After several seasons of playing the Clive Plant XI as the final match of the season, following a request (or was it a jibe?) the fixture was given more mid-season prominence. Sadly by bringing the fixture forward it deprived us of the participation of former player Clive (his back had apparently not had enough time to recover). In his absence, son Alex nobly led the A Plant XI having called on a number of his young and talented mates!
Alex started off well and won the toss, with a good looking pitch and overcast conditions, he opted to let Middleton bat first. Following recent trends, the skipper had to deal with a barrage of requests for batting promotions, but resisted all and settled on his usual trusty openers, Messrs Moorman (Snr) and Simpson (Jnr). Rich opened in his usual adventurous fashion (as regular readers will recognise!) and having had a ‘sighter’ or two, smote a mighty 6 to get off the mark. This encouraged Nick Moorman to adopt a slightly more aggressive approach and he was off the mark to a 4 with his first scoring shot. Sadly Richard then fell to a top edge offering a simple catch. This brought Sathya to the crease and together with Nick they set about gathering runs in a steady fashion until Nick perished to a great slip catch taken at speed. Dan Simpson struck a lovely onside boundary then feel shortly afterwards to a “waft” (per Mick Simpson) or fending off a short balled which clipped the gloves (per Dan) …..either way, he was out caught behind! Moorman (Jnr) joined Sathya and they played some lovely cricket to bring the score along until Sathya perished having just scored his 50. Danny Clark and Joe Moorman pushed the runs along at a good tempo approaching tea and with 200 near. Joe reached his 50 with some lovely scoring shots but was out trying to score more quickly, bringing Mike Simpson to the crease. Shortly afterwards Danny fell in similar fashion. This left Simon Pettit to join Mike, to the by now familiar greeting “run wide to the right and back up”. Well, backing up was not needed, nor much running, as Simon faced only 5 deliveries, but managed to score a cameo 17 off them (At a strike rate of 340…. #justsaying !!). Tea was taken at 5, with Middleton on 223 for 6, a score which proved chase-able last weekend!
Denise Simpson & Di Thompson provided us with a veritable feast for tea, which was widely appreciated by all. Following this lovely spread, Middleton strode out to begin the Plant XI innings, in continuing overcast conditions which had now become damp with ongoing drizzle! Skipper opted for seam to start, with Messrs Pettit & Vande Kerkhof to open. Your scribe had clearly one scone too many, as his opening ball was so poor it didn’t bother to trouble the pitch nd was suitable despatched for 4 to start the reply, a sign of things to come! The openers set about the bowling scoring freely off the poorer deliveries. Indeed, one drive in the direction of young Joe Moorman went for 4 as Joe was seemingly not quick enough…a perception emphasised by his grandfather David who positively ran along to clear the facing batsmans view! Vande Kerkhof accounted for one opener when the score was 44, as Dan Simpson took a stunning catch (suffering a graze to his good leg, and a tear in his whites for his trouble) which was later deservedly adjudicated as ‘champagne moment’. Bowling changes soon followed with M Simpson and M Randall at first change. Martin encouraging Bartlett to drive and to do so in the direction of the skipper’s safe hands. 2 down for 98 after 17 overs! Landray continued to score steadily with Webb and they put on a further 68 despite a succession of bowling changes. Well, changes in bowler, the option remained off-spin, the skipper steadfastly refusing to introduce his leg spin into the battle….Vadivale achieved a breakthrough clean bowling Webb, a dismissal that couldn’t be disputed. This brought young Ingham, a left hander, into bat. At which point, with arguably the most talked about decision, the skipper brought Mike Simpson back on to bowl his offspin “to the leftie”. Ingham (unlike Middleton) was unphased by this and he proceeded to show us all how to chase down a score by batting beautifully and seemingly without fear. Sadly he couldn’t quite see his side home, perishing to Mike Simpson with 7 runs needed off 4 overs. Alex Plant came in at 6 to see his team over the line in yet another deserved victory.
Well done to the Clive Plant XI, a good game albeit next year it ought to be renamed the A Plant XI, and hopefully, the skipper may get to bowl next year?