Dawn to dusk

Its not just a cricket bat and some gloves you need when you play for Bushy Park Girls these days. You best be armed with at least a wooden stake and some garlic and after Tuesday night’s game against Ealing  I will be popping down to Teddington Sports to see if they can’t get some made with our very own logo.

Yes, Tuesday was another first for BPG when we played our first day night game. I will warn you that subscriptions may need to increase significantly next year as we found that phone torches were really not an adequate replacement for good old fashioned floodlights.

Anyway, back to events on the pitch. The sun was out when most of the BPG team rocked up about 5pm at the Teddington clubhouse for a 5.30 start. Unfortunately, the clubhouse was shut and there was no sign of the oppo. With Sunset due at 8.15 this wasn’t ideal.

We only had 10 on paper but Jacqs sporting a fetching new look of two sets of glasses (normal glasses with sunglasses over the top which I am sure will be all the fashion soon) was somehow persuaded to don a BPG green top. I personally thought it really complemented the glasses look. So we had 11. Or did we? As a quick count up revealed no sign of KJ. A text and a phone call ensued but no reply and we still don’t know where she is! We can only hope the oppo didn’t get to her first.

Anyway by 5.20 the clubhouse had fortunately open, stumps were up and the scoreboard ready. However, only a few Ealing players had arrived. James was on his way with others but apparently his flight from Transylvania had been delayed.

With the sun about to disappear behind the trees a figure was spotted with others trailing behind carefully keeping to the shadows to avoid the last of the sun’s rays. Sadly one of their number was not so careful so that by the time they reached the clubhouse they only had a 10. A flash of light and small pile of ashes on the outfield the only visible remains of their 11th player.

This was going to be a good toss to win. We lost and were in the field.

So, what to say of the Ealing innings? We started very promisingly. Erin and Evie opened the bowling and we got a run out early as the batter forgot to ground her bat as Molly took the ball from Paiges’ throw and whipped off the bails. The non striker had almost run 2 by then but the other opener hadn’t completed the 1st run!

In Evie’s second over the other opener went for a shot too many and hit a steepler to Molly who took the catch. 21-2. Maybe we would finish before the bats started flying and something evil lurked from the dark. Perhaps it would be a Thriller.  Sadly, it was a no to both of these. Erin, Evie, Paige, Simrat, Abi and Millie searched desperately to put a stake through the heart of the Ealing batting but the ball flew in all directions. Jacqs displayed some lovely footwork in the field putting Ronaldo to shame, Kate got solidly behind the ball which kept coming her way and Dawn noticeably improved her fielding when her daughters were bowling in fear of retribution. But despite all their efforts, a few bruises and a broken nail the Ealing bloodsuckers racked up a formidable 153-2 off their 20 overs.

At about 7.30, with the sun slowly sinking below the horizon the BPG reply began. Molly and Paige got us off to a good start and helped by some extras took us to 35 off 5 overs before Molly tried one ambitious shot too many and fell to a catch. Abi came to the wicket in the gathering gloom intent on trying to seize the initiative. Runs flowed freely as the sun completely disappeared and darkness started to shroud the ground. With 70 up after 10 overs the BPG team and supporters, tightly gripping their silver crosses had a glimmer of hope. But darkness is the vampire’s best friend. Abi lost the ball in the background and was bowled. Millie strode to the wicket swinging her wooden stake to intimidate the opposition. Regrettably the stakes behind her were immediately shattered as she took a swing at what she thought was the ball but was actually Mars. Evie left the haven of light in the clubhouse to try her best but Ealing sensed blood and 2 balls later Evie went the way of Millie although this time it was Venus to blame. As a BBC film crew set up nearby to broadcast the latest edition of the Sky at Night Erin our very own pocket rocket took up the mantle. Sadly, it was all too brief as she too succumbed.

dusk to dawn

20.23 and 12 overs in

Paige continued to bat serenely repelling the beasts as they edged closer. Simrat joined her in a brief stand before Paige was hunted down and run out. By this time it was proper dark. Ealing decided it would be good idea to change their wicket keeper half way through an over. Top idea.  As phone lights went on to help the scorers there was only one person who could save us. No it wasn’t Sarah Michelle Gellar but our very own vampire slayer. Dawn. Fear glinted in the eyes of the Ealing players. Simrat and Dawn took the attack to the opposition. Runs started to flow again although it was difficult to see where the ball had gone. The score crept over the 100 but just as we thought we might all be saved Dawn took one risk too many and Ealing pounced. There was still time for Kate (at least I think it was Kate but I couldn’t really see) to face 2 balls and scamper a run but the innings ended on 107 – 7 after 20 overs. The match ending in what was really complete darkness!

In what seemed like seconds the Ealing team dispersed into the night. Led away by the heartless Count as they took to the wing. I re-entered the clubhouse, my eyes tried to accustom to the light and I thought for a second I had entered a bar with George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino but it turned out just to be Ted and Ben. Ted shook his head “Did they look like psychos? Is that what they looked like? They were vampires. Psychos do not explode when sunlight hits them” (if you haven’t seen the film worth a watch but not one for the younger members!).

My thanks to Ealing and to James (no offence taken I hope 😊). Many thanks to Ben for risking his life and umpiring (was that a trickle of blood I saw on your neck?), to Jacqs for agreeing to play at the last minute avec glasses and Ted for trying to sort me out a bigger option for scoring! Onwards and upwards.

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’all’s neighborhood

U15 Close Out Season on a High

IMG_8017

It was another gloriously sunny evening as the BPG U15 team took to the pitch for their final fixture in the U13B league. The last time the girls faced Hampton Wick, extras were the winner (see previous match reports), but the boys looked to have made a few personnel changes since then and the new-look team meant business.

With captain Paige Goodwin losing the toss, the girls were sent into the field, but rumour has it that would’ve been the decision anyway. There’s nothing more exciting than a run chase, as anyone who watched yesterday’s thrilling World Cup final knows, and the girls were keen to limit the batsmen from the start.

Levels of excitement among the spectators were high too when it was discovered that the clubhouse was serving Pimms on tap. Your scorer may have had a few herself, so some of the details of the match may be a little fuzzy from this point on.

Paige called on younger sibling Erin Goodwin (3 overs/12 runs) to bowl the first over alongside Emily Bryce (3 overs/11 runs/1 wicket) and between the two of them, there was little on the scoreboard after the first two overs. Emily saw an early break when her bowling resulted in the no 2 batsman barrelling the ball into the safe hands of expert fielder Jess Low in her first over, followed shortly afterwards by a run-out of the no 3 batsman, again at the hands of fielding supremo JLow. However, their opener stayed where he was and would prove tricky to shift.

The second bowling change fell to Molly Bartlett (2 overs/6 runs) and Paige (2 overs/10 runs). Although usually seen squatting behind the stumps as wicketkeeper, Molly B proved quite a force with the ball too. Both girls kept things tight and the run total under control.

And still the opener remained….

Abi Avery (2 overs/19 runs) and Simrat Khaira (2 overs/5 runs) both unleashed the ball at him, but to no avail. Amy Coppin was unlucky to be tagged a few times in her over before reliable bowlers Imogen Higgins (3 overs/28 runs/1 wicket) and Rosie Davis (2 overs/7 runs) were called on to have a go. Finally, with the overs counting down and the opener still in situ, Erin and Imogen were called upon again, with Higgins finally getting the opener out caught and bowled, but not before he had accumulated a total of 73 runs.

With a target of 120 runs to chase, JLow and Kerrie-Ann D’Cunha were sent in to make an early dent in the total. However, with Hampton Wick choosing to put their faith in the opening batsman when it came to opening the bowling too, both Kerrie-Ann and JLow were sent back to the clubhouse early into the innings. If only they were both old enough to drink, then they could’ve ordered a Pimms and sat back with the rest of us to enjoy the remainder of the match.

Bryce and Coppin were next to the crease. Brycie managed to accumulate 11 runs off 15 balls, including two impressive boundaries, before being given LBW off the opener’s bowling again. He was proving to be a bit of a thorn in the side. Amy stood her ground and valiantly blocked some of the fast-paced balls, but it was starting to look ike a lack of runs on the board mught be our undoing.

It would fall to Molly to settle things down and start accumulating a few runs. With Imogen at the other end of the crease to Molly, it looked like we would start to get somewhere as both are known as big hitters, but alas it was not to be. A similar fate met Simrat as she fell victim to a miscommunicated runout. This wasn’t looking good from the sidelines.

However, with a batting order almost as deep as that of England, there was no need for the ripple of panic filtering through the spectators. The fall of Simrat’s wicket brought another big hitter in Erin G to the crease and she immediately set to the task at hand. Reminiscent of Stokes and Buttler, Bartlett and Goodwin unleashed a torrent of boundaries, stole more than a few cheeky runs and had the spectators ooh-ing and aah-ing as the runs began to accumulate. Even Hampton Wick bringing back their devilishly fast, one-man-show opening bowler did nothing to slow down the Bartlett and Goodwin double act.

By the 18thover, the total was reached, the game won and the Pimms glasses drained. Molly scored her first half century of the BPG season in superb style and ended the game on 55 not out from 52 balls, while Erin ended on 19 runs not out after only 12 balls.

And so, as the sun set over the pitch, the U15s ended their season on a high. It has been another fabulous season in this league, with many highs and some fantastic cricket on offer. If only there had been less rain! As always, thank you to Duncan for umpiring and the parents for supporting the girls, helping with setting up and dismantling the pitch, and delivering Pimms to the scorers.

For many of the girls, this will have been their last league game as an U15, but with Bushy Park Women now up and running, this is not the last we have seen of them. It has been a very entertaining season and well done to each and every one of the girls. You’ve done yourselves proud as always and in true BPG spirit.

If only the cricket season was longer (and the Pimms glasses deeper)…..

The Hammers of Harrow

  • Harrow

 

Sunday saw BPG Women travel to Harrow Town CC for their 3rd match of the season. Having had plenty of players to choose from early in the week it was a scramble to find 11  once the start time moved to the morning and the prospect of a lie in for some seemed a little more appealing.
Anyway, thanks to Kate, we had 11. However, all good plans……. We arrived at the ground where your correspondent found he had a picture of a flat tyre on his phone. Sadly KJ who was due to make her debut for us had a puncture and she was trying to fix it. Having had 3 wicket keepers in the team we were now down to 2 and then that quickly became 1 when Molly said she would prefer not to keep. Fortunately, Kerrie-Ann was happy to do the role so she was gloves girl for the day.

Harrow were keen to get started as the ground had another game booked for 12.30 so Captain Paige did the toss with Harrow captain Khush. We lost.  Despite telling us they had a weak side Harrow chose to bat!

Erin opened the bowling and the Harrow opener looked none too confident against her lively pace. With her 5th ball Erin struck sending the bails flying.

Simrat took the 2nd over and quickly joined the party by removing the other opener also clean bowled. 1-2

Paige shuffled things round and decided to bring her mum onto bowl first change. Her younger sister looked less than happy having just taken a wicket but it gave Dawn the opportunity to bowl her first ball in competitive cricket. Admittedly, it did take a few balls before she bowled her first legal ball in competitive cricket!  Her action looked good so Ted’s coaching had not been in vain. I do suspect that they had been practising in their back garden as the length being bowled looked perfect for a 10 yard pitch!

Somehow Harrow’s ladies survived the guile and flight of that over but their joy was to be short lived. Paige became the third Goodwin to bowl and pegged their number 3 in front of the stumps to win an LBW appeal (could have been louder!).

At 11-3 I dropped a note to KJ saying no need to try a Formula1 pit stop as the game might be over before she arrived. Molly was the next bowler and her pace clearly troubled the bat, as desperate to get off strike she promptly ran herself out after a sharp throw from Erin to Kerrie-Ann.

Harrow looked to be in trouble and things weren’t going to get any better. Evie took the ball and won another LBW decision first ball as the batter tried to play foot cricket (very popular at school when I was a lad. Probably explains why I never made it as a cricketer!)

Next ball another running catastrophe. Paige was too quick and Kerrie-Ann did the rest. The next ball went for 4 byes. A welcome boost to the Harrow score but after another attempt at football Evie struck again. Foot cricket is honestly not the way to go.

At 16-7 the Harrow innings was in tatters. The Harrow captain, Khush, was next in. She guided her first ball nicely past point for a single off the last ball of the over. This was maybe a mistake as she kept the strike and Eve had now taken the ball and was steaming in from somewhere near the boundary. First ball and the stumps were in tatters. Eve reverted to her short run in sympathy and the rest of the over passed uneventfully.

Having had no wicket for 5 balls Paige turned back to Molly. That did the trick as with her 5th ball the bails (kindly supplied by Jess Low Sports limited) were lying on the floor.

Most fielding captains are looking to stem the flow of runs. In Paige’s case she was looking to stem the flow of wickets. So she bought back her mum to bowl! Sadly, this tactic didn’t work as confused by Dawn’s delivery that hit the ground and rolled along the floor the batter decided to run and Jess was way too quick and Kerrie-Ann did the rest again.

Dawn jumped around celebrating her first wicket before we had to sadly tell her that run outs do not count to the bowler!

So, 20 all out and England v India had hardly started in the World Cup.

The big decision from Paige was who to open with. She decided it was to be Kate making her full debut for the team and yes you guessed it Dawn! Fully kitted out they strolled to the wicket like Jason Roy and Johnny Bairstow. Hyped up and bristling with aggression fully intending to put this game to bed swiftly and decisively.

With neither having batted before in a competitive match they found that it was necessary for someone to face the first ball. Dawn took the honour (I think) and negotiated the first over from the opening bowler competently.

Kate was to face the next over. Kate also very successfully saw off the bowler and it looked like we might have found a natural opening pair to sustain Bushy Park Ladies for years to come.

5-0 off 2 overs (all wides). At this point Ben and yours truly decided to be very lenient on the wides in order to prolong the game. As long as the ball landed inside the M25 it was considered a fair delivery.

The first ball of the 3rd was an historic moment as Dawn scored her first ever run. A very nice shot towards cover. Kate not to be outdone quickly followed with her first run and the dynamic duo were off. It must be said calling and running between the wickets may need a little remedial work. Some of the moves and turns would have even got a 3 from Craig Revel Horwood.

 

The next couple of overs were both maidens (well they couldn’t reach most of them) but they were interspersed with a couple of nice shots which probably should have been run but more indecision resulted only in mini shuttle runs back and forth from the crease.

 

The Harrow captain Khush decided enough was enough and bought herself onto bowl. It proved a masterful move as Dawn popped a catch back to the bowler and we lost our first wicket after a fine opening partnership of 9. This bought Jess to the wicket and she was in no mood to hang around. The first ball was a single and then of the last ball Kate very cheekily stole the strike by taking another single.  A single off the first ball of the next over and Kate was really motoring. Jess then smashed the next ball down the hill for 4. It went so far it should have counted double. A couple more singles ensued before Jess repeated the stroke. If anything it travelled even further.

 

That was it. Game over in one hour and 15 mins (about as fast as it took KJ to fix her tyre!). Bushy Park win by 9 wickets. Our first ever for Bushy Park women and points on the board.

 

Thanks to Khush and her team who were a very nice bunch of ladies who, like ourselves, are in their first season in this league. Thanks also to Ben for helping with umpiring and to Ted for scoring, although clearly either the umpires or Ted could not count. Given I hadn’t got home till 2am and Ben’s track record on maths from the previous match – I will generously say it was the umpires.

 

Good Wins Everywhere You Look

IMG_54611With the last two matches in the U13B league frustratingly rained off, the BPG U15s were pleased to see rays of sunshine beating down on the Chiswick & Whitton pitch on Wednesday as the planes roared overhead. Unfortunately, the girls were once again a player short going into the fixture and with a side made up of both experienced senior BPG players, young hotshots and a smattering of debutantes.

Captain Paige Goodwin won the toss and elected to field. She turned to Imogen Higgins and younger sister Erin Goodwin (3 overs/9 runs/1 wicket) to open the bowling. Both girls rattled the Chiswick boys early on, with their openers looking nervous in the onslaught. The first few overs resulted in sparse runs on the board before Imogen took the first wicket with a tasty catch by fielding supremo Jess Low. The first bowling change saw Paige (3 overs/17 runs) take the ball in hand and she was unlucky to not come away with a wicket in a spell that was neat and accurate. Evie Mayhew (3 overs/14 runs/1 wicket) had better luck with a wicket from a run-out coming from the very capable hands of wicket keeper Kerrie-Ann D’Cunha before the diminutive Rosie Davis began her spell.

And spellbinding it was – fast, tight and resulting in three wickets to add to her tally. Your scorer had to keep reminding herself to watch the runs and not the bowling masterclass on display.

Amy Coppin (1 over/11 runs), in her first match for the U15s, and JLow (1 over/9 runs) bowled an over each, but wickets were needed as the opener was starting to look too comfortable, so Simrat Khaira was called up. Although proving the most accurate bowler and the only one to not concede any extras, the wickets were not forthcoming, but Khaira proved she can be relied upon for economical bowling spells.

Erin was invited back for the closing overs and clean-bowled the bemused middle order batter with the score on 93/6. Despite wanting to keep the boys under a target of 100, the final score reached 101/6 – close enough… cue the excited whooping from the boys.

Paige and JLow barely had time to take a sip of their Ribena before they were padded up, hair plaited and striding to the crease. These two are seasoned openers for the older age group and have been known to carry their bats in previous games, but this wasn’t to be their day. JLow found herself clean-bowled at 14/1 and the opposition bowler’s exuberant celebration was quite the Oscar-winning performance. Someone should sign him up for the theatre.

JLow was replaced by Ella Jones in her first competitive match not just for the U15s but for BPG itself. But if she was feeling nervous, she showed no signs of it as the opening bowlers flung everything they had at her. She was eventually clean-bowled, but can be proud of her debut performance.

In strode Erin G Jnr to take her place opposite her older sister and she made her intentions clear from the start with a walloping shot. Her sister fell cheaply soon after, to be replaced by Kerrie-Ann, but Erin stood her ground and began to hit boundary after boundary on a pitch that had seemed as though 4s were hard to come by (the boys only managed 5 4s in their entire innings).

Unfortunately, all that bending and squatting had taken its toll on wicket-keeper Kerrie-Ann, who found herself hobbling with a leg strain, so arguably the team’s best runner in JLow was called in to help Kerrie-Ann as her runner. It was short-lived, however, and another wicket fell. Simrat tried to tonk the ball a few times but was unlucky to find herself run out, before being replaced by Evie Mayhew.

Meanwhile, Erin was channelling her inner Stokes and wracking up the runs, eventually achieving not only her first half century of her career, but a final score of 53 runs off 39 balls and including 8 4s. She was eventually bowled by our favourite amateur dramatics bowler and Imogen Higgins got a brief chance to bat and secure victory for the girls with a final score of 103/6 after 16 overs.

This was another good-natured game featuring some very promising young cricketers, not only showing their development on the pitch, but also their team ethos off the pitch in their all-inclusive attitude in supporting and encouraging the younger, less experienced players, which is what BPG is all about.

A shout-out to Imogen for her bowling spell (3 overs/10 runs/1 wicket), Rosie for her wicket-taking tally (3 overs/13 runs/3 wickets) and JLow for her calm catch on the boundary. Stand-out fielding came from the likes of Amy and Ella on debut and Evie, who is always reliable in the field, and all of the girls played their part to cover the hole left by being one player short.

There were indeed Goodwins everywhere you looked on this occasion… whether scoring, umpiring, captaining or hitting boundaries. Thank you as always to our parental cheerleaders and volunteers and to our hosts at Chiswick & Whitton.

Sun’s Out; Bails Out!

IMG_0839Just when it seemed the British summer would never get started, the morning of the U14 BPG fixture vs Old Actonians dawned bright and promising with blue skies and not a drop of rain in sight. The girls were one player short as they headed onto the pitch, but spirits were high as always. Good to see, since some of the girls were playing in their first BPG fixture of the season.

Co-captains Imogen Higgins and Erin Goodwin won the toss and sent OAs in to bat. Keen to give all of the girls an opportunity to get some match experience under their belts, the captains teamed a seasoned bowler in Rosie Davis with Ottilie Day in her first ever competitive over. The girls started well, particularly Ottilie who bowled very competently and accurately, conceding no extras and only 6 runs off her over. And to top off a brilliant opening over, she came away with her first wicket for BPG (LBW) – an outstanding start!

OA’s other opener would prove difficult to shift once she bedded down at the wicket and a number of bowlers tried their hand at getting her out, with mixed results. That wicket finally fell at the hands of Rosie D, fresh in the side from a wrist fracture but showing no signs of that holding her back. Bea Sheridan also grabbed herself a tasty wicket as the batter walloped it into the calm and collected hands of Erin G, but the bowling kudos belonged to Erin for this match. After everyone else had bowled their overs, Erin handed the wicket-keeping gloves to co-captain Imogen and calmly took a hat trick of wickets that sent ruffles of displeasure through the OA spectators. Her first hat trick for BPG, but surely not her last… Kudos also to Imogen for not flinching once behind the stumps as the ball barrelled in.

With a target of 111 on the scoreboard (if there had actually been one), BPG felt quietly confident as they padded up. First to the crease was seasoned batter Evie Mayhew on strike, with Ottilie handed the honour of opening with her. What a day for Day – not only opening the bowling, but also opening the batting and taking her first wicket! There were no signs of giddiness or nerves though, considering they were facing arguably OA’s best bowlers. Evie fell cheaply, caught on 2 runs, to be replaced by Rosie D, but Ottilie went on to score 12, including 2 boundaries, off 15 balls. She was finally bowled as the score reached 27/2, to be replaced by Annie Stirling. Unfortunately, the same bowler who had scuppered Ottilie’s debut was on hand to catch Annie’s high-flying ball and she fell quicker than expected with the score at 43/3.

Then began a rush of falling wickets. First Rosie, but not before she had racked up a respectable 11 runs, then both Imogen H and another newcomer to the side in Hannah Farrell fell too, with the same bowlers and fielders ruffling everyone’s feathers. Every time your scorer looked away, it seemed a wicket tumbled, so I gave up on my bacon sandwich after one bite, with only a blob of brown sauce in my lap to remind me of how delicious it could’ve been.

Amid the chaos, one player in Matilda Le-Frenais steadfastly held up her end as her partners crumbled. Even so, before BPG could blink, the score was 50/6 and, although we had plenty of overs to spare, it was batters we were lacking. That one player short on the team list would prove crucial in the end.

Next to the crease came the original Pocket Rocket in Erin G. Not known for her patience at the crease, she began as she meant to go on with a boundary from her first ball. Between them, Matilda and Erin set up a fantastic partnership, calling well, running (relatively) sensibly and bringing the rush of wickets to a standstill. But with Erin quickly reaching 30 runs (off 24 balls), she was retired not out, with BPG on 106/7 and needing only 5 runs to win with three overs to spare. Ananya Apte took up her position opposite Matilda, but fell to a ball rattling the stumps. Matilda held on valiantly, only to fall at 108/8, but she can be more than proud of her final score of 15 runs from 23 balls. She was replaced by Bea S, who added another 2 runs to the score before she was caught out. Erin G was then called back to the crease to try and bring BPG over the finish line. But with OAs bringing on their best bowler and Erin only on strike once, an unlucky Bea caught an edge, the ball jettisoned into the air and was caught with the score on 110 all out.

The result? A tie.

We like close matches that make the girls up their game and this proved to be just such a fixture. The team can be more than proud of their efforts. A number of the girls made their debut and performed without showing any signs of nerves; there was some standout bowling performances (Rosie D = 4 overs/19 runs/1 wicket; Erin G = 2 overs/12 runs/3 wickets); and some determined batting (Ottilie D 12 runs from 15 balls; Matilda Le-F 15 runs from 23 balls; Erin G 31 not out from 25 balls), not to mention tight fielding and good backing up from the likes of Hannah F, Ananya A, Evie M (always reliable in the field and happy to carry on despite taking a blow to the leg) and Annie S. Imogen H set the field so as to restrict boundaries for the opposition and both her and Erin G led effectively from the front.

All in all, a good day out! Your scorer went home feeling positive, despite the brown sauce down my front, and looking forward to watching this group of girls play more such close encounters in the future. As always, a big thank you to both Ted and Billy for umpiring, Mark for managing the girls (the game was so good, he couldn’t bring himself to leave!!) and the parents for supporting from the sidelines.

Extras! Extras! Read All About It!

After a frantic few days of pleading emails, which is becoming a theme for this season already, a team of 10 ranging from U15s to U12s took to the King’s Field in Hampton Wick for the U15s’ next fixture in the U13B league. With the sun shining for a change but a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch, which would later mean the scorers would lose all feeling in their extremities, hopes were high for a close and entertaining match. The boys certainly looked the more professional of the two sides with their warm-up drills; our girls warmed up their mouths with a good catch-up more than their bodies.

BPG lost the toss and the boys sent them in to bat first. Co-captain P Goodwin and M Bartlett padded up and, with no time for throw-downs, they strode casually onto the crease. But with an unpredictable wicket and no runs from the bat in the first two overs, it looked like the pitch conditions would test the girls somewhat, not to mention the fact that the girls were a player short. Then, with a flick of her wrist, Bartlett whipped the ball over the boundary for 6 in the third over and the opening pair were off the mark in style. Bartlett and Goodwin’s opening partnership of 48 runs off the bat set the tone for the innings and was a pleasure to watch, with plenty of boundaries and running between the wickets. Even the scorers had to remind themselves to stop applauding in order to record the runs (well, this scorer did). Bartlett was eventually bowled on 24 from 35 balls and was replaced by co-captain A Avery.

However, this innings would be defined by the number of extras handed to the girls by their opposition, not to mention their fielding errors. By the time Avery was dismissed LBW, the score had reached 100-2, but Avery had scored no runs herself off the bat. The umpires looked to be getting quite the arm workout as they signalled 44 wides, and byes and leg byes in abundance.

J Low made a brief but entertaining appearance after Avery’s dismissal, but was bowled prematurely, making way for I Higgins, who wasted no time in hurtling the ball over the boundary. Meanwhile, as has become her modus operandi this season, P Goodwin remained steady at her end, keeping her cool and letting the runs tick over. Goodwin and Higgins complemented each other perfectly and saw out the rest of the overs to reach a score of 181/3, with Higgins scoring 29 runs (not out) off 24 balls and Goodwin carrying her bat once again and scoring 51 (not out) in what was quite the batting masterclass. This is BPG’s highest ever score in a league match and Goodwin’s second half century in as many weeks.

Taking note of the bouncy wicket, Goodwin and Avery sent in the younger of the Goodwin siblings to open the bowling alongside J Low. What started as a disciplined over in stark contrast to the boys’ attempts in the field ended with the boys on 8 runs already and it was plain to see the opposition was not going down without a fight in the face of such a daunting run target. J Low managed to take the first wicket by clean-bowling the no 2 batsman, but the opener looked like he had been taking notes from P Goodwin and was steadfastly remaining where he was. E Goodwin and Low made way for S Khaira and A Avery, both of whom bowled tightly and with determination. Khaira was rewarded with two wickets in the end, one clean-bowled and another from a cool catch by Higgins.

The younger girls in this week’s team were then given the opportunity to show their bowling prowess and on the whole all bowled tighter and neater than the boys. But what was most impressive was their commitment in the field. A Stirling proved to be a master fielder, flinging herself after every ball and making sure nothing reached the boundary, even resulting in a few nettle stings. And at the other end of the field, R Davis had your correspondent flinching and wincing as she flung herself to the ground and risked re-breaking her newly healed arm in order to keep the runs in check. B Sheridan also proved to be an instinctive fielder and all three can be proud of the role they played in showing the opposition how fielding should be done.

But with the opener still refusing to go quietly, E Goodwin was sent in for another go with the ball. In the space of one over, she got her first wicket by removing the batsman’s middle stump and then followed it with a runout off Higgins’ bowling.

And yet the opener hung in there. But the captains had a plan up the sleeves of their grass-stained (and slightly too short after a growth spell) whites. P Goodwin had saved herself and I Higgins until the end. Goodwin took the ball in hand and generously allowed the opener to reach his own half century before cleanbowling him. The girls’ disciplined bowling and fielding made all the difference and the opposition fell short of the target with a score of 156/6.

And so BPG had another victory under their belt and a record high run score to celebrate. As always, thank you to Hampton Wick for hosting, Mark Avery for umpiring (and providing your correspondent with a cracking headline for the match report), and the BPG parents for cheerleading and supporting the team. Special mention goes to Paige Goodwin (51 n.o. off 54 balls), Imogen Higgins (29 n.o. off 24 balls), Erin Goodwin (4 overs/19 runs/1 wicket), Simrat Khaira (3 overs/27 runs/2 wickets) and Annie Stirling for her gymnastics on the boundary.

Runs flow in Bushy Park Women’s first home fixture

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.