on 230-8, a tough score to get, but with our batting attack we knew we had every chance (cough, cough. ..)
The tea time spread was nothing short of exquisite; it had everything, flair, delicacy, nourishment, flamboyance, a real sight to behold and certainly something I won’t forget in a hurry.
As J. Stocks and J. Loughlin took to the field, the thought of a slice of Angel cake was still very much in the mind’s eye but that was soon eradicated when ‘Raqi’ came steaming in to bowl the first over. J. Stocks blocking solidly – something which would indeed prove to be a theme for the next 15 overs.
Block. Leave. Leave. Block. Duck. Block.
The opening batsmen’s strategy was certainly not to go for the boundaries. At a run rate at just under two per over it was evident that the game was out of reach, the target – bat out the overs. 36-0 soon became 37-4, both openers dismissed by a Sri Lankan paceman before two ducks decided to join the party – one golden.
As was the case in the Ramblas’ first game, the avalanche of wickets was temporarily upheld by S. Fitch, as he found some gaps in the field and exposed some loose bowling from the hosts.
The Ramblas struggled to 65 all out at 30 overs – a solid effort that can be seen in scorecard form here. The light was fading anyway and the pub beckoned.
Finding some solitary time in the bar afterwards I had a chance to reflect on the match. Those missed catches were playing on my mind, that Angel cake was amazing, if only……… However, you have to look at the positives and take them into the next game, we eradicated the no balls that cost us in the first game and scored more runs so there has been improvement, no doubt about that.
Our next fixture takes us over to Beckenham to play HSBC. The term ‘bloodbath’ has been mentioned in inner cricket circles. I’m confident with the strength in depth we have in our squad we can put on a show for the fans. I’m looking for a positive result to put us on the map. It promises to be a hot day and if tea is half as enjoyable as last time out then that will be the icing on the cake.