Life as a village cricketer

The season is now well under way and Englefield Green 2ndXI has played five games. We’ve lost four of those and won one. The biggest surprise, however, has been the weather.  Mercifully, not one fixture has been lost to the elements yet.

That sinking feeling of watching the ball travel right into the hands of a grateful slip fielder...

Two of the defeats that we’ve suffered were heavy, by 202 and 201 runs against vastly superior opposition. Such is your lot at times, but we’ve also had three competitive fixtures thrown in. In the two spankings I registered scores of zero and zero, so the average has been hampered somewhat!

In the other two fixtures that I’ve played, I’ve managed scores of 19 and three. The 19 came opening the batting in a low scoring game against West Byfleet. I wasn’t expecting to play any part in the game since I was going to see Jack Dee that evening in Hammersmith and was only meant to be running the scorebook down for our stand in skipper.

Availability being somewhat limited, however, meant that it was a good call to throw the whites and the new bat into the boot of the car as well. Upon arrival I was forced into a rapid change of attire to head out and open the batting in damp conditions. We headed off once for rain, but it was good to find some sort of rhythm and spend some time out in the middle having failed the week before.

It was also good to play some shots with the new Slazenger V100. The wet conditions meant that the ground strokes weren’t running away to the boundary, but the gaps were found and there were one or two lustier blows that brought the power of the blade into play. It was a case of one lusty blow too many, however, as in the end a huge top edge brought about a close to my cameo appearance after 44 deliveries.

The team was eventually bowled out for 56, but our bowlers found some form and we only lost by four wickets.

The following week we were on the end of another hiding, I registered another zero but the world keeps turning… Annoying, but thems the breaks. The following week the team mustered our first win of the season in the return fixture against West Byfleet.  Unfortunately, from my point of view, I was away, off to the O2 to see Carl Froch do battle with Mikkel Kessler.

I was back on duty this Saturday, however, and we had a cracking game at home to Bec Old Boys A. I won the toss (for the first time ever) and decided that we’d have a bat. I was soon dismissed for three. I never got settled and was struggling to pick the ball up, the runs coming from ugly nurdles into the on side.

I had been dropped once by first slip, hanging my bat out to dry outside off stump, before deciding attack was the only way forward and perishing to my second offering to first slip. The team went on to slump to 16/4 before our middle and lower order managed to create a few partnerships to drag us to a total of 105.

We set about defending the small total but looked out of proceedings as they marched imperiously from 5/2 to 63/2. A spate of wickets, however, and they were 69/7. We were, suddenly, on top.

Unfortunately they managed to find a ninth partnership that took them to 98/9 and, in the end, managed to drag themselves over the line for a tense and exciting one wicket victory.

Those are the sort of games that you play cricket for, though. We may have lost but it was a terrific game and was far more satisfying than a one sided annihilation.

There are promising signs for the rest of the season, though, and everyone seems to be enjoying their cricket. That, at the end of the day, is what it’s all about. We’re not doing it for the money and women after all…

I’m off for another week this week, but will be back with another update in a couple of weeks.

By Miles Reucroft

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