It’s been a rum old run for the Ramblas (try saying that after a few, erm, rums…) of late, but it was hoped the comfort of a home game could help them get back on track, as Brasted Invicta made their way up to West Wickham.
In the only change for the hosts, Geoff Parrett came in for Ian Dacre, while one constant was the loss of the toss by Skipper Stocks, which saw the visitors opt to bat first.
Given the recent travails, the Ramblas captain looked to mix up his bowling from the start, with Doug Danks taking the new cherry from the Tennis Courts End and Steve Fitch his opening partner in crime. Alas, inkeeping with the Ramblas’ luck of late, the Invicta batsmen showed short shrift to the bowlers, quickly amassing 50 by going at around 10 an over. Despite much improved fielding, there were few chances, although the Ramblas found themselves appealing in vain for a caught behind shout and a close run out.
Both D. Danks and Fitch pulled it back after a shaky first three overs, with the former getting the breakthrough as the opener gloved one to Sam Ford at ‘keeper. Soon after joining his opening partner in making a half-century, the Invicta No.1 became the next victim, caught high on the run – salmon-like, according to a learned spectator – by Fitch off the bowling of Parrett.
Bowling in unison with Parrett was Mark Loughlin who was in fine fettle, keeping things tight and getting a deserved wicket as he got one through the gate. Parrett was in the act again shortly after, claiming his 50th wicket in a Ramblas shirt thanks to a smart take at long on by Loughlin. Not to be outdone, Loughlin got his second of the day thanks to a cracking catch by Stocks who was backtracking quickly to take a steepler.
Having seen the visitors reach 116/1 after 10 overs, it was something of a comeback by the Ramblas to keep that score to 188/5 at drinks.
Coming into the attack post-drinks were Alex Danks and Chris Thomas, as the former showed no ill effect of his hand injury from the previous week (or the hangover from the previous night). At the other end, Thomas was throwing up something of a mixed bag, before claiming a wicket off a low full toss that was quite brilliantly caught by Michael Cooper on the boundary rope.
A. Danks was unlucky not to get a wicket early on, as he maintained impressive economy and saw two tough(ish) chances put down. Making amends (in some small way) for being guilty of one of those drops, Thomas snaffled his second wicket thanks to another strong take on the move by Stocks. Thankfully, A. Danks got his just desserts soon enough, his unerring line and length garnering two wickets, before Thomas finished things off as the last man chipped one up to Peter Ford at short mid-off, with Brasted finishing all out in the 30th over for 246.
To help celebrate the birthdays of Sam Ford and Steve Fitch, the latter’s dad was on BBQ duties for tea, and after a good old feed – and some collective success on a couple of cheeky wagers – it was back out to the middle for the Ramblas for a chaseable 247.
Skipper Stocks and S. Ford went about their business strongly early on, before the latter departed for a 22-ball 20; a fine start, but S. Ford returned feeling as though he left some runs out there. The late-arriving, cricket gear-‘borrowing’ Tom Danks was in at three and, with his captain, looked to up the ante and give the hosts a chance of a memorable chase.
T. Danks harried and hustled well, finding fours at regular intervals as the pair put on 159 together, before he went for an excellent 86 from from just 92 balls. Having allowed his teammate to be the aggressor, it was now a chance for Stocks to up the ante and with P. Ford joining him, there was still hope that a steep ask was still attainable.
Alas, the new batsman departed without scoring as he followed his usual mantra of “Go big, or go home”, while Parrett scored three before being given LBW.
That brought in Loughlin, joining his captain just before Stocks notched up a solid half century – in doing so, the skipper also became the second Rambla to surpass 1500 runs. The pair, alas, were now firmly behind the eight ball and although surviving without loss, could not launch an attack on the chase, as the Ramblas closed on 213 – meaning a 33-run loss. The scorecard of which can be found here on Play Cricket.
Having been left nursing some nasty-looking bowling figures in the opening stages of the match, the Ramblas did well to drag themselves back in the game with some cracking catches and much improved work in the field. Alas, that Brasted bludgeoning at the opening was enough to take the game away, while the batting effort – despite some strong innings – never really threatened that target of 247.
Ramblas MVP: There were some gallant efforts all round, particularly by Tom Danks and Jonny Stocks with the bat, and Alex Danks with the ball, but for a stellar five-over spell, some cracking work in the field and some late-order hitting, this week, we give the nod to Mark Loughlin.