Today has been quite lovely. It’s not often we have a day like this, chez Goode, where everyone gets on well together, we have fun, and it finishes well.
It was cricket, again. After the needle match two weeks ago with St Stephens, Twickenham, our team (All Souls St Margarets) took on All Saints Fulham, at Richmond’s Old Deer Park. We played on a pitch that offered the bowlers a great deal, in terms of variable bounce and pace, which is how I like it.
I was captaining our side, and opted to open the bowling with Sam, our 13 year old Middlesex player who last year scored 43 playing for Barnes 3rd XI, and who can play quite happily with adults. He didn’t disappoint. I took the second over and felt it was going to be our day when I took a wicket with my first ball, a loosener. Aided by the pitch (I’m very medium, but still struck two of the opposition, one on the arm and one on the chest), we kept the run rate down. And we took wickets, one a brilliant run out by my buddy Karl that wouldn’t look out of place in test match cricket.
Everyone bowled well. And I was particularly happy that my 13 year old son, wicketkeeping for the second half of the innings, took a sharp caught behind off our wizard off-spinner Ade. We restricted them to 125-9 off their allotted 25 overs, and I finished with figures of 2-11 off four overs.
Then we batted. My choice was to give those who didn’t get a bowl a chance to bat. And it paid off. After a solid start by nos. 1-3, I sent in the sloggers. Mark hit some fierce blows, but was unluckily bowled. Then Richard, who is as strong as an ox and uses a 1980s Duncan Fearnley Magnum bat that I can barely pick up, came into the fray. He went for every ball, and when he connected I’ve never seen anyone hit the ball as far. He almost hit a flat six at about 140 mph. Twice he let go of the bat in executing his lusty blows. Great comic value, and a rapid-fire 16 helped push the innings on.
The two 13 year olds came in and batted well, and Tom followed up with a stylish knock that suggested he’d had an expensive private education, even though he hadn’t played in years. By the time I was in at no 9, relatively few runs were required. I caned the second ball I faced through midwicket, but All Saints had decided by this stage to bring most of their fielders in close (which, given the accuracy of their bowlers was a questionable decision). The ball was on the way to the boundary, but was intercepted by a fielder’s skull. There was a horrifying clunk, and then as the fielder slumped to the floor, another tried unsuccessfully to catch the looping-up ball. I felt terrible, but fortunately he recovered to play on.
Shortly afterwards, we cruised home with a number of overs to spare. A great afternoon, followed by beer at the London Apprentice in Isleworth, on the river.
When we got home we had a barbie, followed by board games in candlelight outside. For the Goode family, that’s a very happy (and rare) state of affairs. Tomorrow, older son starts at his new school in Somerset. A significant event.