Today saw us taking on the nice chaps of West Bridgford Legion 2s at West Park, West Bridgford.
A pleasant ground on a pleasant day, I had been really struggling with 1) Lower back pain and sciatica that made it difficult for me to put my own shoes on and 2) loads of toothache despite the dentists telling me my teeth were fine a couple of weeks ago.
I arrived at the ground hobbling after a scenic car journey through the Trent-side villages of Notts - the A46 was accident stricken, as usual. For once I was really hoping we would bat first, but no, skipper won the toss and stuck them in. Trying to stretch was hilarious, I couldn't even touch my knees, let alone my toes.
So, I took two paracetamol and two ibuprofen, and headed out there thinking I was going to be utterly embarassing. Funny though, concentrating on the game always seems to make the pain go away, and apart from my stiffness causing one horrifically bad misfield, I was OK.
Luckily, our quick quick bowler, as opposed to me who can't even pretend to be quick, and a couple of our good juniors, bowled before me giving my back a chance to get warm. We went through their top order, and eventually I got into bowl after about 20 overs, and bowled about as well as I could do. No wides, no mega beamers, no no balls, and didn't go for a run until my 5th over. Wickets came too, a nice sharp catch at short cover, and one of my special inswinging yorkers claming another.
I just couldn't knock over their tail enders though. Tried all sorts, but they just kept the ball out. Bowl was sailing past the outside edge, yorkers dug out....grrrrr. Really fancied 5 wickets today. 2-14 off 10 in the end, as they struggled to 74-9 off 45.
Bowling first is always the smart tactical move as far as I'm concerned - as you know, it means stuffing myself at tea!
Yeah, we'd bowled well, but this was the sort of chase we'd buggered up in the past. I showed my concern however by immediately heading off to photograph the sights, take in the sun, and spend even more energy by doing some sketching, we started off slowly but steadily so I figured best not to worry.
Sir Julian Cahn, after whom the posh pavilion at the ground is named that we weren't allowed to use, was a mega rich businessman and cricket fanatic, who in the 20s and 30s took tours of top stars playing cricket all around the world, while hosting big matches at the ground we played at today.
The only test side not to play at West Park were Australia, but I'm sure we were an acceptable substitute.
By this time, we'd lost a couple of wickets, but hey, no panic. Our stalwart opener was doing a fantastic job on a tricky wicket, and a couple of other lads had played a few shots. However, as ever, we began to find ways to get out, and a deadly spell of umpiring from an umpire of ours perhaps overly keen on demonstrating his neutrality left us 8 down with the grisly spectacle of only having myself down at number 11 to come in.
You may remember, I've won a game like this before, but I doubt I could do it again, no matter how well I batted in nets on Thursday.
Enter our young leg spinner, who despite having no technical batting ability at all other than to play a cow corner hack, has a great eye and a great temperament. He belted a massive 4, and at the other end one of our senior players also found the fence too.
We'd squeaked home. A second much deserved victory for our very young side. And a great settler for my nerves.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 08.07.16