Well, this is my final cricket blog of the season, and I'm really sad about it.
We had a little friendly arranged at Upton today, a village just on this side of Southwell and its Minster, a village long associated with posh pubs and the famous Horological Institute, a pretty and affluent little settlement.
The ground was up a hill on the way to Hockerton with all its green initiatives, and was an attractive little ground, albeit one of a very odd shape and with a horrible short boundary on one side.
I immediately vetoed any chance of my bowling from that end.
After the horrid weather we have had for large chunks of the season, it seems incredible that this day in mid-late September was about the nicest we have had all year. It was glorious out there! The heat created thermals, and all day we played to the accompaniment of keening buzzards and droning powered hangliders. Chaffinches made a racket in the trees, and butterflies of various species came to watch the game; small whites, large whites, small tortoiseshells and commas.
We fielded first, and commesurate with my new status of being a bit less rubbish than before, the skipper allowed me to open the bowling from the downhill end, which I did with a fair whack of pace, but the odd wide. Indeed I conceded more extras than runs off the bat, bowling 4 overs for 10 with a good lbw shout turned down for me being in the way, and a hard nick through the slips too.
After that, it was down to our youngsters, and they did well, restricting the opposition to 122. We were playing timed cricket rather than limited overs, so they declared at 330pm, allowing me to stuff myself at tea without having to worry about bowling afterwards. This is why I always prefer fielding first. Balls to tactics!
It was clear from the off that with our slightly shaky and inexperienced batting line up we weren't going to chase the runs, but this being timed cricket if we survived till 615pm or so we would get the draw. Luckily our venerable RAF grandfather and wicketkeeper has played to a high standard in the past and still has it now in his 70s; he stayed in for an hour and other folk hung on in well too.
However, when muggins here came to the crease at number 10 with 7 overs to go, there was still a bit of job to do, and frankly most of my recent innings have lasted an average of 4 balls and I felt as nervous as hell. Luckily there was a very organised under 12 at the other end to help me through, and despite Upton's quicker bowlers being brought back into the attack, we managed to see the overs out with no alarms.
In the circumstances, I'll take the 6 not out, thanks! It really was a super day.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.09.16