Coming off the back of the exhilarating win against Bidborough, we pitched up to the lovely ground at Stonewall Park looking to build some strong momentum going into the last couple of the first round of fixtures. The weather looked rather undecided and light but steady rain drops were soon falling as the team were gathering pre match, with no sign of any breaks in the cloud. An ominous sign perhaps, but skipper won the toss and decided to put the hosts in straight away.
With Guti S in to replace the absent PC, he and Wild went about the opening overs with a slippery ball, fast losing any shine or shape that might help with some conventional quick bowling. After 5 overs a piece without a breakthrough, Danny boy brought on the slow stuff – Weezy Crosby and the returning Weezy Junior (give those death sticks up now Miles) took to their tasks with the usual unrelenting accuracy. It wasn’t long before Stonewall were forced to give in to the Crosby twin magic, with one opener skewing a drive to Dan at cover – we’d made the breakthrough. Not entirely sure what happened for the next few overs but it was all a bit weird, culminating with their number 3 bat missing a ball from the senior Big Phil after walking at one, only for the ball to roll back toward Cribben who immediately pounced like a ferret to run out/stump (no one actually knows) the seemingly lost batsman. Then there seemed to be a collapse of sorts, with two consecutive batsmen chippy easy catches to fielders early on in their innings, all the while the other opener continued to play well at the other end. Then Sheridan turned back the years and rarely strayed from THE CASTLE with his bowling, and man after man they swung and they missed, bails flying all over the place (within 3 feet of the stumps, he’s not as quick as he used to be). Experience proved to be the deciding in our fielding innings, with Phil ending up with 6-23 off his 8, and Darren nabbing 2-17 off 6 overs – very tidy bowling chaps. The innings ended in the last over with Stonewall reaching a modest 147, finished off with the spell of the day – one ball, one wicket from the beard. Not as good as Sheridan’s bowling by any stretch, but a rare gem if ever there was one – Wild bowling a full straight ball first up. Tea went down well for all – a hallmark of Stonewall’s hosting now.
More opening experimentation this week, with John Okell returning to the side to take first ball alongside Wild. Last year Stonewall ran away with the league by virtue of a plethora of bowling options – this year we caught them at a good time it seemed, as they were missing much of their prized attack. However, this did not mean an easy task for the Sennocke line up, and the opening two got off to a steady start, with John doing much of the scoring early on, before falling for 31 a few overs before tea. At this stage, Wild had only just breached double figures and had faced a fair few balls – thoughts of a Tavare-style innings were circling. Joined by the other twin in the Okell clan, runs started to flow more freely for Sennocke, Wild keen to make up on lost time. Already comfortable using the sweep shot to their seam attack, Wild started to explore the other shots in the batting manual, with a brief foray into straight drives and cover drives, and a GLORIOUS six down the ground over the bowlers head. However this seemed to bore him and he soon returned to sweeping one and all. Then he was felled – not getting out, but hit in a poorly secured box, and had to spend the next few minutes gathering his thoughts and what remained of his manhood, before slapping his was to his first 50 of the year, moving on to 61 runs before edging another flaying drive behind to the keeper. At this point, Sennocke needed just 45 runs to win, and with Pete and Jules at the crease, and plenty of overs left, victory seemed a near certainty. A small wobble, with Jules and Pete falling before time, brought Dan and Miles together as the crease – these two cool young heads steered us to victory in the 37th over.
Overall a great performance, with bowling depth exhibited, fielding still on a really good level (despite shelling a few chances), and a good positive batting innings – we are out the drop zone. Bring on Chiddingstone at home next week – let’s rectify the horror show in that friendly a few years ago…