In what has become the Ramblas’ biggest derby match, the team headed to Petts Wood looking to do the double over their rivals, as well as make amends for their last performance at Willet Recreation Ground.
Refreshed from his two-week holiday, Cap’n Cooper returned to the side and was joined by Drew Smith, making his first Ramblas appearance in over a year, and Ed Gibbs.
The break for the skipper didn’t have any impact on his luck at the toss, which was duly lost and the Ramblas we sent out to bat. Opening up for the away side were the tried and tested pair of Alex Danks and Johnny Stocks.
The pair were steady in the opening overs, with Stocks looking in particularly fine touch early on, hitting some meaty boundaries. Alas, the first wicket fell in the seventh over when A. Danks was bowled for three attempting a sweep.
Rich Pleydell was in at three and, in tandem with Stocks, put the pressure back on the home side thanks to some sharp running between the wickets. Both batsmen were punishing any bad balls and the boundaries started to come with more regularity.
Stocks’s innings came to an end in the last over before drinks when he was clean bowled for an industrious 42. The innings, and the partnership, had taken the Ramblas to 75-2 at drinks and set up a strong platform for the team to kick on.
Pleydell watchful as he looks to build his innings.
After the drinks break, Smith joined Pleydell at the crease and showed no signs of rustiness after a prolonged cricket absence. The duo followed the same plan that served the side well previously. Loud calls, quick running and a smattering of boundaries saw them take the score past the century mark.
Pleydell was the next man to fall, though, trapped LBW by C. Downes for an excellent 32. The batsman wasn’t overly pleased with the decision, but with the score at 117-3, he knew that he’d put his side in a strong position.
Pete Ford was the next man in and no sooner had he arrived at the crease than Smith was departing it, out LBW for a quick-fire 22. Cooper joined Ford and the pair looked to rebuild after a couple of quick wickets for the hosts. Ford hit a customary boundary, before chopping on to depart for four.
Ford can only look on as the bail flies.
With just six overs remaining, Cooper and new batsman Gibbs knew that now was the time to be aggressive and set a commanding total. Cooper got his first runs of the day thanks to a trademark drive down the ground for four, but Gibbs couldn’t get off the mark, clean bowled for a duck trying to score quickly.
Cooper was joined by Loughlin, who was off the mark first ball with a boundary, and the pair took the Ramblas to 147 before Loughlin was bowled for five. Doug Danks was the next man in and along with Cooper saw the Ramblas to 151-7 at the end of the 35 overs.
The Ramblas had set a difficult target for Petts Wood to chase and headed to tea full of confidence. And after an excellent spread from the hosts, the Ramblas took to the field, eager to claim their eighth win of the season.
Cooper elected to open the bowling with Chris Thomas and Doug Danks, and the away side were given an absolute gift in just the second ball of the innings, when Meaton called a suicidal single and Loughlin ran out Smith who was nowhere near making his ground. Stock’s claim that “even I wouldn’t have called that” tells you everything you need to know…
Thomas and D. Danks were bowling well in tandem and, a few loose balls aside, were applying pressure on the batsmen. D. Danks got his reward in fourth over, when Javed went for a pull shot but could only glove it to Pete Ford at slip for 12. Thomas then got among the wickets the very next over when he bowled Moore for one. Petts Wood were now 26-3 off eight overs, and the opening attack had struck incisive blows.
Battle of the headbands as Thomas bowls to Meaton.
The pair were replaced by Gibbs and Parrett and the former didn’t have to wait too long to add to his wicket tally for the season, when a full toss kissed the top of off and Meaton was dismissed for 19. He then took a wicket in his very next over when he clean bowled Dhanuka for a duck.
With wickets tumbling and Parrett struggling to find his rhythm early on, Asad and C. Downs launched a counter attack to give the hosts a glimmer of hope. But you can never keep Parrett down for long and he made the breakthrough thanks to a magic quicker ball that pitched on off stump and cleaned up C. Downs leg stump. The batsman departed for 12 and left the pitch scratching his head at what he had just faced.
Parrett pulled out another cracking delivery to dismiss Asad for 16 with another quicker ball that fizzed through the batsman’s defences and cleaned up the stumps. The hosts were now 70-7 and in deep trouble.
Victory was in sight for the Ramblas and Cooper rotated his bowlers and replaced Gibbs with Loughlin. And Loughlin made short work of the tail, shattering the timbers of both Cook and H. Downs in a fierce two-over spell that didn’t see him concede a single run.
The final wicket was claimed by Parrett thanks to a sharp catch by Stocks at mid-on and the Ramblas sealed a 78-run victory.
It was another fantastic display from the Ramblas that saw everyone contribute with both bat and ball to claim our eighth win of an impressive season.
Ramblas MVP: In what was an all-round team win, hats off to Rich Pleydell (32) and Drew Smith (22) for their efforts with the bat. And with the ball, Ed Gibbs (2-8) and Geoff Parrett (3-18) excelled. But for his tone-setting 42 and catch to seal the win, this week’s MVP is Johnny Stocks.
Parrett sheepishly returning from the pub during the first innings.