The low flying aircraft out of Heathrow, careening parakeets
overhead and the crack of small arms fire from a nearby rifle-range added a
Ballardian touch to this season opener in sunny Ham, alongside historic Ham House. A first meeting for the two teams, on a municipal
wicket a bit below par and a bit damp as might be expected at this time of year. The home team won the toss and decided to bat but
were soon in trouble as Rob Anderson took a wicket in his first over then Paul Shorrock did the same from the other end. No runs had
been added by the time the third and fourth batsmen were also "back in the pavilion" (there was no pavilion). An ironic cheer in the
seventh over greeted the first run. Paul, Captain on the day, decided to play out a bit of line, for the sake of the game, which looked
like lasting less time than some of the participants had taken to get there. Robin Astley, making his Exiles debut, did the job too well
and nine runs came off his first over.
Thereafter The Exiles relaxed into a sort of half-hearted Cricket, dropping a couple of catches that would normally have been caught
and generally bowling within themselves. Stephen's brother Ruairi O'Connor made his debut and bowled well, deserving more than the
one wicket he managed. Steve DuPreez was less effective on the slow green track than he is on dry, bouncy ones but he picked up a
couple of wickets. Young Andy Pearson bowled with good control and pace towards the end of the innings, crucially finding a fuller length.
Rob and Paul returned at the death, Rob picking up a third wicket, Paul being struck for a straight six. 109 seemed like a sporting target
from 30 overs and should have been well within The Exiles compass. There was greater depth in batting than bowling in this game.
Lack of communication all round meant no teas, and for those who skipped lunch for the 1pm start, real hunger. We'll know next time.
|Total||for 9 wickets||109|
Exiles bowling figures:
|S Du Preez||6||0||?||2|
It all started sloppily enough, Darcos' first bowl to Kevin
being chipped back straight to him for the easiest of caught and bowled chances
you are likely to see. Kevin then went home in a state of high dudgeon, thrice throwing his bat before getting on his motorbike in search of food.
The remainder of the over being was sprinkled with wides and full-toss no-balls. With hindsight it is possible to see a plan in Red Cow's method, lulling
the enemy into a false sense of security! Geoff at then other end managed a maiden then Stephen O'Connor put on 32 with Kyle Holling, largely
made up of extras. Every ball, of whatever quality, drew a chorus of encouragement from the Cows. A pointless run out saw the end of Stephen,
the only doubt whether the ball had hit a a water bottle by the stumps before breaking the wicket! Steve DuPreez announced his arrival with a
big six, then a four but he was undone by the pace of Red Cow Captain Freeman, caught low at a wide second slip. Roric Coleman stretched to
get the toe-end on a very wide ball and succeeded only in chipping a catch to cover point. If Dax was intimidated by the pace of Freeman on
this dodgy wicket he didn't stop him on-driving his first delivery for four. Freeman responded with one past Dax's glasses. Kyle top scored for
The Exiles with 19 but was bowled by shortish one from Freeman that squatted a little. With Freeman continuing to bowl express it was almost inevitable
that somebody would get hurt sooner or later. The unfortunate individual was Ruairi, who went forward to a fullish one that leapt and smacked him
on the top lip which split badly and ended his Cricket for the day. Ruairi and his brother then wasted six hours at two different hospitals before being
seen and then being told no treatment was necessary. No doubt the wound had healed significantly by then. Roric supplying the transport, which meant
that The Exiles were down to seven to watch the denouement. Andy was thrown into the line ahead of Robin, who had to return Stephen's pads but
lasted just one ball, attempted a majestic off drive with full follow through but was bowled. Robin then made a pretty good fist of resisting the
penetration of Freeman and the temptations elsewhere. Dax only just failed to see off the last of Freeman and Rob Anderson managed one nice
boundary and a single before falling to Red Cow's sixth bowler Andy. Leaving just fourteen runs needed for the last pair to make. It proved to be
fourteen runs too many as Robin attempted a pull shot to Reed, (beginning his seventh over according to the scorebook!). He was about a second
early as the ball lost pace off the wicket and clipped his bails. A disappointing end to a pretty miserable day.
There were no takers for Red Cow's post match "teas" back at the eponymous pub in Richmond. The rump of the Exiles feeling empty and deflated.
It was difficult to say if it was hunger or anger that was gnawing away in the pit of their stomachs.
|K Hobley||Ct & Bowled||Darcos||0|
|S D O'Connor||Run||Out||9|
|S Du Preez||Ct||Freeman||12|
|Total||Extras:||29||95 all out|
Next up the Pretenders at LSE Sports Ground, New Malden.