It was a disappointing start to what felt like the hottest afternoon of the year for Kent Ramblas, as opponents Chislehurst issued a last-ditch “no-play” bargain. Talk of them running scared after Bradley Scoates’ mammoth innings in midweek was, sadly, unconfirmed.
And that, you may think, would be that for this week.
But a quiet afternoon supping warm beer and soaking up the summer sun was not for the Ramblas boys. Once newcomer Ian Dacre had successfully found his way to the ground from Reading (via Peckham), skipper Jonny Stocks ensured the team was put through its paces.
With openers Cap’n Stocks and Jon Loughlin in place, the field – supplemented by the energetic work of Tanja and the not-quite-as-energetic offerings of Ruth and Sheena – set about putting the pressure on in the searing south London heat.
The bowlers didn’t wilt under the heat, though, and Mark Loughlin, Steven ‘Stitch’ Fitch and Geoff Parrett all threatened the batsmen, with newly instated wicketkeeper James Benson ably supporting them by putting in a strong performance that belied his inexperience behind the stumps.
Despite the danger posed by the bowling attack, the run rate was ticking along nicely before Stitch found a way through Jon Loughlin’s defence – bringing with it a hasty change behind the stumps. With big-hitting Benson at the crease, the field started to spread, but alas, a huge innings wasn’t on the cards and Benson’s wicket soon followed.
All the while, Felipe Sanchez-Rodriguez was enjoying the relative cool of the shade while necking a pint of the amber nectar.
Don’t forget you can learn more about the team in our Introduction to the Players.
Joining his younger brother in the middle was Laurie Stocks, who confidently saw off some tricky bowling – despite the close attentions of a field smelling their prey. That confidence led to the usually restrictive Stocks Snr open up his arms to play some shots, and his eyes soon lit up as he heard vice-skipper Michael Cooper declare he was bowling the next over.
But with the very first (deceptively, ahem, quick) ball of the Cooper over, a chip into the leg side was caught instinctively with one hand by the barely believing Chris Thomas.
After a quick drinks break, Stocks Jnr was given out LBW by Daddy Stocks, who was kindly umpiring. It wouldn’t be his last contentious decision, though…
Mark Loughlin had come in after the obligatory Ramblas mini-collapse and was on his way to a fine 50, thanks to support from Cooper, Parrett and Stitch. His retirement at the half-ton saw Thomas join Stitch at the crease. However, the former’s stay wasn’t a lengthy one, as another LBW decision did for him. It’s safe to say that he was less than happy with the call and stood his ground in disbelief before finally leaving the field (with an angrily-lobbed bat, box and gloves thrown in for good measure). There may be some disciplinary procedure to follow…
Uni housemates Dacre and Stitch enjoyed a small, but successful stint together in bat before the latter departed and Sanchez-Rodriguez came in to try and delay tea for a few more overs. However, after a few runs followed a calamitous run out that resulted in Dacre ensuring he gave his new teammate a wide berth during the break.
And what a break it was. The ever-ready Ruth and Sheena had kindly stuck around and offered up a treat comprising sandwiches, mouth-watering chicken tikka drumsticks and plenty of sweet treats. However, the fastest sprint of the day was when news reached Messrs Cooper and Parrett that the pizza slices were out. Suffice to say they weren’t out for long…
After a few more beers and some much needed time out of the sun, it was back out for another go.
Mark came out on top in the Loughlin face-off, dismissing Jon with a beauty of a delivery, while the batsmen took advantage of an even more broken up field following the departure of Sanchez-Rodriguez. There were starts for both Stocks, while Thomas filled his boots with a decent knock over 30 before succumbing to a ‘snorter’ from Parrett. (Or at least that’s what he was telling himself).
The second innings also saw the duel between Dacre and Stitch end all-square as they took each other’s wickets and Parrett selflessly gave his wicket up to give Mark Loughlin some catching practice in the deep.
All in all, it was a successful day for the Kent Ramblas team – the five hours in the field giving them some much-needed preparation ahead of next week’s home game against Goldleaf. Sunday, 2pm start – see you all there….