Bricklayers CC v Whalers CC 2nd July 2023, South Wimbledon
A sunny day in south London as the Whalers made their way to the Nursery Playing Fields near South Wimbledon underground station. Due to a slight miscommunication issue, the Whalers were aiming for the usual 1pm start time, while the Bricklayers were aiming for 1.30 start. The up-side being that Whalers were at full complement in advance of game start time, even if a couple of players did their best to turn up late. It also meant there was a bit more time to listen in on the radio as Ben Stokes launched into his retaliatory innings after the Bairstow stumping debacle on the final day of Ashes at Lords. As the afternoon progressed, calls from the field on updates on his efforts punctuated play. At least until his ultimate demise and everyone else around him forgetting how to bat.
The game was 10 v 10, perhaps with the lure of a 5th day at Lords eating into availability. For those that did make it, this was a chance to reminisce about previous games on this ground, with Kush’s previous fiver and Dean’s 6 onto the tram tracks among. Memories aided by the fact that once again there was a group of folk dancers trotting nearby most of the day. Whalers won the toss and opted to bat.
As if prompted by that memorable 6, Dean decided to recreate it with the very first ball faced from the redoubtable oppo captain, Mike. Same result, pulled 6 onto the tram tracks, ball lost. Not the first lost ball of the day, although later several would be found as well, evening out the debit/credit somewhat. The two opening bowlers kept things fairly tight, with Dean and Al making steady progress until Al was bowled by Mike for 17. With Amit Kush joining Dean, the pair settled in for the 2nd wicket stand that shaped the Whaler winnings. The partnership eventually fell having put on 149, with Kush making 76. Arpit went to the middle and got stuck in, adding 30 himself before taking some inspiration from the reported Bairstow stumping, wandering down the ground leaving the stumps exposed. Dean retired when on 109 in order to make sure others got a go. Roly and Saurabh were left standing at innings close on 1 each, while in between Sangamesh had managed to get himself run out on 1 as well. 257 scored with 4 wickets down from the 35 overs. Reason to feel confident at the break.
Sangamesh and Dan opened the bowling for the Whalers. Sangamesh bowling with some feisty pace to pick up a couple of wickets (2 for 37 from 5.5), each caught by Dean who was keeping wicket. However even in these early exchanges it became apparent that the runs were coming quite easily for the Bricklayers. Dan went for 30 off his 5 overs, which ended up being the most economical figures of the innings, giving some indication of what was to come. Batters 3 and 4 got comfortable, picking off boundaries with ease and exposing one of the leakier Whalers fielding efforts of recent times. Russell bowled 7 overs through, managing in the end to get no3 out for 52 kissing the top of off stump, however figures of 1 for 49 again hinted at the unstoppable churn of the runs. With bowlers going somewhere between 8s and 10s (maybe even 13s) the target got ever closer in reach for the oppo. With Amit Kushwaha and Arpit each picking up a wicket in the back end of the innings, chances did come, with a run out that appeared to happen in slow motion also contributing. Capping off the fielding efforts, skipper Russell managed to ground a skied shot at long off, just inside the boundary and then repeated the trick the very next ball, only this time managing to fall in a heap and nudge the ball over the boundary for good measure. The Bricklayers managed to chase down the total on the last ball of the 34th over, winning by 4 wickets. Their no4 batter managing to be 98 not out at the last.
Champagne moment: Dean first ball for 6, ball lost
Muppet moment: Arpit’s ‘Jonny Bairstow moment’, getting run out wandering up the pitch (honourable mention to Russell’s dropping 2 catches in 2 balls)
Man Of the Match: Dean
Match Report by Russell Bramley