Royal Hampshire Hospital CC at Queen's College Ground. 25 overs.
Cricket and rain go together like tea and crisps, or beer and chocolate, or fish and gravy. That is to say they don’t go together and nobody really enjoys it when they do. So it was under grey skies and worried glances outside that Bodley followed the weather forecasts through the morning hoping the well-paid gentleman with his head out the window at the beeb was wrong, and sunshine would emerge. With the best forecast still saying rain at four we quickly brought the start to 1.30 and changed the match to a 25 over affair with no retirement and tea to be taken after the match. With players still arriving Bodley were kindly invited to bat first and off we went. Today’s opposition was the Royal Hampshire Hospital Staff CC, a team we played on tour to Winchester a few years back and one we were delighted to see again. Bodley welcomed three news players to the ranks – Paddy coming from the Mads, Martin and Asad via Oxenford.
A one-off opening partnership, chosen by way of who was ready, of Sizzla and skipper Jones went out to get things started. It became apparent within a few balls that, much like at Horsepath earlier this week, an uncovered pitch and damp conditions had left the pitch a little uneven with the ball sitting in a little upon pitching. Sizzla wisely swung and left as the alarmingly tall opening bowled found a good length. A few singles and a boundary later and Jones was out in the third over, having left one only to be bowled as it nipped back in and kept low. 7-1 in the third. A mini-collapse followed, though the devilish pitch was not without some blame, with Paddy, Sizzla and Mark all falling cheaply. 18-4 in the fifth. With a full compliment now present the batting order could be completed and Bodley soon started a recovery as Philipson and Asad batted with rather more respect for the pitch. The bowling changed too, slower bowlers coming on as the Doctors gave everyone a bowl. Lesson for all us there – bat in the middle order whenever possible! These two played wonderfully well, Asad in particular timing the ball and finding the boundary repeatedly. By the halfway mark of twelve and a bit Bodley were 78-4 and all was looking pretty good again, though the skies were still gloomy. Next over Philipson was caught hitting out, a very well made twenty to his name. Next over another fell as Martin was undone by the pitch, bringing Miten out as next man in as Andrew was busy searching for his cap without his glasses on. Miten hung aorund and allowed Asad to continue scoring before losing his wicket caught and bowled. Andrew was now in, only to be run out after a few nice singles, bringing Triggs to join the flying Asad. The innings was wrapped up in the twenty fourth over as a double strike claimed Asad for a fantastic and innings-rescuing 41, and then Busby out last man. Bodley ended up 124 all out, below par but with the pitch doing funny things who knows.
With the skies darkening a quick turnaround was undertaken and before you could say where’s my tea the second innings had begun. Sizzla and Philipson opened and immediately caused a few problems for the batters. A superb opening over from Sizzla picked up the first wicket, whilst Asad chipped in with another in the sixth to leave the Doctors 52-2. Despite the wickets the rate was well up, with Bodley chasing the ball and making a few errors in the field. Sizzla’s tight spell finished with a well-deserved caught and bowled to compliment Asad’s swingers keeping the rate just about in check. Whilst the remaining opener was well set and hitting the ropes regularly, wickets were falling at the other end, a stunning catch from Busby off a mile high skier on the ropes, and a fizzing edge for keeper Jones running to square leg to retrieve another bringing wickets for Philipson and Milner respectively. But at 76-5 from eleven it was a tall order for Bodley, by now doing Duckworth-Lewis calculations. Triggs was up next, having recovered from something we shan’t talk about but that held up play considerably (seriously, good stop – long barrier!). Boundaries were hit and the next over from Miten saw the winning runs taken just as the rain settled in for good, giving everyone a welcome reason to finally leave the field and seek cover. A powerful 73 not out from the skipper ended up being the difference, though we'd have fancied another go given hindsight, as ever. Special mention must go to Dave for that boundary catch - it went miles at quite some lick yet was pouched like an apple falling from a tree, terrific stuff.
A good game, against a friendly team all played in the right spirit. A delicious tea was lapped up by all and with the bar open in the clubhouse a good long sit down was in order as the rain lashed down outside. We just didn’t get the runs needed given the overs and the lack of regular bowlers today, but to take the game as far as we did with only 124 on the board was a decent effort. Well played all for today, and we look forward to that Jack Cox semi-final on Wednesday.