It rained earlier in the day as expected, but then cleared up by about 2pm with a blustery wind and bright sunshine, so the match looked on. I managed to get out of work early and then walking home from the station I realised the wind was in the north somewhere and I'd have to probably take more clothes than normal if I was going to be sitting scoring.
I didn't realise that the wind was coming directly from the North Pole and I was almost fooled by the warm spring sunshine, but getting ready I thought I'd better chuck a coat, a hat and some track suit bottoms in my bag just in case? My God was that a good move...
The venue was a neutral ground Holy Cross cricket ground along Whitmore Way in Basildon...
Got over to the ground to find that we were likely to be a man short. Frank did the toss and the opposition won choosing to bat first, which he was surprised by, but thinking about how quickly the light was going to fail, seemed like a good call to me? Mark the Under 15's manager asked me to score and I said yes, but then Mike Blerkom offered his services, so I said I'd prefer if he did it officially and I'd score alongside him for practice.
Right from the outset Belhus looked as though they were in trouble, getting off to an unsteady start oblivious to the fact that we have a secret weapon... Mohammed Baig the Leg-Spinner and then if that doesn't work, certain death in the form of Frank Farrington.
Abdul Baig, Mo's older brother started off with a shaky start from the 'Pond End' and my son Joe Thompson (13) bowled from the Pavilion end. Joe bowled tightly for his initial three overs and Abdul who was unable to find any rhythm was taken off after two overs.
This brought on Sam Good one of the U13's to join the attack and he got off to a blinder of a start. Bowling seam up his first over went for just one run. Five overs in with all of the byes and wides making a bigger contribution than the batting we were on 20 and needing a wicket. One of their batsman his a ball down to 3rd man and the bloke at the other end shouted yes, but he didn't account for Mohammed Baigs lightning reaction, quick across the pitch, a clean pick up and throw down of the stumps a la' Ricky Ponting. The kid was gone and heading back to the sheds for 6 and he looked like the most promising of the 2 at the crease. That then loose Sam Good... He's not called Sam good because he's rubbish. Gunning was stumped by Charlie Blerkom, Sam Good drawing him out of the crease for 3. Z. Wilson was clean bowled for 5 and then F Todd for 0 and all this in the 7th over at which point Sam was on 3 for 3 off of 2!
Joe's spell was curtailed after 3 on 0 for 7 and Frank brought on Tom Paul. Sam then having done some damage suffered some damage himself as he was hit for consecutive 4's off of a series of full tosses. At the same time Tom bowled away with good tight over that included a maiden and then he joined in with the wicket of their best batsman A. Williams who was stopped on 20.
Then came the 'Sucker Punch,' Frank brought on Mohammed Baig ... Mo's first ball bowled T Sorelli (name might be wrong)? who was on 2, he followed that with a dot ball, his 3rd ball bowled 'Morris' for 0. He then had another dot ball and followed that with his 3rd wicket of the over - B.Garwood for 0 too.
In the 19th over Frank Brought Joe Thompson back on (My son) who then finished the game off with his first ball. As he ran in Travis Singelton was heard to make a ball hitting the stumps noise before it even happened... G-dink! Sure enough his prediction was spot on. They'd been bowled out for 73 in 19.1 overs. Frank didn't even need to bowl himself.
Batting - With 74 needed in failing light it looked as though it was going to be a similar story. By now with the long evening shadows stretching across the wicket and that very brisk North Westerly wind, it was getting very cold and I had all of the clothes that I'd brought with me on. It was FREEZING! Over the following hour or so it got colder and colder. If you ever go to a early season cricket match, never assume it is going to be warm, dress or at least take clothes more suited for December! If it is warm you wont have to wear them, but if it's cold - man are they a Godsend! Next week a woolly hat and thicker socks!
The batting didn't get off to a good start - new lad Andrew Tokeley was out first ball hooking a ball that bounced up into the air to be easily caught by the bowler. Travis Singleton was another early victim gone for 0. Thankfully Frank and Charlie Blerkom took their time and got off to steady starts and made 25 and 21 respectively. Like last week the middle order struggled and the runs dried up as the last few overs approached and it looked like another nail biting end. Sure enough the runs dried up and it looked increasingly like we wasn't going to get across the line, then their spin bowler at a critical point with little more than an over to get the runs bowled a over the head no-ball, which Sam Good lifted his bat above his head to, to smack through the Gully and Point area and it snuck through and he then ran 3 getting Basildon across the line
Holy Cross cricket ground Basildon off Whitmore Way.
Left to Right - Charlie Blerkon, Anthony Ayres (Umpire), Andrew Tokley, Frank Farrington (Wrist Spinner). Joe Thompson (At back). Random Belhus bloke in foreground nearest the camera?
Charlie Blerkon Batsman/Wicket Keeper B&PCCWords of encouragement from Mark Farrington (U15's manager) for Charlie Blerkom.
Victorious B&PCC U15's leave the pitch Left to right - Joe Thompson, Abdul Baig, Travis Singleton (Green Jumper), Sam Good (Helmet) and Frank Farrington (right).
Left to Right - Travis Singleton, Sam Good, Charlie Blerkom (part obscured) Tom Paul (In football kit), Anthony Ayres, Andrew Tokley, Joe Thompson, Frank Farrington, Abdul Baig and Mo Baig (Wrist Spinner).