Despite the overcast and damp conditions, West Wickham was treated to a slice of warmer climes as the West Indian outfit of Commonwealth Offices came to town bringing their cheery disposition and enough rum to start a minor bootlegging operation. Due to the bad weather and continual stops in play, the game was reduced to a 30-over match as both teams attempted to make sure another game wasn’t cancelled because of the British ‘summer’.
Ramblas regulars Fitch, Thomas and Cooper were all unavailable, the latter due to nasty hand injury representing Ex-Blues 24 hours earlier, so skipper Johnny Stocks recalled Scoates and Dacre to the starting XI along with new boys Harriss & Ford.
Unfortunately, a combination of a lack of scorebooks, free flowing rum and Oranjeboom and stand in reporter Cooper’s inability to take down notes due to his injured hand, means this match report may be one of the least accurate reports of real events since Braveheart.
The Ramblas fielded first and some tight bowling from the opening bowling tandem of Dacre & Loughlin led to both of Commonwealth’s offices openers falling cheaply. Their attempts to get at the bowlers early failed as Dacre and Loughlin each had an opener caught out in the deep. With the openers departed, their big hitting number three (and express bowler) Otis Sinclair came to the crease and served up an exciting and quick knock of 38 before succumbing to one big shot too many and was caught off another Dacre delivery.
After a terrific spell from the opening attack, skipper Johnny Stocks then turned the ball over to the second wave of the bowling attack, Parrett and Sanchez-Rodriguez. The pairs similar pace but different actions caused the batsmen concerns and Sanchez-Rodriguez’s efforts were rewarded with a pair of wickets. With the batsmen following a similar mentality to the openers and attempting to play big shots seemingly every other ball, Sanchez-Rodriguez’s first scalp came as some quick reflexes from ‘keeper Jon Loughlin saw the bastman stumped. The second came and the new batsman wasted no time getting after Sanchez-Rodriguez but only managed to hit the ball straight towards a fielder at mid on.
Raindrops keep falling
The rain fell again and the players were forced to make a dash for cover/the bar until it had cleared up enough to resume play. With 10 overs left, Stocks threw the ball to the new boys Harriss & Ford to finish off the bowling. Some more quick scoring from the middle order was soon halted as Harriss got one to skid through, clean bowling the batsman. Ford ably supported Harriss by holding up an end and the pressure told as Harriss claimed his second wicket and J. Loughlin claimed his second stumping.
Two soon became three for both Harriss and J. Loughlin as one of the tail ender’s attempts to score quickly saw them swing hard and come out of their crease only to be quickly stumped by some more sharp work from the ‘keeper. Staggeringly the next batsmen failed to learn from his team-mates mistakes and decided to go down the ground to Harriss, only to find J. Loughlin more than happy to whip off the bails and send him back to the dressing room. Despite the stoppages and the copious amounts of rum consumed, Commonwealth Offices finished on a competitive 143-9.
Water target to chase
After polishing off another exquisite tea, the Ramblas readied themselves for the task of chasing down the target of 144, a task made all the more difficult by a damp pitch and an even damper outfield. Openers J. Stocks and Scoates had the unenviable task of seeing off Commonwealths pacy and aggressive opening bowling attack. Skipper stocks fell early, clean bowled by a quick delivery that kept straight. Scoates meanwhile was glad he was wearing a helmet as a delivery kicked up and nearly knocked him off his feet. Scoates played well before being dismissed for an embattled 10.
Sadly Ford didn’t stay at the crease too long, out for a duck playing a shot he knew he shouldn’t have played. With J. Loughlin and L. Stocks at the crease, the home supporters’ hopes for a big partnership were dashed when Loughlin was clean bowled for a duck. L. Stocks’s strong form with the bat this year continued and he played some good shots before being dismissed for 10 off one of Commonwealth’s slower bowlers. Harriss and M. Loughlin were the pair tasked with knocking off the runs and both played some excellent shots until Harriss mistimed a shot and was clean bowled for 12.
Playing for rain?
Sensing that the win was probably not on the cards and with the top order now consoling themselves at the bar, all eyes turned to the tail to see if they could support M. Loughlin rack up some runs. Loughlin continued to score even as his batting partners fell around him. Parrett went for another Ramblas duck before Cleverley, with the aid of a runner, went for four. Sadly, Loughlin soon followed them, dismissed for 15.
Since 10 overs were still left to play, players and fans sensed that the game was over but that didn’t stop the lower order partnership of Sanchez-Rodriguez and Dacre going out there and giving it their all for the cause. Sadly though their tenth wicket stand was short lived, as Dacre was cleaned bowled for one and the Ramblas were all out for 67. Whilst it wasn’t the greatest game in Ramblas history, it was a good effort in what weren’t ideal cricket conditions.
Man of the Match: There was some excellent bowling from Ian Dacre and superb ‘keeping from Jon Loughlin, but the man of the match goes to Ashley Harriss, who again took four wickets in a match to go with his quick-fire 12 with the bat.