Gorgeous blue skies and warmth is what met us as we got up and started to get ready. It always makes me realise how lucky I am that my kids never played football when they were younger, as they were quickly marginalised by the whole elitist ethos within football, if you didn't have the kit, your face didn't fit and the weird thing was it wasn't a Southend kit, or another Essex kit, it was one of the London kits and yet we live in Essex? Anyway, I missed out on the standing around in the freezing cold in the middle of winter - no great loss and I have no delusions that the England football team will win the world cup...
So, the match was played under blue skies and puffy cumulus clouds in 24 degrees or more centigrade... Suntan weather! I've come back with sun burnt feet as I broke out the flip flops for the first time this year. I also got my shirt off for the first time at a cricket match - much to Michelle's consternation. I come from a working class background, I've always taken my shirt off and I can't see why I shouldn't!
The team didn't change a great deal if at all since last week, the only thing was that Rhys didn't turn up leaving the team a man down which is never a good thing.
Basildon batted first opening with Harry and George Borley and almost from the outset there was a calamity. Harry 'Bat' Hodgson glanced the ball down to fine leg and Borley shouted yes! for a run, they both set off, but the ball was smartly taken by the fine leg fielder and he had Borley run-out by Spears for a Diamond Duck. That brought our District Player (Batting) Charlie Blerkom to the crease and off of his first ball he made I wild cross bat shot and the ball crashed into the stumps. It didn't stop there, the openers and the middle order came to the crease like lambs to the slaughter. The only bloke able to show some resistance was Harry 'Bat' Hodgson who survived 8 balls before falling to the opening duo of Surrey and Tagg. Surrey the better of the two stopped him in his tracks on 9 bowling him. Our big hitter Mohammed Baig didn't last long either and was cleaned up by Surrey. It was then up to the new boys and the also runs to see if they could fashion some kind of a recovery...
Mathew Cruise and Mitchell Robinson got going and formed a mini partnership and started to get some runs on the board, both got off the mark with a few runs and were bowled opening the way for new lad Will Risden who was then joined by opening bowler Joe Thompson (My son). The most runs at this point were still Harry Hodgsons at 9. Thankfully despite the fact that the bowling looked devastating from the boundary in the way that the wickets fell, our lads were massively helped out by a lot of extras. This still left a massive task with 85 apparently being a decent score in these U13's matches. Joe and Will tried to address the situation and both managed to score 4, Will got two. Joe who isn't noted for his batting, batted freely and fairly sensibly and managed to get down the wicket okay (Still hasn't gained full fitness from his RTA a couple of years ago). Will did the same at the other end and was eventually dismissed by
Arnold for 12, bringing Luke Bowring to the crease. He lasted 3 balls and was bowled again by Arnold and with no 11th player that was the end of the game leaving Joe 10 not out, making him the 2nd most productive player of the innings after Will. This is also Joe's all time personal best batting score!
Later on, reflecting on the game he said that he just felt confident and this might be in part due to the fact that recently he's been playing adult cricket in the 4th XI with me... "It's because they were little kids" which is what he said himself even though he's only 12 himself! In addition to that we have been doing some work in the paddock using the side-arm and those heavy Slazenger cricket tennis balls. The side arms sends them down really fast and they're the same kind of weight as a 4.5oz cricket ball, so maybe that's paying off? But it was great seeing him bat so well and to be relatively successful.
But in the end though, finishing with only 45 runs made and 21 extras to bring the total to 65 it did look as though it was pretty much a lost cause what with only 10 players in the field.
Overall it was a good game, well mannered as I recall and it was good to see the blokes from Grays who I used to play with when I started to play cricket. I also love the backdrop to the photo's at Grays, so different to the cliché of Pub, Church and white picket fences!