I wrote yesterday that I had gone from finding myself with no cricket this weekend, to having two games as of Saturday morning, and today's Sunday game was the second, but with a twist.
I was guesting for our friends of long standing at Upton Cricket Club, whom we have regular matches with and have players who regularly turn out for both sides. I became the latest NRM player to go and help them out, although I winced who the opposition were.
It was Bothamstall Exiles, a friendly team who take their friendly cricket very very seriously, to the extent that last year they brought several Retford first team players from the Bassetlaw Saturday first division, who play at a way higher standard than us, including a Barbadian overseas player who wiped us out with his bowling.
And yes, they did it again today, with several more Retford players, including their new Barbadian overseas pro who I have seen on youtube bowling like lightning and hitting the ball very hard indeed. This guy, whose name was Demel, was himself a nice chap, but at our level I thought his bowling was likely to cause hospitalisation. His batting too probably.
Luckily, common sense prevailed, and apparently he doesn't bowl in friendlies. So at least I thought I would get through the day without ending up in intensive care.
We batted first, and being ultra helpful for my new team, I volunteered to open the umpiring. They knew who I was of course - "Oh, you are the left handed guy in the headband, that's good because we are short of bowling today."
Like the presence of me changes that, but I digress.
So umpiring, and I quickly found out that we seemed to be playing a team of animals, with "Fish", "Rhino" and "Shark" all playing. Indeed Shark opened the bowling, but as he turned out to be a 13 year old boy in spectacles, he was hardly a great white. The chat was a rich mixture of harsh North Notts accents mixed in with Demel's Barbadian patois. God knows how he was finding the late May weather, which consisted of freezing winds mixed in with the odd blustery shower.
Meanwhile, our openers made a good if steady start against this "Shark", alongside another Retford first team bowler, until the shark finally bit and bowled one of them. Demel then showed why he's a pro by taking a simply astonishing catch, the best I've ever seen in person, flying high off the ground to take a big hit one handed and behind him like Ben Stokes.
I decided at that point that when I was batting, I wasn't going to take a single to him. Even if he was fielding on the boundary. Or in Nottingham.
The wicket was a little tricky too, and our progress was hindered by regular wickets falling just as players got into their stride. Having been informed by our captain that I was batting at 8 today - jeez me batting at 7 and 8 in a weekend, the captains of the world have gone mad - I padded up, as usual nearly broke my neck sliding about on spikes on the shiny floors in the pavilion, and walked out to wait to bat. Which was about two minutes later.
"You're here because you got ten not out last time you played us, just stay forward, you'll be fine" advised my batting partner.
He then watched while I got forward to my first ball, which yorked me and took my leg stump out of the ground. Upton were really getting value for money from their new player.
At least it got me out of the rain which then lashed down for twenty minutes while the players carried on to get the innings over with, leaving them with saturated jumpers with the sleeves now reaching down to their knees.
After a welcome tea with some very nice hot quiche, it was time to bowl as we sought to defend 121-9 off 40 overs. I opened up today, and despite the rain leaving a tacky ball - cricket ball that is - which stuck to my fingers and had me bowling the wretched thing straight under my nose for my first couple of deliveries, but I soon got the hand of things and bowled accurately - NO WIDES AGAIN! - and nipped the ball off the seam although the wicket was too slow to cause the batters, mainly a shaven headed chap with a purple beard, much trouble although they couldn't get me away.
Until my 24th and what turned out to be last ball, to which the other opening bat who is Retford 1s all rounder, walked down the track and smacked me into the orchard on the other side of the hedge for the green woodpecker I had seen in there earlier to try and catch.
Skipper binned me off after that. 4 overs 1 maiden 0 for 9 is still my best return of the season. Which isn't saying much.
However, the big hitting all rounder was soon taken care of by our spinner, but only after he had hit another one over a different hedge, and another straight through me as I dived like a crippled ice skater to try and stop another one.
This then brought Demel to the crease, and expectations of total destruction were actually soon put away. Sure, he did hit the ball very very hard - one shot went within ten yards of me but I barely had tine to move - but our bowlers largely kept him and the other Bothamstall batters quiet, and really made them work hard to get even this modest total. The young lad from Upton was particularly impressive in this regard, and eventually he got a little bored and attempted a massive across the line slog at our captain and was bowled.
However, they had more than enough batting to see them home, despite some insane running between the wickets, and they duly won by seven wickets in the 32nd over with an another 6 over a tree.
Still I had a great afternoon's moonlighting and really enjoyed myself.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.05.22