On a boiling hot day, 11 Middleton Stoney cricketers plus Chris Greer, our marvelous scorer and Richard Lumb who is fast becoming a regular umpire traveled to Great Missenden to take on Pelicans.
It was a very easy decision to bat first on a dry track in temperatures over 30°. Unfortunately, today's captain Mark Ford-Langstaff lost the toss and had to break the news to his teammates that we would be bowling first.
By the end of the seventh over however, Pelicans were 9 for 2 with a wicket apiece for our openers George Williams bowling down the hill and Rob Barton sweating up it. Perhaps it had been a good toss to lose?
132 runs later we decided that it definitely would have been nice to bat first. Pelican's numbers 1 and 4 played beautifully for 88 and 62 runs respectively. We used five bowlers in trying to find a way through but with boundaries aplenty and good rotation of the strike, we were struggling in the heat. Paul Wordsworth, Mike Simpson and Tim Riley bowled four overs each but with a breakthrough looking unlikely we turned to Nick Moorman. Encouraging him to bowl with the offer of fielding in the small shaded area at fine leg when not bowling, he was inspired. Firstly, Rehman the opener went for 88, mishitting one that rose sharply on him to square leg where Howard Lancaster took the catch. Next ball number five was given LBW. On a hat-trick for what was reportedly the 13th time in his cricketing life, Nick pitched one up, kept it straight, appealed and.... the finger went up for another LBW. Well done, Nick!
George returned to remove No.4 Khan for 62 and then numbers 7 and 8, both for nought. The final wicket fell just before tea when Mark ran out the number 10 walking to the bowlers end with both batsman standing next to the umpire. Pelicans were all out for 166 which included two half centuries and six ducks.
Tea was taken in the shade as we cooled down enjoyed our sandwiches, the red kites overhead, the site of the trains passing by and the promise of the pub next door.
Golden arm, Nick opened the batting along with Howard. Howard hit the first ball for 4 and Nick quickly joined the party. The two of them put on 97 for the first wicket, hitting the bad balls to the boundary and looking very comfortable. Nick accelerated well but the introduction of leg spinner Rehman (he of the runs) led to Howard's demise (28) out LBW. Nick then took one bowler for 23 off just 8 balls before the same bowler bowled him for a fine 70.
Tim Riley scored 1 and was unlucky to pick out the fielder with a pull shot. Rehman removed Mark cheaply and Andrew Thomas followed a few balls later. Suddenly, Pelicans were on the charge and glimpsed a chance to snatch victory from us. Jamie Lumb (17*) and Mike Simpson (13*) had other ideas mixing defense with attack to pick off the remaining runs and see us over the line.
Our thanks to Pelicans for being excellent hosts as always and we look forward to seeing you again next year.