CURDRIDGE vs CURDRIDGE - 11th July 2020
Cricket finally returned to Reading Room Lane on Saturday, with 22 of our finest athletes ready to roll following a mixture of lockdown fitness regimes.
The pitch was in fine shape, (a joint Hillier / Edwards masterpiece), the bar was stocked, the club house was Covid compliant and the sun was shining so we were raring to go!
Those assembled were a mixture of Saturday regulars, friends of the club, some Wednesday Warriors and some new recruits acquired via Harry Redknapp style off season negotiations.
Two ‘equal’ teams were chosen, made a little tricky to ensure a good balance, as several had never been seen on the hallowed turf of the Curdridge bowl.
New rules were enforced, players were well sanitised, man hugs had been banned, and sharing of bodily fluids was no longer permitted .
The ‘Dave’ team batted first with new recruits ‘A Price' and 'A Price’ immediately causing issues for the scorers as they got back into the swing of things.
Del Candy, fresh from a longer than normal hibernation, started his car at the top of the hill, and Harrington (slim) began at the other end.
A steady start ensued, as all players got used to the new protocols, before the Price twins decided that it was time to press on.
Biff and Block was then well balanced as they pressed the accelerator and the score soon passed fifty without loss and the ‘Dave’ team were well set.
It took until his last over but youth finally made the first breakthrough as Del drew a top edge and Jack did the rest.
Del followed this up a few balls later discounting the other Price, and the scoreboard was left delicately balanced at 56-2.
Bollard and Harrington (not as slim) were now at the crease, and the ‘Jules’ team changed strategy with the bowlers. Dan Clark made his long awaited return at the car park end, and youth was the choice down the hill, as deadline day signing Usman, procured ten minutes before the game, was thrown in down the hill.
Skipper clearly has an eye for potential as Usman (who sold himself as a wicket keeper batsman) was also a pretty handy bowler, and sent down a set of tidy overs.
Clarky however was a bit more rusty and the score moved on at a pace with Craig and Bollard choosing power over finesse.
The Jules team were facing the potential of a large target until Usman got the reward his efforts deserved removing Craig with a beauty that trapped him in front.
Alan then retired with fifty to his name, and another new recruit Alex B joined Tav at the crease.
The spin twins, Jay and Luke were now employed to close down the innings. Tav pleased the bookmakers with a predictable 3 ball stay at the wicket, Alex got a good one and the score was now at a much more manageable 137-6.
Run out Reilly lived up to his name, and Sammy G and Dave were required to ensure the innings used the full complement of overs.
Sammy or maybe we should call him Samson, as his newly coiffured locks have clearly given him some batting superpowers as he matched Dave biff for biff, launching the ball to all parts with the Jules team scampering around the boundary using all body parts to try and limit the target.
Samson finally perished for a well made 32 and when the innings was done the scoreboard was a nice round 200.
Bring your own teas were taken, and it was easy to see who reads their text messages as a few of the masses went hungry.
Jules team started off with half of Curdridge’s finest boy band as Jack and Luke forming a promising partnership before Jack dropped one into the hands of mid-on to give Mr Hilman the first wicket.
Doctor Block (Jay) then took to the middle, and surprised a few with some shots that left the square, and score board was rattling on before a promising knock from Dimmy was ended by Sammy.
Jay got a good one from Craig and Jonathan Grigg, with beads of sweat dripping from his brow following a rigorous 20 minute warm up then departed first ball.
New recruit Usman then showed he was good with the bat as well as the ball, with some classy shots to help nurse the innings back to life.
He was joined at the crease by Saturday skipper with the score at 72-5 and a rescue job was required.
Some good shots (Usman) and some good biffs (Skipper) then took the game late as steady progress was made.
The turning point was the introduction of Alex B at the car park end who bowled a fine spell of quick straight deliveries that limited scoring activities upping the pressure on the batsmen, and ultimately led to a late order collapse leaving skipper stranded (but secretly pleased he could stop running and have a beer). An honourable mention to A Price junior who wrapped up the tail.
The Dave team ran out comfortable winners but cricket was definitely the winner and the club looks in good shape for the future with a Saturday squad that may even give the skipper some selection dilemmas, and the last time that happened was about 1985.
Plans are afoot for next weekend - details to follow
Champagne Moment - Some fine fielding on show but Usman removing local journeyman Craig Harrington gets the nod this week.
Donut of the Day - Run out Reilly with his trademark is the winner this week
Man of the Match - Alan gets the first of the season, fifty with the bat and then a tidy 40 overs behind the stumps. Pretty sure he might be feeling it today!