Gardeners dipped into the conference for our final home game of the season after Washington – surprisingly – couldn't raise a team (not that we can be snooty about that failing any more after our Strongroom cry-off). Bardhill were the only side available in the medium let alone the medium-weak category and, in truth, weren't much of a challenge. To be fair, their real strength may have been in the post-match socialising, for which they stayed longer than us having been convivial in defeat.
With Bardhill arriving in dribs and drabs on a day that wasn't as sunny as promised but stayed rain-free, they batted first. Two teenagers in T20 mode swished at the Metronome, each connecting once for a boundary, before Rob brought one back through their not so much massive gates as broadly Tarmac'd hard standings with free parking for heavy-goods vehicles. Greg S was proving super-dry at the other end: 12-2.
The next two partnerships offered stubborn resistance with the odd rasping shot. Armstrong worked most things to leg and was tied down by Tom the Barnet turning the ball away from him. An edge pouched by Mike looked and sounded a certain wicket but neither umpire nor batsman budged. Neil, their best player, stroked one superb drive through square cover yet couldn't really get out of the blocks. When the pair at last changed ends, Clayders induced Armstrong to clout the ball high behind the umpire whereupon Jim W produced a turn of speed not seen since the Grand National nags last hit the final furlong to chase round from mid-on to almost mid-off to grab the steepler. Tidy. Replacing Tom, Cunners was essentially unplayable as he took the ball across the right-handers, leaving it to Poker Face to get into the middle of the pack. Bowling with good rhythm, Andy found the cards mostly falling his way, castling Neil and having their captain, Sumpter, caught gently at gully by Rob. One edge went low between Jamie and Mike but they were probably having too much of a beard-in (or off) to notice, Jamie having arrived with a month's worth of graphic designer's growth to complement Mike's now signature Christian Bale covering.
Dan was given the ball and for a while it seemed as if he was destined to remain wicketless this summer. Another edge was grassed in the cordon and the batsman rubbed salt into the wound by smashing the next delivery through extra cover. Alas, poor Dan, he is basically too fast for batsmen and fielders alike this year. After all the could-have-been-classic dismissals, it was a gross hack to mid-on that got him in the book, Fingers Warbrick the safe hands once again. Nine-man Bardhill ended the innings virtually shotless. The message that we'd let the two lads bat again took an age to get through to the bench. It didn't change the tempo much when it did. Tom picked up a wicket (c De Jesus at short mid-wicket) and Jim had a trundle. 94-8 off 40 increasingly tedious overs.
The two Ws – Woodhouse and Warbrick – patiently set off in pursuit of the target. Neil apart, Bardhill took pace of the ball or rather just didn't apply it in the first place. Jim shimmied down the track once or twice; David, again on the kind of pitch he hates, worked the singles and ran aggressively. He fell cutting to the sub fielder (De Jesus) and Jim, somewhat bizarrely, was stumped from slip after an lbw shout. 47-1 became 51-2. Jamie was joined by Dan and they put their feet to the floor – fortunately for the Major, a fan of fast batting who had come to watch. They plundered 45 in 4.3 overs, hitting cleanly and finding parts of the boundary that other players couldn't reach. There were two straight sixes for Jamie; one muscled over straight mid-wicket for Dan. An eight-wicket win inside 19 overs. No sweat. Still, as the footballers say, you can't only beat what's in front of you. RC
We play most of our games in Dulwich and net during the winter at The Oval. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Aked (life)
Jamie Elliot (life)
Rob Navratil (life)
Hugo Nisbet (life)
David Woodhouse (life)
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