The final match of the season was suddenly and sadly upon us and a fine XI took the field against Northiam. Ross had to pull out as he failed a late fitness test, if crawling out of the Landy and hobbling out to the middle constitutes a test, and he was replaced by "Buckets" Denning to maintain the full quorum. Our beloved scorer, in whites and playing again warmed the soul as we all know about his remarkable and legendary catching ability.
Tarquin Dasooter's son’s party the night before had reeked serious damage on several of our team, Chairman was carrying a 3 dayer and the weather was shit at best......so all boded very well indeed.
We batted well for a total of 131 for 5 off 25 overs...a total much reduced by the balls inability to maintain its velocity as it crashed through soaking wet grass. The boundary felt miles away and Drew chose the aerial route with great success and top scored and, all things considered, at tea, it didn't look too bad.
One awesome early example of team strategy in action was the agonising over what to do if we win the toss, deciding we should put them in if we do, winning the toss and finding we're batting after all. Beautiful. So much agonising that it was fortunate for Beattie that he had turned up with 22 sets of whites.
Anyway that didn't matter and rain was loitering as forecast so we strode out to field in light drizzle and with optimism in our hearts.
It's always good to keep it tight early doors, so the first over going for 18 with 3 sixes got them going nicely. Soon they were 50 off 5. Poor Oli had batted well but Tarquin Desooter's bloody party had started to show in our bowling attack, and it was only the return of Jez Sheldon that stopped the carnage.
Keeping it tight early on is one good idea. Catching catches is another. And we didn't really do either very well to be honest. At least 10 catches went down according to the opposition who I had the joy of sitting with as we shelled catches, easy and hard, like peas. Guy "huge sticky hands" Denning dropping both batsmen in the space of three balls was a highlight, as was his hattrick drop when a tracer bullet went in and out of his enormous quarry hands at mid-on10 minutes later. Sadly, dropping catches is a highly contagious disease and our team went down like a shipload of sailors without any vitamin C.....
Incredibly, we did manage to take 5 wickets and pare back their run rate significantly; this innings was no walk over but, annoyingly, whenever we really needed to take a wicket, down went another catch. It was a shame....as I reckon if we'd have reduced our drop rate by just 50% we'd have won the match......so if we can try and drop every other catch that comes to us, that might work better. Just a thought.
Northiam made it to our total and as the not out batsmen walked off, I overheard them say "I think the Rascals are going to drop this fixture next season" which made me smile.
As did the whole afternoon. A superb effort by all nearly bore the fruit of victory and next year I am confident that we can reverse these huge disappointments and win again.
PS. Neilo didn't mention the 4 am alarm call once all day so I owe you a tenner PK