Last Sunday Joe and I cycled over to the Rec and found a couple of Sunday sides playing and offered our services as players to the SDR club and they said yes we'll take your number and give you a call. They also said that they practice over The Rec on Thursday's. I wasn't able to go to that as I work Thursday nights normally until the end of June. But this morning at 11.00 hrs I got a call and they said 'We need a player' either you or Joe up for it'? Do bears s**t in the woods?
I nicked Ben's whites, got my kit together and at 1pm found myself almost the first bloke over there! The weather was fine, nice and sunny and warm and a bit of a light breeze. The word was the weather was going to get progressively worse as the day went on and that there'd be rain at about 4pm.
I'm not sure who won the toss, but whatever happened we fielded first which is always my preferred option. It also seems that because of the weather they decided it would be a 30 overs game. I fielded mainly at Mid off, which is one of my favourite positions as you're generally in the game. I didn't have a clue as to whether I'd get to bowl or not and it didn't look that promising when the first couple of blokes took 3 wickets no time for next to no runs especially the bloke Monty with 2 wickets for 0 off of 3 overs and then they took the poor bloke off! At that rate it looked to me as though he was going to be on for 15 overs!
16 overs in and they'd taken 5 wickets for 44. The scorebook hasn't recorded the details of the wickets, but there was some exceptionally good fielding from the captain James who had a fantastic game. He took three catches and all of them were a bit special. The first one was a ball hit through cover point and James set off to try and intercept it and it looked to me as though he was too late, but he dived and caught it just before it grounded one-handed pulling off a superb catch. The next one in the covers he had a ball hot straight at him - head height, out the middle of the bat, one of those that most of us would possibly manage to parry, but he made it look easy, albeit with the look of fear in his eyes. The other, again in the covers, a ball was hit over his head - high and loopy and he chased it, got under it and caught one of those where you're potentially running away and over-shooting it. Another good catch.
There was another bloke there who was playing for them for the first time and he got to bowl before me - a young bloke, looked a bit nervous, bowled a few ropey ones, but the team was behind him and cut him some slack. He got to bowl three overs for 15 runs.
Overall the bowling was good and when I was eventually given the ball, the pressure was on to follow suit. I didn't want to go for 8 off my first over like yesterday, otherwise I may have ended up with a very short spell! I was bowling at a kid who looked well organised with his batting and a big brute of a bloke armed with a Warsop. In my books anyone that goes out and buys a Warsop bat knows a thing or two about batting and as I made my way over to the crease I think James said "We've played this bloke before - he can bat a bit"...
It went okay in the end if anything the kid was a lot better than the big bloke. The big bloke looked a bit shaky on the leg-side even though he'd been looking to hit through the legside most of the time and continued to do so while I was bowling. There was a contentious ball hit through Long Leg, that appeared to be fielded virtually on the line. It was George, he clearly scooped the ball before the line, but the umpire said that his body was sliding over the line. There was a bit of an argument about it and the umpire eventually conceded that it was a single. What was certain was that George had flicked it back in front of the line, but what was uncertain was whether he's skidded across the line before releasing. I was happy with the outcome.
I didn't bowl too bad, a few down the leg-side, but the keeper Gloria was up to it and kept them all from being byes. The bloke at slips did a good job with one or two that Gloria didn't quite glove but got something on, he cleaned these up which was very much appreciated. Bowled as usual primarily Leg Breaks , but bowled a Flipper and kept the Wrong Un in the bag for when the big bloke was on strike looking to go big. Pitch didn't assist the spin that much, but it was enough. First over went for 2 with the kid hitting the ball on the full with a nice off drive. Second over I had the big bloke (L.Hayward) and I kept it reasonably tight. He got a single, putting the kid on strike, he batted well, but the SDR boys fielding was very good. The 3rd over the kid was on strike and he hit a single putting Hayward on strike. I'd been told by the captain that this was my last over and having seen how ruthless he'd been applying the rotation tactic, I though this is it, this over I've got to get one of these bloke and I'm running out of balls. Hayward had been set-up fairly well, he new it was turning, I'd had 2 dead cert balls that one or the other of them had completely missed, that in the real world would have 100% gone on to hit the stumps, but the umpire wasn't having it "Pitched outside of leg... Not out". So, he was looking to be a candidate for the Wrong Un and with just 3 balls left I chucked up the wrong on the off-stump - nice and full, he didn't seem to know what to do, it turned in and it hit middle.
I'm on here as 'Dave The Rave'.
We came off shortly after a few more overs having finished them off for 105 for 8 wickets (They only had 9 players). As we came off it started to rain, so tea was extended and for a while it looked dubious as to whether we'd continue which was going to be a real shame as they'd played so well. People with phones and internet access were saying that the rain was only going to last about an hour. A time was decided with that info, that if it was still raining at x time, it'd be called off, but just before that time, the rain stopped and the clouds thinned out.
The SDR boys sent two of their players into the field to help out the Rayleigh boys, I pitched in helping at one point fielding at Mid on. With only 105 on the board and being pretty good with the bat it wasn't that long before they'd won the game.
Word is, next week they're two blokes short. Joe and I are at Twickenham next Saturday watching the rugby so we wont be playing for B&PCC, so it looks like we might play on Sunday with SDR if we're lucky and get the phone call?
Overall it was a very commendable game with a good standard of cricket especially in the field.
The Rayleigh Fairview blokes congratulate the kid.
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