15 Aug 2015 - Charlie Compton
Drizzle and bad light brought a premature end to the annual challenge from the Hockey Club, with the OO on the verge of victory. Pedants might argue that, under Duckworth-Lewis, a game in which only one side bats is a no result, but this does not do justice to the excellence of the OO bowling unit, which put the ball in the right areas all evening [that’s enough modern cricketbollox for one report – Ed] or the power of the batting line-up that was about to be unleashed.
However, the half game that was played was not without incident. First there was the question of how many fielders we had on the pitch and who was playing. Then when we did get up nearly to full strength, the appearance of a friendly parking meter attendant at 6.25 caused several of those who had just arrived to hurry off the field again to scrounge loose change from spectators to fill the machine.
Bonze and Sykes bowled penetrating opening spells, with Bonze in particular making fellow farmer Dinnis look as secure as an Aussie at Trent Bridge and taking the wicket of Batsen, the other opener, with a pearler. This brought to the crease Paddy Osborn, at one time the leading scorer in National League hockey. Osborn, however, fared little better at connecting with the white ball until, suddenly remembering his feared penalty corner technique, he put Bonze’s last delivery somewhere near first tee of Knole Park.
Thereafter Dinnis tucked into Atkins’s impression of Moeen Ali (3 decent balls, 1 snorter and 2 bits of filth each over) and took great delight at a flat six that nearly decapitated a 60-something man who was peering dreamily at the cricket from the direction of the long leg boundary. It only emerged later that this elderly gentleman was an OO fielder whose claims that he was about to dive to catch it in the manner of a Ben Stokes were treated with scorn by those who had clearly seen him usher it over the line.
The innings ended with a tight spell from the captain (who wasn’t the captain as he was one of the later arrivals) which restricted our fellow users of the Vine to a total of 99 of their 14 overs. At that point the first drops of rain were felt, the club supremo demanded that the covers be put on to protect the 1st team wicket* for the following day and the two sides retired to the bar, each confident that they’d have won if the weather had not foiled them.
(* actually, it’s Kent League rules)