Thanks to some more diary-related issues from opponents, the Ramblas original fixture was cancelled but with some quick thinking/googling, new opposition was found, with Monty R&H stepping in as hosts to offer another trip to Croydon following last week’s match against Norwood.
With Doug Danks still out with a shoulder injury, and the Ford family unavailable, captain Cooper welcomed back Tom Danks, Ed Gibbs and Chris Thomas to the side, with Lewis Barham stepping in at the last minute to give the Ramblas a full XI for only the third time this season. However, with Cooper arriving straight from a festival and half the team celebrating Jonny Stocks’ birthday the previous evening, it wasn’t going to be easiest of games for the visitors…
Cooper won the toss and elected to field first, opening the bowling with Barham and Steve Fitch. Despite some big hitting early doors from opener Bobby, Fitch made the breakthrough in his second over, as Methab tamely chipped one up to Loughlin at mid-wicket.
One wicket became two as Barham got a much deserved wicket. Asim, struggling to cope with his pace, could only edge one behind to ‘keeper Alex Danks, who took a great catch to his right. Barham then repeated the trick an over later as Pammai knicked one through to the ‘keeper. Although the run rate was a healthy 10 an over, the hosts were now three wickets down and the Ramblas were fighting back.
Fitch was replaced by Parrett and the Ramblas spin doctor started strongly, getting a wicket early in his spell as Moin hit the ball straight back to the bowler who took a simple catch.
Barham continued his fine spell and grabbed his third wicket thanks to a great catch at deep mid-wicket by Gibbs above his head to dismiss the opener Bobby for a decent 69. The bowler then nabbed his fourth, dismissing Samson for 46 when the batsmen drilled the ball to Parrett at mid-on.
After a fantastic eight-over spell, Barham was replaced by Thomas. However, you couldn’t keep Barham out of the game and, after a needless second run call left Wassi stranded, a strong pick up and throw from Barham saw Parrett whip off the bails.
Thomas then picked up a wicket after a fantastic delivery left the batsman bamboozled and A. Danks took an excellent stumping chance before Gibbs replaced Parrett, and still high on his hat-trick in his last game carried on his wicket-taking form in his very first delivery, giving the bowler four in four. The batsman mis-timed his shot and Cooper took a smart, sliding catch to dismiss him.
With the hosts a player down, the Ramblas agreed to let a youngster bat and sportingly gave him his chance to take part. However, his batting partner was in no mood for dealing in such sporting gestures and continued to bat aggressively before Loughlin was then brought into the attack to finish things off, doing so with his first ball as he took an easy caught and bowled chance to dismiss the attacking Mohtashim for 22.
Considering the blistering start the home team got off to, the Ramblas performed exceptionally in the field to restrict them to 184.
After a frankly underwhelming tea (that ranks rock bottom in the Parrett tea table), the Ramblas padded up and got ready to chase down the total. Tasked with opening the batting were Tom and Alex Danks, who were keen to get the Ramblas off to the best possible start.
However, A. Danks wasn’t at his usual fluent best and was clean bowled early on by Rohan for four. Stocks was in at three and looked to rebuild after losing an early wicket. The new pair took the score to 38 before a risky (some may say suicidal…) call from T. Danks, saw Stocks run out for four.
Loughlin was the next man in and despite scoring a boundary first ball, struggled with his timing and was caught at mid-wicket for seven. T. Danks was dismissed shortly afterwards, caught behind off the bowling of Asim for a gritty and hard fought 22.
Dave Brewer and captain Cooper came in at five and six respectively. Cooper got his innings off to a strong start, drilling a straight drive for four. Brewer, looking more comfortable with each game, was promptly run out by his batting partner. Keen for Brewer to get on the scoreboard, Cooper called a poorly judged single that saw Brewer stranded, much to the fury of the watching Lucy Brewer.
Brewer in full flow before disaster struck.
The wicket of Brewer was very much part of a classic Ramblas middle-order collapse, as Gibbs was caught second ball thanks to an excellent catch at second slip. Thomas was the next man in and could only manage one run before being trapped LBW by one that stayed low.
Cooper, keen to stay in as long as possible – if only to avoid the wrath of the Brewer clan, and Parrett put on something of a fightback thanks to some more excellent hitting from Parrett. After putting on a decent 33-run partnership, Cooper was caught at point for 10.
Sadly for Parrett, the over exertions of the previous night finally caught up with him and he was bowled by Wassi for 23. Barham was the last man out, dismissed third ball for a duck. And, with that, the Ramblas were all out for 97.
Following two tough away games, the Ramblas will be heading back to home comforts next Sunday when they host Sherwood with the aim of getting back to winning ways.
Ramblas MVP: Shout outs to Tom Danks for a hard-earned 22 and to Geoff Parrett for a wicket and an excellent cameo for the bat. But for his bowling figures of 4-58 and a key run out left the Ramblas with a chaseable target, this week’s MVP is Lewis Barham.
Scorer Thomas staying calm as wickets tumble.
A Peter Ford approved snapshot of the scorecard.