Seriously fun day's cricket with the wine trade team
No work today at all. Spent the day playing cricket for the wine trade XI versus the Hampshire Hogs down in Warnford.
It was a great day. We batted first under gray skies with high humidity, and were quickly reduced to 10-2 as their quick bowlers moved it around a bit. But then a mega-partnership between Charles Taverner and Mike Henley, who both scored in the 80s, set us up well.
Soon after a wine-filled lunch both departed, to be replaced by debutant Will - a South African who works as a winemaker with Distell - who hammered some awesome blows before being sharply caught.
A collapse of England proportions followed, but we'd already posted a good score, and we were all out for 235. Going in at no. 9, I suffered the humiliation of a first ball duck, stumped after going after one of septuganerian Christopher Bazalgette's famous dollys. They are just so tempting.
235 didn't feel enough of a target. They had lots of young guys on their side, with strength in depth. Last year they hammered us. And they began well. Will the saffer semi-pro was bowling amazingly - fast, accurate, quite scary really. But he didn't make a breakthrough. They had one very good batsman who was settling in. John Thorne got a couple of wickets, and almost had their top batsman, who was dropped.
Then after tea, I got a bowl. I was feeling good, and managed to hit a spot. Yet in my four overs I bowled two low full tosses on leg stump, which normally would go for runs, and got their two best batsmen out with them to easy catches.
We began to run through their side, with everyone chipping in. Kiwi Tim got a lovely caught behind; Dally got a nice LBW, as did Will. We got them down to their last pair with 18 overs left to play, and just one wicket needed to win.
But the overs kept ticking by, and a solid pairing of Bazalgette and a young lad kept our best efforts out. With just two overs to go I was handed the ball. I think we were getting desperate. First ball was on the spot. Second swung in and took leg stump. I was thrilled - it would have been shocking to have ended up drawing a game we'd worked hard to dominate, against good opposition. I finished with figures of 4.2-2-5-3, which more than made up for my shameful batting display.
It was a really solid team effort - one of the best wine trade games I've played in.