On the back of a harrowing run of losses, the Village turned in a top all round performance to dispatch Southbank CC by 119 runs on the hot hot heat of Wandsworth Common.
After winning the toss and choosing to bat on a slow, low pitch, the Village were kept under control by some tight early bowling from Southbank openers Porter and MacIntyre. It was the arm of a fielder however that brought misfortune in the first over of the innings as a mixup between Pontin and JdM saw James run-out having bunted the first ball of the innings for four. The Village settled in but continued to lose wickets at regular intervals as Graham (10), Bosh (14) and Morgs (16) all got in but found it difficult to up the pace against bowling that was just right in pace and length for the pitch and difficult to get away.
After Troja whipped one straight into the hands of square leg, a low score was on the cards with the Village 90-5. However, this brought the well-set Toby de Mellow and skipper Cressey together and they proceeded to knock the ball into the gaps and run hard to put the fielders under pressure and rebuild the Village innings. The push for of quick singles led to near disaster as TdM dived to make his ground and was hit on the chin by the ball thrown from cover. The result was a split chin, blood on the pitch and a visit from a retired nurse who was enjoying a family get together on an adjacent cricket field. Luckily, with no immediate need to see a healthcare professional, TdM was patched up and continued to bat gracefully until he was dismissed by a double trouble catch for a well compiled 64. At the other end, Cressey continued to knock the ball around to finish 58* in an uncharacteristic innings containing only 3 boundaries. The Village had done well to get up to 194 from the allotted 40 overs on a pitch that offered very little by way of pace.
After a Deliveroo/UberEats (not sure and other providers are available) Chicken Shop delivery at the break, the Village took to the field with 10 men as Toby headed off to A&E on account of the split chin. A minor degree of controversy with the opposition refusing to lend the Village a fielder was quickly overlooked as Bilal and Naz ripped through the Southbank top order to bring skipper Dollin to the crease. Dollin’s 24 was a spicy affair with good shots interspersed with an expletive-laden argument with Morgs behind the stumps and ending with a run out from Naz’s bullet arm after he and Pitcher watched the ball stop just short of the rope before deciding to field it.
The Southbank lower order faced down the change bowlers of Pitcher and Klav in uncertain fashion. This was undoubtedly a pitch for Pitch as the pace and variable bounce of the wicket saw the medium pacer pick up 3 quick wickets including a bizarre LBW left on middle stump. Once Klav had deceived Ramakishan into chipping to Graham at mid-off, the innings was rounded off by the leg-spin of Troja who, after repeatedly bamboozling number 10, MacIntyre, drew the batsman out of his crease to be caught(?) and then stumped by the gloves of Morgs.
This was a great way to finish a superb bowling and fielding display with 10 men. No catches dropped for the first time this season, a very good take by Troja at slip off Naz and a run out to top it all off. The Village had spoken about the need to up our fielding game to win tight games, and whilst this game turned out to be anything but tight, this was because our fielding had already gone up a notch. Let’s keep it up (like Tobes chin) and on to Highgate Woods and Strongroom next week!
A good session in the Hope followed the game and TdM even made it back from A&E to sink a few beers with his glued up chin.