Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
A team of 11 cheeky chaps enter the pitch to play cricket. They bowl and field with tenacity and no shortage of skill. They (well, one in particular) dominate the tea trolley and then go out and bat like a bunch of wallies (with one or two exceptions).
Sound familiar? Well, Ramblas fans and family, we only went and bloody did it all again, didn’t we?!
For the full sorry affair in cold, harsh, unforgiving numbers, you can see the scorecard on our Play Cricket site.
An unseasonal spell of sunshine called for factor 15 and floppy hats, as the Ramblas headed to Crockenhill to face St Mary Cray Red Dogs. Missing on holidays were the Loughlin twins and Laurie Stocks, so in came Bradley Scoates for his first performance of the season, while Ash Harriss (on loan from Ex Blues) made his debut and Steve Cleverley was also back in the fold.
Losing the toss, the Ramblas were sent into the field, with skipper Jonny Stocks giving the opening overs to Ian Dacre and Steve Fitch. Facing them was a familiar face to the Ramblas collective, Graeme Moir Jnr, who got a warm welcome on the pitch.
Dacre maintained some good shape to the left-hander, with Fitch slowly finding his way into some form too – despite the odd wayward delivery. The breakthrough soon came, though, with Dacre tempting the batsman into a loose shot that was caught well by Harriss at mid-off. One soon became two in Dacre’s next over, as Moir Jnr feathered a ball down the leg side and the excellent James Benson took what can only be described as a superlative one-handed catch behind the stumps. The batsman – and some of the field – couldn’t quite believe it.
Next into the firing line with the ball were Geoff Parrett and Chris Thomas, with both bringing shots out of the batsmen, but also unlucky not to nick a wicket – the latter missing the stumps by mere millimetres on more than one occasion. But with the final ball before the drinks break, Parrett got the wicket his bowling deserved as he turned one to deceive the batsman and send the stumps flying.
In the field, the Ramblas were looking sharp. Harriss brought an energy – and one hell of an arm – to proceedings, while Felipe Sanchez-Rodriguez and Cleverley were doing everything to ensure there were no easy singles. In the deep, barring briefly upsetting a nearby dog, poor old Scoates was left a spectator for much of it – but when it did come his way, he too was exhibiting the usual Ramblas efficiency (as well as his missile-like throw).
Having bowled Thomas through, in came Harriss – who was soon amongst the wickets, Parrett taking a sharp catch above his head at deep mid-off. Replacing Parrett at the other end was Sanchez-Rodriguez who bowled skilfully to the alien left handers (it wasn’t an actual alien, obviously, more that we’re not used to it. But I’m sure that was a given.). His reward took a little longer to come, but a safe catch by Michael Cooper had him among the wickets.
Back into the attack came Fitch and Dacre who were testing the batters, but unable to make the breakthrough, while Parrett too was unlucky not to add to the one in his wicket column, with the hosts leaving the Ramblas a seemingly gettable 168 to win – Graeme Moir Snr not out for a solid 44.
After a suitably nourishing tea (Parrett’s fairly contented murmurings, but forlorn look after heading up for seconds suggest: 6/10), it was left to skipper Stocks and Scoates to set the platform. Could this be the day?
Now, if you were paying attention earlier on, I’ve already given that away. It really wasn’t to be the day…
Again faced with a bowling attack that may not have been the quickest, but that was always making the Ramblas play, the procession of wickets began when Stocks fell to one that kept low. At the other end, Scoates was showing no sign of nerves on his return to the crease, but he lost his second partner when Cooper played what he admitted was “a bit of a ropey shot” to see his stumps shatter.
Cleverley was next up and looked in good form, blocking well and getting off the mark before adding to his total with a lovely biff for four. Having seen Scoates go, Cleverley was joined by Harriss who refused to play at anything on the stumps, but consummately battered anything wide of off stump.
Harriss soon looked in danger of running out of partners, as first Cleverley then Fitch departed in the blink of an eye, but Parrett – fresh from a cracking performance last week – came in and the pair looked in good shape. Having edged the Ramblas towards 40 (40!?! I ask you…), Harriss looked to clear the long-off boundary rope, but didn’t quite get hold of it and was caught.
Replacing him was Thomas, who saw off the rest of brother-in-law Moir Jnr’s over, but having got off the mark played a similarly lame shot to his dismissal last week and was left aghast as the bails fell. Next up was wicket-keeper extraordinaire Benson, who supported Parrett well before falling unfortunately for three as the ball hit bat, pad, foot, kitchen sink and finally the stumps.
You’ve got to laugh…
In a moment of comedy that only the Ramblas can provide, Sanchez-Rodriguez came in next and professionally asked for his mark for middle stump. Alas, the only person it seemed to help was the bowler, who claimed his second wicket in as many balls… by taking out Sanchez-Rodriguez’s middle stump!
Dacre was again left stranded on nought not out, as Parrett became the final man to fall for 27 with the ball tickling the bails from the stumps. All out for 68 tells its own story (but that would make for a very short match report…).
So, again the showing with the bat failed to back up another promising performance in the field. With the ball, everyone put in good spells, while the fielding supported the bowlers’ efforts brilliantly. However, the lack of technique with the bat was again the undoing of the forever trying Ramblas.
Despite the defeat, talk of a re-match next season (or this year if schedules permit) underlined the friendliness of the encounter and the visitors go into next week’s home game with Chiselhurst still seeking the batting performance to support the bowling.
Man of the Match: In the field, there were many contenders, with Dacre and Sanchez-Rodriguez both worthy of their wickets. While new boy Harriss also deserves praise for his all-round performance for his temporary team, the honour this week goes to Geoff Parrett. Some good variation with the ball left the batsmen unsure in the attack at times, while a splendid catch and the team’s top score with the bat underlined his importance to the team.