After 48 hours of rather unpleasant weather, the forecast was set for a cloudy afternoon with sunny spells. Nick Thompson and Simon Pettit had prepared the pitch well, as usual, and with rumours going around of a batting 'reshuffle' and experimentation, Simon Pettit was extra keen looking at the pitch.
MSCC won the toss and Skip elected to bat and, with his lab coat and safety glasses on, confirmed the new experimental opening pair would be Tim Cranston and Simon Pettit. Alas after 5 balls Tim quacked back to the changing room having wafted outside off and was duly caught behind. Simon followed 2 overs later in a similar fashion. The opening pair having put a grand total of 3 on the scoreboard (one run being an extra), had the experiment failed? Well it may seem so, but in the interest of scientific endeavour experiments should be repeated in order to confirm the results - Up to you Skip! (though if the real reason was to prevent bowlers from moaning about not getting to bat, I fear this may also have failed!) (3-2).
Joe Moorman and Mark Ford-Langstaff were next in and started to demonstrate how batting can be done adding to the scoreboard, including Joe hitting a lovely 6. However, this was not to last, and Joe was soon caught in the covers not quite fully connecting (30-3). Jon Springer was next in and though looking confident, unfortunately miss-hit an early ball to mid off, before he was able to demonstrate why he is the first batsman on the new batting honours board (34-4). Stevyn Jackson next in, linked up with Mark and continued to plug, adding to the scoreboard, but by now it was clear that runs were not coming easily. Mark played well and provided much needed stability but was eventually stumped for 44, as he tried to mitigate spin by the Strollers’ young but very able spinner, Josh Drenn (77-5). What proceeded next was a classic collapse, possibly taking inspiration from the opening batsman, as Richard Morris, Asif Kamal and Jack Morris went in and promptly came out without troubling the scoreboard (79-8). Stevyn Jackson also lost his wicket, returning to the pavilion having scored second highest with 18. This did provide us with an opportunity to see the Skip bat. A final couple of runs were added by Stuart Batts, before he was bowled - leaving the skipper not out. MSCC all out for a sheepish 87.
That said you can't really say how good, or bad, a score is until both teams have batted.
With MSCC all out before tea, St Clement Strollers were put in to bat 20 minutes before tea, Asif Kamal and Jack Morris opening the bowling. Both bowled well and tidy. Asif took his maiden wicket for MSCC, caught by Simon Pettit, despite a bit of juggling. Jack was unlucky not to get a wicket in his short spell, bowling 2 maidens out of 3 and only giving away 2 runs.
Tea was a fabulous spread of various sandwiches and cake provided by three generations of the Springer family, thank you Elaine, Jon et al.
Post tea, Tim and Simon were reunited again at either end of the pitch, though this time with ball in hand rather than bat. Tim got the initial break through, sending bails flying. A few overs later, Tim's second wicket came as he found the edge and Richard Morris took an outstanding catch, similar in effort to Quinton de Kock's dismissal of Kohli a few days ago (https://www.cricketworldcup.com/video/1236476) a clear contender for catch of the season.
Not to be completely out done, Simon Pettit responded with his own wicket, clean bowling the batsman. With Strollers at 15-3, we were very much in the game, and it was clear runs were going to be hard to find. Fielding needed to be tight and all opportunities taken.
Joe Moorman came on to bowl and his high speed darts off a few paces caused the opposition batsmen difficulty and provide two well earned wickets, a bowled and LBW.
Stuart Batts and Jon Springer were solid with their fielding and ball chasing, helping keep runs down. Jack Morris’ fielding almost manufactured two run outs. Simon Lee and Richard Morris literally threw themselves around the field stopping the ball, the former in front of the stumps, the latter behind the stumps. Half chances did arise for Tim Cranston, Mark Ford-Langstaff and Stevyn Jackson, however, they could not be converted and slowly but surely St Clements Strollers crept up to 83 before their skipper finished the game off with a big 6 to bring up his 50.
St Clement Strollers won by 4 wickets.
Alas, this was our second loss of the season. It was, however, a good game, enjoyable opposition and what felt like a close match, despite the score.
Two champagne moments:
Home team: Richard 'Quinton de Kock' Morris.
Opposition: Josh Drenn 4-17 and a catch