Sunday saw me leading our friendly cricket side against Wellow Exiles, at our home ground, and golly was it difficult to get a side out there; I only managed to get the final three players on the morning of the game.
It was a strong, if mixed side, much bolstered by the arrival of the senior first team bat wanting to try his hamstring out in the middle, and rather younger than our opponents, who also included an extremely good amputee para-cricketer as well as some rather older chaps.
They knew we were probably a bit better than them, which is why on a beautiful sunny afternoon they won the toss and asked us to bat first in order to have a longer day out.
We had one umpires, but no square leg and with our team as ever eager to help out, it was left to me to stand out there for the first twenty overs feeling my face start to burn. However, this did give me a close up opportunity to watch aforementioned opening bat give a masterclass in how to bat with a very good and technically correct junior, raising an opening stand of about 100. He went all Gordon Greenidge after his hamstring twinged, and battered 22 off an over at one point, no longer wanting to do much running.
He was out for 94, sticking a full toss down deep square legs throat. A great pity.
After that, batting became harder on a slow deck, against bowling that was straight if nothing else, the para-cricketer being especially hard to get away. However, our number six brought the sixes, assisted by one of our junior bats playing his first senior game who took huge wipes at everything and managed to belt a four at one point.
We closed on a competitive 179-5 off our forty overs. Objective A achieved as captain. Also managed to watch one of the resident buzzards get chased around by crows, and orange tips and brimstones were at the ground too.
Now onto the fielding.
Very conscious of who hadn't batted, and the juniors that needed to have a full game, I devised a strategy - a very obvious one - that the good bowlers would operate from the top end with the short leg side boundary, and the young lads would bowl to the long leg side boundary at the other end, as would myself in all my hopeless glory.
And it worked.
While our senior opening bowler was literally far too good for any of the Wellow players to get a bat on, he went unrewarded. However our other junior playing his first senior game, after a nervous start, wiped out Wellow's top order in five overs, taking three wickets and was on a hat trick at one point.
I hope he remembers the day for the rest of his life. We were all thrilled for him.
After that, it was a case of working our way through the rest of their batting order. Wickets were taken when I changed the bowling. The victims were shared out. Even I got one with my terrible bowling, which however was better than last week. I'm told I'm not allowed to talk about my wicket, as it was so bad.
But as ever, it won't say "caught off crap delivery" in the scorebook.
Victory was achieved when our number six destroyed the stumps with his first delivery.
Finally, a word about my fielding. It is terrible at the moment. I have no idea what my body is doing, and which bit of it is where in relation to the ball. My attempt to go for a catch was so hopeless it reduced the team, and the bowler, to different sorts of tears as I flapped at the ball like a one flippered seal while falling over.
But I'll take the win, thanks.
All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 15.05.23