Had some fun this afternoon. It was the Wine Trade Cricket XI versus a team from Wellington in New Zealand, Kelburn Cricket Club. We were playing at the lovely Hampton Wick ground, inside Bushy Park, and the weather was just perfect. We also had a celebrity spectator: the charming Henry Blofeld of Test Match Special fame.
Batting first, the wine trade team stuttered to 209-8 before declaring at tea. Howie Sayers (60 retired) and Nick Oakley (37 not out) were the two stars, on a pitch that showed some uneven bounce, making timing of shots difficult. With potentially 40 overs left, the Kiwis had a good chance (we play declaration games, with 20 overs after 6 pm).
I opened the bowling with Phil Tuck, who got a wicket with a fast full toss that was flashed to second slip in the first ball of the innings. After this, we had the upper hand all the way through, taking wickets regularly and not conceding too many runs. However, our fielding was a bit dodgy. Our captain dropped a regulation catch off my bowling; there were a couple put down in the slips, and then, in the penultimate over, when we needed just two more wickets to win, I dropped a moderately tricky but very catchable chance at mid-on. The shame!
So it ended up as a draw. In response to our 209-8 they had around 140 runs for 8 wickets down. We finished the evening with a barbie and some wine, including a very nice Felton Road Pinot Noir 2007.
It was really nice to catch up with Clive Paton (above), of Ata Rangi, who was on the opposing team. Clive batted very well, scoring 22 not out and saving his side. It was also nice to meet wine writer John Saker, who gave me a copy of his new book on New Zealand Pinot Noir. Review to follow.