Fully recovered from their tour of Exmouth, the Ramblas headed to the sunny climes of Petts Wood, to complete a hat-trick of fixtures against their local (and friendly) rivals. Tom Danks, Chris Thomas and Ian Dacre were unavailable for selection, but Doug Danks and Sam Ford made their returns, as did Steve Aldridge, making his second appearance for the Ramblas this season – on the same ground he made his first.
The Ramblas were looking to end the season with a tenth win, as well as see who would emerge victorious out of Mark Loughlin and D. Danks in the Ramblas wicket-taking stakes.
Cooper was given the nod as Skipper, but followed in Jonny Stocks’ shoes by losing the toss and seeing the Ramblas put into bat. Alex Danks and Stocks opened the batting and the former was looking in fine fettle, racing to 16 off 11 balls before being clean bowled by an in-swinging delivery from Townsend. A name and method of dismissal you may hear more of later…
S. Ford joined Stocks at the crease as the pair looked to settle in after an early wicket. Both were watchful against the moving ball and looking to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Sadly, Stocks innings came to an end, scoring seven before being caught off the bowling of Townsend thanks to a terrific one-handed catch at slip. S. Ford, was dismissed for 10 shortly afterwards, chipping one up to Attaway at cover off the bowling of Ward.
Two quick wickets brought in two new batsmen in the form of Peter Ford and Cooper, who had the unenviable task of trying to restore order to the mania. Despite a glorious drive down the ground for four, Cooper was promptly dismissed for five, being clean bowled by an in-swinging delivery from Townsend. P. Ford was looking more and more like his old self, dispatching two deliveries to the Cow Corner boundary.
Alas, P. Ford’s time at the crease came to a halt by Townsend, being clean bowled for nine. Rich Ford then followed suit in Townsend’s next over, aiming to go big off a wide-ish delivery but only succeeding in lofting the ball up to the fielder at mid-on.
Parrett and Loughlin were the next two batsmen off the conveyor belt, and no sooner had Loughlin got to the crease than we was trudging back, completely missing a straight one from Townsend. Parrett and Fitch tried their best to try and get to a competitive total, with the former even reining in his more attacking instincts to see off the opening bowlers.
With the opening attack finished, Parrett started to free his shoulders and hit his first boundary of the innings over the square leg boundary. Sadly, he was trapped LBW two balls later off Meaton for five. D. Danks was the next man in, and he and Fitch were planting roots and staying there as long as possible. Their stoic stand yielded a delightful boundary for each of the batsmen before Fitch was also trapped LBW by Meaton for four.
Aldridge was the last man in and, despite his best efforts, could only manage four before being caught at first slip off the bowling of Meaton. A fairly shoddy batting display all round saw the Ramblas limp to 83 all out, and gave the bowlers very little to work with. Still it wouldn’t be a Ramblas match without some drama…
Tough task ahead…
Due to the brief nature of the Ramblas’ innings, the tea wasn’t ready so the Ramblas headed out to the field attempting to defend a low total.
Cooper, needing miracles, elected to open the bowling with Loughlin and Aldridge, with the former looking as sharp as he’s ever been, whistling it past the edge of the bat and giving the hosts’ batsmen nothing to hit. Despite a loose ball or two, Aldridge was complementing Loughlin well until a shoulder injury ruled him out for the rest of the game.
Replacing Aldridge, Fitch made the breakthrough with the final ball of his first over, eliciting an edge off Smith, which was sharply taken by ‘keeper A. Danks. Fitch and Loughlin were keeping the run rate down and helping to keep the Ramblas in the game.
Fitch was unlucky not to get another wicket, when a tough catch was dropped at cover. Loughlin then got the wicket he deserved in his last over, trapping Mitchell for 11. That scalp put Loughlin ahead of D. Danks atop the wicket-taking table, but the latter was given his chance to get back level when he replaced the former in the attack.
An excellent first over from D. Danks saw him claim that all important wicket, dismissing Blower for a duck. The ball was drilled back at the bowler and his attempt to snare a fine catch bounced out of his hands and right to Parrett at mid-on. With Petts Wood three wickets down, the Ramblas headed to tea, knowing that they’d brought themselves back into the game.
A fine tea was consumed as the Ramblas geed each other up for the task ahead. When the Ramblas returned the field, D. Danks resumed his excellent bowling but was cruelly denied another wicket when Fitch dropped a chance after being blinded by the sun.
Fitch and D. Danks were replaced by Parrett and R. Ford, who both gamely attempted to delay the inevitable. Parrett bowled well but a few loose balls were dispatched and in the latter’s only over, Petts Wood got the five runs required for victory, accomplished in part to a no ball that flew over the head of the slip cordon; a fitting end to a tough day at office.
Despite the defeat, and its manner, it would be remiss to end on a low note. This has been an excellent season that saw the club amass a record nine victories, as well as score two centuries, 19 fifties and has seen seven bowlers get double-digit wickets. Roll on 2017!
Ramblas MVP: it’s a tough one this week, although an honourable mention goes to Alex Danks for being the only man to outscore extras in the Ramblas batting innings. But for excellent bowling spells and each picking up a key wicket to leave them joint top of the wicket-taking leaderboard, the MVPs are Mark Loughlin and Doug Danks.