The word ‘disaster’ is defined in the dictionary as “a calamitous event”, and Kent Ramblas’ away trip to Eastry managed to contain more than one.
On a gloriously sunny Saturday, three cars from south-east London, one from Maidstone set off to Sandwich with some optimism of an inaugural win after setting their top score with the bat last week.
However, once in the deepest recesses of Kent, it was simply a tale of woe for the Ramblas. (The abbreviated version of this horror show can be found in the shape of the scorecard, on our Play Cricket site.)
A lack of clear directions and depleted mobile-phone batteries (and signal) led to a collective scratching of heads, before a local resident hopped in his 4×4 to eventually form a Ramblas convoy to the (well hidden) home ground of Eastry CC.
With two newbies in the squad, plus one or two carrying injuries, Cap’n Stocks was looking to bat first if he won the toss. In the event, the home side won the toss but opted to put the visitors in first.
Opening up, the onus was on Stocks and J. Loughlin to forge a decent platform for the ramshackle Ramblas. Alas, things didn’t quite go to plan.
First man out was J. Loughlin with a loose shot that brought a bottom edge, while Stocks was taken shortly after by a sharp catch at first slip. A surprise choice at number three, Thomas played a few shots to reach double figures, but having seen M. Loughlin bowled after an ambitious hoik, soon followed with a loose shot of his own.
The Ramblas were crumbling.
However, a small glimmer of hope was given by the batting exploits of vice-skipper Cooper, who reached a career-high 15 with some strong shots and sturdy defence. But following the trend set by the travelling travails, Scoates, Cooper and Fitch were all soon meandering back to the club house.
Sanchez-Rodriguez came in to offer some form of resistance with Parrett, newcomer Simon Kent and the latest instalment of the Loughlin Trio(™), but a paltry 76 all out was never likely to be much of a total to defend, despite conditions slightly favouring the bowlers.
A quick turnaround saw Eastry’s openers see off the opening overs with little trouble before tea, which – inkeeping with the day’s form – was below par.
Relatively refuelled and revitalised, the Ramblas went out to restore some pride.
M. Loughlin’s pace again caused uncertainty in the openers, with one streaky edge looping over wicketkeeper and slip, while at the other end, the more thoughtful approach of Parrett, then Sanchez-Rodriguez got the batsmen opening their arms. However, the Ramblas fielding meant the scorer wasn’t troubled too much.
Fitch and Thomas also stepped up to the plate, but their respective tight lines and near-misses went without reward.
And then, wickets began to fall.
Sanchez-Rodriguez, refusing to let a drop in the deep shake his confidence, bowled one of the opening pair, before then taking two in his next over in a fine display of left-arm slow bowling.
Although victory was looking as likely as a Christmas card from Michael Jackson, the Ramblas refused to give in. M. Loughlin forced a run out off his own bowling, then took the bails off with his very next delivery – a searing ball that left the batsman with no chance.
As expected, the home side soon managed to notch up the 77 required for victory, but not after the Ramblas had shown some much-needed fight, forcing the hosts to bat for a good 25-plus overs).
All in all, a disappointing day in the Garden of England (work and bus-related issues also made it a fairly shoddy night for two of the Ramblas), but it’s on to Northfleet next week, where the team can hopefully right some of the wrongs.
Man of the Match: Felipe Sanchez-Rodriguez. Having initially batted with purpose, the King of Spain proved the scourge of the Eastry batting line up by consistently probing and teasing them on a good length. (Ooer missus.)