PLAY STOPS RAIN
As often happens in this part of the world, rain fell
steadily for almost an hour prior to the scheduled start time and then
incredibly stopped right on cue. Our hosts decided conditions were good enough
and in a trice Les had won the toss and opted to bat – a thoroughly reasonable
decision given that conditions weren't great and could only deteriorate.
The exciting opening pairing of Dave and Geoff was designed
to get outcasts off to a good start and though both played some nice strokes it
was clear the wicket was going to be a major influence in the outcome of the
game. After one or two that had jumped up at his throat Dave perished to a
straight one that kept low while Geoff miscued a cut shot for a catch at point.
Very decent bowling by Croney and Fullilove made for deathly
slow scoring and it was a shock to see Paul pull one to the rope at deep fine
leg, the only boundary of the innings. Soon after Tony got caught plum lbw by
another one that didn't bounce, while Paul's hopeful mid-air sweep skied its
way into the wheeling keeper's gloves.
Les saw the ball well enough and made some good connections
but a misjudged decision to thwack one into the River Wye ended up with his
stumps sadly splayed. Ted and Colin saw out the innings with stoic resistance,
though it remained nigh on impossible to get the ball away.
Outcasts finished on 57, which on this particular wicket
looked like a target that might just be defendable, though considerably below
the 80 or so that might have given Peak Park the collywobbles.
Les opened the bowling for Outcasts and in his opening over
put down a stunner that nipped back to take the top of off to remove Kelly for
a duck. Game on!
As expected Peak Park struggled to score but looked more
settled on a wicket they know well and that didn't seem to be misbehaving quite
so much. Incredibly the rain laden skies never delivered on their threat and so
the only way to victory for Outcasts would be to bowl out the opposition.
When Jones lofted one of Geoff's deliveries down throat for a
magnificent catch by Bob Sproat at mid-on, victory became a less feint hope
with Peak Park now 23 for 2 off 9. But then the unorthodox Coombes dug in,
never scoring profusely while not appearing to be in too much bother either.
The occasional boundary and an uncharacteristic bevvy of
wides kept Park just ahead of the pace with wickets to spare. After a number of
fairly uneventful overs from Paul and Derek, Andy livened things up causing Shepherd
to mistime his drive into Colin's unerring buckets at short mid-off.
Park eased past Outcasts total in the nineteenth over, though
the competition had effectively ended a good few overs earlier.
On the positive side we were lucky to dodge the weather to complete
this game, and once again Outcasts' performance in the field was excellent and
the spirit first rate.
If only we could get some runs ...... any runs …. from anywhere .....