Sunday 17th June. Peasemore CC at Peasemore, twenty overs
Our second trip to Berkshire in as many weeks saw us head to Peasemore for a long-standing fixture that we’ve generally had the better of, and one that we enjoy immensely. This year’s fixture saw a change of format that perhaps left us a little lost, switching from the usual 35 overs to 20, for a short afternoon hit-out. Stu skippered the team, losing the toss on what was to prove a tricky wicket thanks to overnight rain and inclement conditions. Worryingly, we were asked to bat, suggesting a pudding of the non-coffee cake variety was awaiting everyone.
Fielding an experimental side, Matthew and Stu opened the batting, in bracing conditions with a stiff breeze and gloomy outlook. For almost five overs Stu swung like a millionaire, almost giving himself a hernia, but somehow missed every single one of them as the uneven bounce made him look like a shotput thrower in pre-chuck twirl. In that fifth over Stu’s boycottian occupation was finally ended for a hard fought 3 to leave the score on 14-1 from five, and bring an anxious Gareth to the crease at number three. On a hat-trick of ducks, but having heroically resisted the temptation of a pre-match pint, the dreaded hat-trick was avoided with a scrambled single amidst disbelief at the uneven bounce. Over the next half a dozen or so overs the formbook was reversed as wickets fell regularly whilst boundaries were hard to come by. By the half-way point only Gareth had broken into double figures, with the bounce and some stunning catching undoing Bodley’s careful lack of preparation. With the score at 39-7 from thirteen it was looking grim, very grim, with young Webb and the ever smiling Miten at the crease, and a mountain to climb. But Malcolm immediately found his range, hitting the ball cleaner than anyone with good support from Miten to keep the runs ticking over. With Miten ending the innings by way of a clubbed four, Malcolm finished as top scorer with 26 not out, and Bodley at a just about respectable 79-7, largely thanks to Bodley’s second best player – Extras – contributing 20 of the finest.
All that was quickly forgotten as tea was lapped up amidst the relative warmth of the charming clubhouse. Quite where Summer had gone was anyone’s guess, for it was as cold as it had been for weeks with spots of rain damping our already damp spirits. Having been surprised by the quality of Peasemore’s bowlers and the athleticism of their fielding, the skipper quickly came up with a plan to ensure all was not lost. We would, Stu announced, bowl our best bowlers. Taken aback by such a radical tactic, the team filed out in eerie silence, jumpers on, and bellies full. This meant Gareth took the gloves – to his great delight, as this meant warm hands. Asad and Stu opened the bowling and immediately found assistance from the still half-risen pudding that served as the pitch. In the third over, with the score on just 2, Assad found the edge of a swinging blade to send the ball flying over Gav’s head …and into Gav’s outstretched buckets. Great catch. Next over Stu is in on the action with a clean bowled, aided by the pitch a little bit. Assad was keeping it ever so tight at the other end and in Stu’s next over another one fell to leave our hosts precariously perched on 9-3 from six overs. We can do this, people muttered. Pah! For the next ten overs very little happened that we would have liked, but for the masochistic amongst us the highlights were two huge sixes, one of which went over the nearby pub into the beer garden, Miten doing the splits, Gareth being repeatedly hit in the chest by the ball, and Stu finally getting Peasemore’s top scorer – a batsman who looked a class apart on the day – in what proved the final over of the game, with a single run needed to win. Despite a heroic over from Gav, we were ultimately unable to defend such a position, and the game was won for Peasemore in the seventeenth over, by six wickets. honourable mentions go to Malcolm Webb for a face-saving 26 not out, and to Assad for stunning figures of 4-2-2-2. Well played.
A disappointing result, and given another go on the same pitch we’d very much fancy doing a damn sight better, but cricket can be a cruel game and we take it on the chin. Cheers to Peasemore for hosting, another enjoyable afternoon was had. Both teams decamped to the pub afterwards, where all was put right and future victories assured once we'd worked out where it went wrong this time. Or maybe we just had a few pints.