Chris Savory
Rain extinguishes Pilots' lightPDFPrintE-mail
Thursday, 14 September 2017 19:00
Written by Chris Savory
Fraser Morris got his first ever Michelle
Full scorecard

Sunday 10 September 2017

Orchard Field, Otford

Old Pilotonians 141 all out (37.2 overs)

Beechwood 28 for 1 (8.1 overs)

Match drawn

Ok first of all, seeing as there'll be no report, just a line to congratulate the guys on their Groombridge victory while I was undertaking some important alcoholic research in Colchester the previous weekend and making it two wins in two. Could this be the weekend to make three in three?

Last time we were at Otford it was a glorious sun-baked afternoon - this afternoon couldn't have been much further from that if it tried. There were the usual pre-match selectorial, availability and punctuality issues and without going into too much detail, let's just say some KEY personnel were absent fifteen minutes before scheduled start time... not an ideal afternoon to be locked out of your own clubhouse, especially for those crazy enough to think it was shorts weather. We all shivered as the minutes ticked by; the opposition were all there, not for the first time and in more ways than one... Beechwood weren't.

The opposition in this case were our old friends Old Pilotonians who were warmly welcomed on this chilly afternoon. With everybody finally here, Beechwood won the toss and elected to field - all ten of us, on a fairly central and typical deck with some murky overhead stuff fifteen minutes later than scheduled. Pilots produced a pink ball to add some colour to proceedings and Fraser and Ashley got first use of it. With the greatest of respect to all filling in this role over the season it was great to finally have some teeth opening from both ends and both spearheads were making the pink ball talk, with Ashley in particular producing some jaffas, eventually uprooting opener Sampani's timbers.

Opener Cooke somehow managed to semi-ramp one of his first balls to square-leg where Dave, still nursing his injured hand, was meant to be out of the firing line and unsurprisingly gingerly attempted to pluck it from above his head but fortunately he held onto one later on which would make him feel a lot more confident. Fraser struck with an lbw before an unusual passage of play where I managed to cling onto a couple at point! "Unbelievable Geoff", and even more disbelief when I held on at mid-off to give Mark his first of the afternoon.

Pilots were rather stuck in quicksand at 32-6 before the afternoon's first shower forced everyone inside. After the break, Pilots started to rebuild things somewhat and if the seamers made the pink ball talk, I silenced it in true Charlie Chaplin style, and four innocuous and rather expensive overs were enough for me to give Tony an early death sign. Mark would eventually break through and Keith effected a stumping to give The DoC an immediate wicket, removing the dangerous Sheppard, but another downpour saw us scampering into the changing rooms once more just as The DoC and Ian were looking to get into the groove. Tea was now taken of which Fraser and Dean delivered the goods but if there were dark clouds lingering outside they were forming in the dressing room as well as it appears we now finally have issues with the bowling order; this to go with the existing batting order, field placings, subscription and tea-rota issues and all the rest of it. Dunno who'll be skippering next year but good luck with all that! Less dark but still grey clouds loomed as it was apparent that Pilots were batting on after tea. Understandable in as much as they still didn't have a large total in spite of their recent recovery but considering the forecast, thus far accurate, it probably meant a result would be unlikely if the forecast stayed so. But who knows...?

Pilots biffed a few more in the damp and gloom before being bowled out for 141 from 37.2 overs, The DoC getting the final wicket after a recalled Fraser bagged a deserved five-for - these two having their own personal ding-dong for top-dog as the season draws to a close.

On reflection, a disappointing total to have to chase down on such an afternoon but you had to take your hat off to Pilots in their recovery. Their top six could only muster 27 between them but their last five totalled 102 with Sheppard, (38) Kumar (25) and Kasif (20) doing most of the damage, but that shouldn't overshadow some impressive bowling figures up front especially Ashley who didn't concede a run off the bat until his fifth over. The fielding, initially sprightly, fell away a bit after all the stoppages as the old joints started to seize up with Ashley and Dean on one occasion racing each other to the long-off boundary the way Grandad from "Bread" used to move when his lunch was late, but there were similar leaden-footed efforts from all over the park to be fair (did I even see Mark Leadon attempt to stop one with his boot!?!) and the eleventh man certainly would have been handy to say the least. Still, the damp underfoot conditions meant that the Lockey slide was in full flow and it has to be said that Keith was once again extremely tidy and sharp behind the stumps if slightly less so either side or in front of them... Trivial footnote: Keith, untypically it has to be said, allowed one to go through his legs late on narrowly missing his gridiron mask, the returning throw from fine-leg then almost struck it before reaching Keith... I assume this would've resulted in ten penalty runs had it been struck both times or would only the first strike count? One for Councillor French perhaps? (Dead ball on first strike I reckon – DoC)

As for the pink ball? Well, it was the first time I'd used it having missed Frenchie's trial a few years back and it probably wasn't the best afternoon to judge it fairly but here's my assessment for what it's worth... Long before I was in any fielding action its texture whilst new felt odd - like picking up a peach when expecting an apple shall we say, and it certainly smarted the hands as it was thrown round to the bowler. It was easily scuffed and these were not easy to remove no matter how much elbow grease went into it. Once it got wet the halves became indistinguishable and a mosaic pattern started to appear once the lacquer faded, but it certainly looked like something a new ball bowler would fancy in their hands judging by the way our seamers got exaggerated movement from it. It also held its shape having got wet and it certainly did what it said on the tin when it came to seeing it - no issues there, and had it not rained it probably was the perfect afternoon for it. Just wondering what happens had we lost it though (very likely when I got to use it!)? Are playing conditions changed if replaced with a red ball? Arguably more so than being unable to move the final hour on a rain affected afternoon I'd suggest but apparently not say our hierarchy. Anyway, we know the laws of cricket are pretty silly when all is said and done.

Back to the cricket then, and to our run chase of which I saw very little as I was watching Beechwood's first proper leggie Ryan Cartwright in action and very nicely he's coming along too! Apparently Fraser came and went for a quick 13 before Dean suffered the indignity of being outscored by Ashley when the rains came again and the plug was pulled in the ninth over with the hosts on 28-1.

In fairness the rain was never more than annoyingly persistent but the accompanying strong wind made it extremely unpleasant, especially for those of us with steamed-up specs, and it was probably right to call a halt to proceedings when we did. It probably wasn't a total that would have been easy to overhaul all things considered, especially once Fraser departed and having seen the batting line-up, should we have got close, I think the pink ball would certainly have been sent out for even if we hadn't started with it - those unfortunate enough to be watching would probably have sent out for pink gins!

Still, we got something of a game in on a pretty hideous afternoon so well done to all concerned, especially Anthony from Pilots, who would have umpired the duration had it gone the distance, who had to stand there getting soaked while watching his team-mates returning from the pub with pint pots in hand!

Thank you! Hope your festival was drier!

Last Updated on Friday, 15 September 2017 08:50

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Sun Sep 29, 2019 @12:30
Fordcombe (H) - Cancelled (rain)