The ground was bathed in sunshine as we welcomed Grayswood to the Heath. Callum and Anthony come into the side – Anthony for his first game.
Lose the toss and are batting. Ally opens and shows the level of application required, batting through to the 35th over for a magnificent 40-odd. Several 3s cause anxiety in the heart and lungs. They bowl well – one side of the wicket and with varying length. Our score ticks along – sort of 2nd gear, I guess. Callum chips in with 20 or so at the end and we close at 158 off 43.
Tea: the cheese makes a welcome return. It is hot.
Ross and James get us underway. Anthony and Craig replace them with Jacob and Ally replacing them. Anthony makes a tidy start to his Milford career and picks up a wicket (caught with little fuss at slip). Paul takes a great catch and with some dynamic stops takes the fielding award (Gordon isn’t playing otherwise naturally he would have got it). They score at 4 / 5 an over, need the left-handed opener out, but fail to take a few chances. Some lusty blows from their number 6 take them past our score in the 30th over.
Supporters: Mike, Rachel +2, Mike’s mum, Ann, Mike, Dave R, Shaun, Kevin, Mr and Mrs F. Thank you!
Frimley away next week, with a possible England game at 3pm. Much discussion about options and availability.
Exciting to be back after a week off. Off to Wrecclesham (south of Farnham). Ground is fast and we are playing on the edge of the square, so a short boundary raises expectations. Warm day, sun is out. Team news: Darren, Paul, Ally, Gordon, me, Craig, James, Jamie, Harry, Ross, Joshua. Usual G8 meeting on the edge of the outfield before we start – nice circle and nice chairs. Neither captain has a coin so I lend them 10p. We field. Some semblance of a warm-up. Usual generosity at the start and after 5 over, their projected score must be more than 350. Their opener is good and goes on to make an excellent 66. Harry and James open, with Ross replacing Harry. Heroically, James ploughs through 12 strong overs. Slowly, with some good catches, crazy shots and good bowling we get back into the game. 6 down for about 100. Ally bowls an effort ball (1 per season), it lifts, the opener pops it up and Joshua dives to take one of 4 catches and his first stumping without being told. A mini-recovery, then more wickets and they are 157 all out. Would have taken this at the start. Other highlights: (1) saw Spiderman, Hulk and another superhero, (2) the league’s official photographer turned up and we smartened up, (3) Gordon took another good catch. Tea: plenty of cheese sandwiches so was happy. Our reply. We scored quickly but kept getting out. Harry briefly threatened to take us over the line. James hit a 6 (heroically). Gordon and I looked for a ball that had gone in the trees with diligence and integrity. Their scoreboard was hard to read with the sun on it. The old Farnham RFC ground is being developed for Badshot Lea Football Club. The tennis club looks as if it has had the courts redeveloped. It is their village fete on Sunday if anyone is interested. [Sh! We lost by about 48 runs]. Supporters: Mr Wood, Mr and Mrs Fergusson, Mr Ralf. Thank you for turning up early, so we could show you some cricket. Onto the boot fair, where the weather is set fair.
All looks good today as we welcome Grayshott 3rds. The sun is out, the net is in use, people are changed early (well earlier than usual) – there is a positive vibe. Team news – Harry, Harry, Mike and James back into the side. I think this is right – lost track of who dropped out from last week. No bother – we have 11.
Preparation – better than usual. Jacob shows the opposition his mystery ball out in the middle, Joshua, Harry and Darren engage in what they think is an England drill – no-one is fooled. I even manage to get them to do some fielding practice – catches and pick-ups (guess who missed out).
Toss is won and we are fielding. Bowling looks strong today. Harry and James open, with Will, Craig and Jacob following on. Difficult to write these words, but we field well and bowl well. Catches for Joshua, Mike, me, Jamie (2), Will and Harry B. Plus a run-out – our WK decides a stumping is too easy so lets it go for byes, luring the batsman into his trap, then run, he chases it down and throws it into Mike who breaks the stumps – this is a great example of creative thinking (particularly with no Ally to help with the stumping instructions). Wickets fall regularly and they are out for 145. James bowls a heroic 12 overs and Will takes 5 wickets, yes both are true. James’ plans for Sunday have changed to sofa and TV. We can get this.
TEA – awesome. An addition of pies and cheese this week. Still think we should try salad and fruit.
Optimism as we start our innings – electronic scoreboard to the fore. Darren and Will kick us off. Darren full of shots. Their opening bowler is quick. Wickets fall, we edge up to 80 for 3. Then more runs and wickets, Harry W enters the fray with an array of shots – he is looking good. Jamie and Joshua dig in and nudge the score up. Jacob is in, James and Craig are nervous, Harry W keeps on going with an amazing series of strong shots. The total gets nearer, our nerves are worse, Harry W into the 40s, then a four over extra cover from Jacob and 2 through mid-wicket and we have won!
An excellent game played in a great spirit. Our opponents were excellent, competitive and friendly, with a lovely mix of youth and experience.
Supporters: I confess to losing count. Ally (pointedly noting he arrived at 5, i.e. early to ensure he got to see some cricket), Gordon and Mo, Tash +1, Jason + 3, Mr Wood, Mike and wife, Sarah, Rachel +4, Mike’s mum, Sean Dyer + 1, Liam and friends plus relatives, Wendy, Dave R, Mr Fergusson and Ross. Thank you all! Happy Birthday to Liam.
A fantastic result. A real team victory will contributions from all. Fielding and catching excellent, bowling on song and more application from the batters. It was a fantastic knock from Harry W and reflective of the punishment he gives out to us all at nets – more please.
The evening ended with beers and sunshine.
Our first away game of the season is a trip to Grafham (south of Bramley, not East Sussex). Nice looking ground, just off the main road down a dirt track.
Naturally, I am first to arrive (the rest of the team do not have a pre-match routine of more than a minute), pleased to have driven my wife’s golf convertible because the only other car in the car park is a Porsche. I confidently park next to it knowing I belong. Nice chat with the groundsman (who is Ally’s brother-in-law, yes really). Lovely array of mowers and kit on display in the clubhouse. Overall, I like the feel of the place.
Others start to arrive. We have gone for experience for this tricky away fixture (you need this to handle the crowds). We welcome Gav, Mike, Kev, Jamie and Harry into the team.
Rain is in the air and the doomsayers are out. Lots of discussion about the BBC weather forecasting. It seems to be a question of when it will rain.
The toss is made, we are fielding. We are ready at 12.55pm (start at 1pm), then the start is delayed by 15 minutes as too many of their players are stuck in Guildford. Many of the team are lost – what to do with this time – should we practice, moan or just comment on the weather.
Out we go. Will and Ally to open. Short square boundaries suggest lots of runs. Their opening bat is good and hits it
hard. However, we have finally found an outfield that suits us – long grass and soft ground suits our skills (slow and steady). Nothing runs to the boundary, although we help the opener with this and offer balls to hit for 6. More rain.
Chances come and go, then Will gets a wicket, yes Will gets a wicket, caught on the boundary by Gav at deep cover. Then Ally bowls a straight one and another wicket. We go off and back on a couple of times, it doesn’t look good. Craig and Darren take over. The pace is too much, and they are struggling with their run-ups. The end must be nigh. Finally, the rain is too heavy and off we run.
An early tea is taken (I refuse to go near the urn or carry a cup of tea) but the mood across both teams is despondent. The captains agree that the game is abandoned, and Will’s wicket doesn’t count.
Grafham were good hosts and we look forward to their visit although their opening bat on fast outfields will be a strong proposition. The talk turns to practicing and training runs. We are determined to maintain our skills. (This is a lie – most of us are thinking of pub, pool, darts, curry, beer, match of the day, bus home).
Have a great week and enjoy Eurovision. Save your energy for next week’s double header (home match and boot fair)! We are aiming for a net session on Thursday at 7pm (with bowling machine).