A sunny and warm morning gave way to a cold and grey afternoon with a hint of rain in the air (much more suited to cricket) as your correspondent arrived at Teddington CC for Bushy Park Women’s 2nd match and their first at home.
The usual week of emails and calls had resulted in actually having 12 available for our fixture against our opponents North London CC. The 12 included Juliet who had enthusiastically sent an email saying she was available and was rumoured to have been training with her daughter on the morning of the match.
After some confusion over which wicket we were playing on I was confronted by Juliet who was horrified to learn that it was a hardball match and not softball! Her claims that she could not play as she had no kit fell on deaf ears as Ted offered her a set of his cricket whites. I left Juliet to fight with Dawn over who was to have the number 11 slot. As if this wasn’t enough I was on my third attempt to put out the boundary flags when Julie arrived with Tracey and I was told that ‘didn’t I realise Julie was OCD and all boundary flags should be facing the same direction’. Time for a fourth lap.
Captain Lauren lost the toss for the 2nd week running and we were promptly inserted into bat in what was agreed as a 25 over game. Openers Paige and Molly strode to the middle as a fine mist of rain swept across the ground.
After a quiet start and exchanging a few singles Molly decided enough was enough and started bashing the ball to the boundary. The score started to climb until Molly, trying one big shot too many, picked out a fielder and departed for 23 at almost a run a ball. 27-1
Lauren came to the wicket and signaled her intentions by taking 10 off the last 4 balls of the over. What transpired over the next 15 overs was a stand of 125 between Paige and Lauren (surely a BPG record but leave that to our very own stato Alban to confirm) full of fours, and a lot of good running between the wickets, which at one point had Paige leaning on her bat, gasping and hoping the ball might disappear into the building site yet again so that they could have a breather.
Lauren reached her 50 with a shot through the covers but with just 2 and a bit overs to go, and her partner also approaching the same milestone, she hit a high full toss to mid off to depart for an excellent 60. It was also a no ball according to Julie who duly chastised the umpire (guess who!) at the interval. 152-1
Millie Mac was next in and she wasn’t going to hang around. Dot balls aren’t Millie’s thing and there were none as she reached 11 before coming down the wicket and finally missing one. However, she was in just long enough to celebrate with Paige who reached a first ever 50. Well done Paige. To be honest it was a very muted celebration. Please learn to raise your bat to all corners of the ground and kiss your helmet! Anyway, I have it on good authority that Paige now has a higher score than her dad ever got but maybe this is just a rumour!
Only 2 balls were left for Julie to negotiate. The first ball was smashed to the leg side. Paige legged it to the other end to find Julie prostate on the floor telling her to go back. Paige could probably have run there and back again before the ball finally came in and Julie had clambered back to her feet. A hobbling Julie managed to carve the next one through the covers and was then forced to limp 2 runs to complete the innings. 171-3. Maybe even a highest score by a BPG team? (Alban – you haven’t anything else to do have you?)
So to the ‘tea’ break. What tea you ask. Well apparently we are supposed to provide tea (would be so nice if we could get a copy of the format for these games!). The only tea available in the clubhouse was a box of mars bars so Tracey kindly offered to drive Natalie to Tesco armed with my credit card to buy a pile of Meal Deals.
In the meantime we decided to get the North London innings started. Erin and Paige opened the bowling and kept it tight helped by some keen fielding especially from ‘the Fielder’ herself who lived up to her name despite the dodgy knees and used her glare to psyche out the North London captain who, clearly terrified, and keen to get off the field, promptly hit a catch to Lauren at extra cover off the bowling of Erin. I think she spent the next 10 overs locked in the dressing room until someone told her it was safe to come out.
Unfortunately, that was pretty much the last contribution Lauren would make as not long after she dived for a ball and landed awkwardly on her finger necessitating a trip to Kingston hospital. Never fear a Bartlett is here and a few overs later Kate took the field as a replacement resplendent in BPG hoodie.
By then the North London batsman, despite the only maiden of the game from Pubudika, had decided the game plan was to swing from the hip and hit through the line and very successful they were. The score quickly increased despite the attempts of Evie and Millie to stem the flow. Balls disappeared to the legside boundary, hit off middle stump. Others went in the air but always seemed to land between fielders. Behind the stumps Kerri-ann was doing a great job as the ball sometimes flew with one clattering into her helmet. After 12 overs the score had raced to 89-1.
The Fielder, having taken over the captaincy from Lauren, turned to Paige and herself to try and stifle the runs. Things started well but then the bats found their range again with balls again landing just out of reach or between fielders. A great opportunity to run out one of the batters was missed when Julie, fielded off her own bowling and with three stumps just 5 yards away to aim at, carefully lined up her underarm throw. The ball presented more danger to the umpire’s ankles than the wicket!
Dawn and Kate both seemed surprised that they could field the ball and always got a cheer from their daughters when they did so. Kate’s son also offered ‘advice’ and ‘encouragement’ from the sidelines. Meanwhile Juliet deciding that hardballs probably were a little tougher to catch then soft ones decided to mimic her daughters football ability by deftly trapping and controlling the ball with her feet as it flew through the air to her. It sounded painful!
With just 25 needed from 6 overs Julie went back to her opening bowlers Pubudika and Erin. They both bowled with little luck but they did keep it tight. Erin finally decided on a different tactic. She bowled a high no ball. The opener hit a catch straight into Julie’s hands at short extra and being a no ball decided to run. However, her partner sent her back. Julie threw to Erin who stood by the stumps wondered what to do with the ball. Cue lots of shouting from the skip of take off the bails!! In a flurry of arms Erin destroyed the stumps and Bushy Park had their second wicket with the North London opener still not sure how she could be out on a no ball. 161-2 with 3 and a bit overs left.
The rest of the over was very tight. However, poor Erin was left traumatised, and likely to suffer terrible nightmares, after being ‘politely’ and ‘quietly’ told to hold onto the ball when she thought about having a shy at the stumps. I’ll mention no names.
Pubudika followed up with another good over conceding just 3 runs. 6 were needed off the last 2 overs. Julie bought back her death bowler Evie and she hardly gave them a sniff with just 2 coming off the over. For the 2nd week running the game was to go to the last over. Paige valiantly tried to stop them scoring the 4 needed but with the non striker almost at the other end before the ball had reached the batter it proved just a step to far.
So a defeat for Bushy Park but a close and hard fought game with some great cricket, lots of lessons learned, a few injuries (I forgot to mention Julie’s dislocated finger as well but it fades into insignificance compared with her knees!) and a fair degree of bad luck.
My thanks to North London for a good game (and apologies for the tea but many thanks to Natalie and Tracey for acting as Uber Eats), Teddington CC for hosting us, to all the girls for an excellent effort especially Paige and Lauren for their 50s, Dawn ‘it shall not pass me’ Goodwin, Juliet ‘softball’ Dexter and Kate ‘to the rescue’ Bartlett. Also to Jack for scoring again with the help of Ben although I will be contacting the Surrey Education Authority over the standard of mathematics in the county.
Anyway, I am off to play my new guitar (thanks Tracey!). Till next time.