On yet another fine day for cricket, the Funday team congregated at the Itchington home of cricket to enjoy another feast of cricketing wonderment. Thriving off of the fantastic performance of the 1st team, the pavilion was seemingly still buzzing with the excitement of a massive victory over Overbury CC taking Itch to top of the premier division table.
The Funday side had the usual mixture of youth and experience but the average age was slightly skewed to the younger side with the absence of Martin Greaves, apparently dropped for missing the catch off Scotty Senior last week (editors note – malicious gossip and rumour mongering…..).
Skipper Perks, who looked very much like he’d been on a long hot holiday what with the facial tan he displayed, generously lost the toss and sauntered into the ever keen Funday squad with the rousing team talk of sorry lads, were in the field, drinks at 15 and 30……
The Kalsa side were keen to provide some sport and from the off, the opener, Moynihan proved a very capable bat with an elegant but brutal approach to anything hittable. The opening attack of Hart Junior and young Ben Wilson were not phased and took to the task with the youthful enthusiasm one expects.
The wicket was again one to play forward on and Moynihan did just that to great effect. He took a great liking to Ben and tucked into anything wayward. Ben stuck to the task as did Fred and the opening salvo were complete, the tone set and pies now due…..
Somewhat sooner than anticipated, Scotty Senior is brought on to bamboozle the opening pair. Clearly Moynihan was expecting something more extravagant as he respectfully poked and prodded round the first of the pie style overs.
Perks took up the challenge from the other end and looked likely get a well deserved wicket. And as luck would have it, the ball that went on with the arm was missed by the other opener, Rehman but not by the wickets and the first one falls . Reward for bowling a tidy line and nagging length is the way I’d like to describe it……
Scotty Senior on the other hand was feeding Moynihan who made short work of the average pies. Sharp feet movement and wayward bowling provided Kalsa with the urgency and impetus much needed.
The challenge was soon resolved as Moynihan retired to allow the other Kalsa chaps a bat. This was perhaps a moment to strike and the youngsters who came, according to the wise words of Hart Junior, had likely never seen anything like the garbage they were about to see from Scotty Senior. That being said, they responded well and after 8 average overs, Scotty remained wicketless.
Young Parsons took on the up the slope duties and bowled, although with a minor injury, a very neat and tidy line. Parsons Senior suggested that he would also benefit from having 5 overs with his feet up. I’m unsure this would have made any significant difference to Simon’s bowling but perhaps in weeks to come we will find out?
Charlie bowled straight and snaffled a wicket getting the number 3 caught trying the drive a ball that was not there for the shot. Good stuff from the youngster and reward for his gutsy performance in playing on.
Rishi Gupta, man of bowling mystery now joined the fray and was immediately living up to his name with mystery ball after mystery ball. A little bit of leg spin, occasional medium pace, random lines keeping young George Riley alert behind the timbers made for an interesting 5 over spell which saw on one occasion an appeal for double wide, yes, wide on the adjacent crease. Still, 2 wickets more than made up for the occasional radar malfunction although even Rishi will admit that it was more by luck than judgement. A bit of garbage getting garbage.
Joel Holland made a welcome appearance this week and was tossed the ball (had Skipper Perks not seen the indoor nets bowling performance?). The skippers faith in Joel was not misplaced and Joel remembered how to let go of the ball at the right time. There were a few wayward deliveries but all in all Joel showed what he could do.
So the Kalsa score was now very much at a crawl with few runs being added. As the wickets were progressively whittled away, the retired Moynihan rejoined and immediately looked to score the balance to get to his ton. Fred and Ben returned seeking to contain and strangle Moynihan’s wicket but without success. Excellent containment by Fred freed Ben up to be the aggressor. Admittedly, there was no reason for Ben to bowl the full beamer……
Kasla batted on to the end of their 40 overs amassing a 207 total. On this pitch, with the line-up Itch had, a very gettable total.
Pete Burnell’s tea was very much appreciated. There was some concern at 30 over drinks that Pete had yet to arrive (he’s a big chap so easily spotted) but the ice lollies was a fine touch and something to bear in mind for future. Thanks Pete, really enjoyed tea.
Ben Pratt, making his return to the Long Itch teams this season after a spell of working overseas where cricket is a bug that makes a noise in summer had prepared well for the game. 5.30am homecoming proved to be just the ticket. In the field, with that hot sun beating down, there was some concern that Ben would need to take some personal time out but was padded up and raring to go, with Skipper Perks playing his 6th game in 9 days, what could go wrong.
Actually, nothing. The Kalsa bowling was to the liking of Ben who showed the full face to most everything and one one occasion the back of his bat as well. In a show of fine batting Perks and Pratt took the game away with fine knocks of 81 (Pratt) and 68 Ret. (Perks).
In all honesty, the ease with which both openers were scoring, the Kalsa 207 looked woefully short. Mutterings of 100 shy were overheard coming out of the pavilion. The enthusiastic crowd politely applauding as Pratt gracefully accumulated runs.
Perhaps the moment that encapsulated the dejection of the Kalsa fielders was the jogged three of which two were gained from over throws, first to one side of the wicket and then to the other.
The Kalsa team had a variety of slow bowling with one leg spinner who got some vicious turn and bounce. Ben was clearly not enjoying this and took issue with a charge down the strip, a mighty mow but no connection leaving the stumper to do the rest.
Rishi Gupta now joined the fray and was soon enjoying the ribbing of the fielding team. A couple of streaky runs but then the middle was found. There was some doubt as to the whereabouts of the middle of the Gupta willow but on the basis that the whole bat has been paid for, it is good to see value for money through wider use being applied.
Rishi was looking to take sharp singles where he could and with the Skipper always keen, saw an opportunity that perhaps a few years back would have been realised but not now. Run out chasing a sharp one. Simon Parson, keen to get the ball off the square now joined for the closing overs. The run chase was never in doubt, this was about winning time to get to the pub.
Skipper Perks retired at second drinks allowing George Riley to see the Funday boys home. Riley ignoring the barracking of the Itch youngsters demanding he hit sixes…..Riding his luck a little with a very catchable edge not being taken, he and Simon saw the team home with 7 overs remaining.
Yet another glorious day with fun cricket for all, well done Itch funday team, excellent commitment joined with humour to boot.
Noted achievements this week are Ben Pratt – 81 runs and a massive hangover, Skipper Perks for 68 and the look of a very tired man at the end of the day, Charlie Parsons for toughing it out and snaffling 3 for not very many, Perks for 3 for not very many and everyone for having fun.