Rainy at first, sunny spells thereafter
The heavens opened as soon as the first villagers arrived at Broxbourne Sports Club to play Gracers CC, a lovely ground with double sight screens on each side, long-ish boundaries and an electronic scoreboard. The covers came on for a short period, but thankfully the rain subsided and the “Biblical” rain Thomo drove through just avoided us. Thomo arrived and the start of a blossoming bromance was on show having found a fellow Villa fan in the opposition, on a day in which Villa were fighting for their survival in the Premiership. Problem was that oppo also had the same idea to bat second and watch the game, which they did.
Grey-Ham and Bosh opened the batting, like Maximus and Troy, ready for battle. Bosh boshed it around for a couple of overs but was then caught, bringing TdM to the crease, who looked in great nick playing shots around the ground and running hard. Both TdM and Grey-Ham continued to rotate the scoreboard and saw off the opening bowlers successfully. The slow bowlers were brought on, having TdM caught at long on, and Abs caught at midwicket, both with solid vents back in the hut, a la Ricky Ponting. Meanwhile Grey-Ham was looking solid, playing the anchor role, while Bilal played a classic Boom Boom innings dispatching the slow bowling around the ground as if swatting mosquitoes, until he succumbed to a full LBW shout, out for 33.
This brought Jimmy to the crease who played a “busy” innings of 25 with the energy of a teenage lad on a red bull and snickers high. Skippers Morgs fresh off a 50 and red ink in the last game looked confident to continue in the same manner, until he was caught at mid off accelerating the scoring. Some controversy ensued as Grey-Ham brought up his well-constructed 50, only to have his bail dislodged by either the ball or the keepers gloves. And then Thomo having slapped the ball around and looking good then run out at the non strikers end with the bowler claiming to have got a finger to the ball and then pressuring the umpire to change his not out decision. All was well though, as the game was played in good spirits. Finally, the innings finished off with some strong running between Pitcher and Gilo, in between a lusty blow for four by Gilo, which the fielder randomly signalled six. 1st innings score, 188.
Like Wasim and Waqar, Walsh and Ambrose, McGrath and Gillespie, Thomo and Gilo strode out to open the bowling, with the confidence and bravado of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in the 90’s.
Both showed pace and fire, although the batsmen started well getting any bat on the ball and using this pace in addition to some edges behind square. A slower ball by Thomo outfoxed them to provide the breakthrough, an emotional one having spent a while out of the game with injury. Much like Mark Morrison, it was the Return of the Mack. Gilo also huffed and puffed, bowling with pace and accuracy, until he got the second opener out for 31.
Bilal and Eddie then came on with Bilal bowling in the corridor to earn a caught behind with tight bowling. Eddie at the same time was strangling the opposition with excellent flight and guile. Then out of nowhere, the batsmen middled a cover drive holding the pose for the (actual) cameraman as he expected the ball to race to the boundary, only skipper Morgs had other ideas, and with the agility of Stephen Seagal at his peak he took a stationary diving catch to dismiss the batsman.
In came Thomo’s “Villa Friiieeennndd”, who had been holding himself back going into the middle to watch them survive another year in the premiership and showed some flamboyance while batting, mainly off an unlucky Pitcher, as there were some airy shots off his bowling. Eventually he skied one to the keeper and the next two batsmen were caught off Bosh, both decent swirling over the shoulder catches by Grey-Ham and Abs, Finally, Gilo was brought back on to instill fear into the tail-enders, steaming in like a bull in Pamplona, and had the final man bowled, with Gracers CC finishing on 146.
As the sun set, there was post match beers and dominoes to conclude an excellent day in Broxbourne with decent bunch of guys in the opposition, in what will hopefully be a regular fixture.