A slow, early season, wicket. An outfield requiring a curling team to run in front of the ball, brooms replaced with scythes, for a shot along the deck to reach the boundary. Yes, runs were going to be hard to come by so Jurgo was not disappointed when the Theale & Tilehurst skip decided to bat in an 85 over win/lose/draw format.
A pre-match conference between the opening bowlers about ends resulted in Cale deciding to come up hill, an arrangement which suited Hill well. Curly, on the other hand, was understandably a bit rusty since he has been working too hard to make nets, but his failure to block a firmly struck drive with his kneecap puts him behind Jamo in the “Idiocy for The Cause” category of the “Who’s our favourite left armer” standings.
With the score 39-0 after eight overs Jurgo rang the changes. Debutant David The Campanologist bowled with accuracy. A catch off his own bowling did for White and, when he bowled Sharp, T&T were and 69-2 in the 17th over. Meanwhile, on the weekend of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, Park played The Tempest from the top. Stinger bowled with controlled venom but it wasn’t to be his day with the ball.
Soon after the next double change; Wigmore reached his fifty. His efforts to ensure that everyone knew about it so he could milk the applause exhausted him and, next ball, he had energy only to nick Uday behind for Jurgo’s 98th Sunday dismissal for Park. (The Jurgo jug is nigh!)
Two more wickets fell in quick succession, this time to Mikey (6-0-12-2) who bowled Freeman and then saw Brook hurling the ball high in celebration of his catch at mid-wicket. 88-5 off 23.3.
Park kept it tight. Ludgate and the de-oxidised Curly returned from the top end, each with a success and, after Uday’s quality spell had kept him out of the attack for all but four overs, Herro bagged a brace.
Park’s fielding had been sound. Minor blemishes were limited to David “Campo” Wardell’s comedy dive, Aseem, lurking like a tiger in the long grass and leaping like an elephant, to claim the Yellow Cap and a Blue Stripe stumping appeal from Jurgo who was informed that the batsman needs to be out of his crease and the bail needs to fall off for it to be out so; his appeal had failed on two counts.
Park needed 135 to win off 41 overs. Brooksie stayed in typical fashion for a junior share with three partners: Dushy who played across the line early on, Aseem (41) who impressively built his innings with sensible shot selection, reserving his airshot for his final ball, and Herro who inexplicably batted like he had a plane to catch. 76-4 at drinks.
When Uday holed out at 82-5, Jurgo and Stinger attempted to keep all options open by ticking the score along without undue risk until, with 35 required off 5 overs it was twist or bust time. Stinger busted and T&T smelt blood.
A Jurgotesque 8 from 47 balls brought Park to within a couple of overs of the draw. Mikey hurt himself by accidentally doing the splits whilst running, requested Deep Heat to make it better and, possibly distracted, was out next ball. Fortunately Campo and Ludgate saved Curly from having to put his pads on (which would have made him very cross) and Park finished 110-8. Match drawn.