Fen Ditton II Vs Elmdon II
Saturday 7th May
Fen Ditton II Vs Elmdon II
‘Hello! Nice to see you again. What’s new?’
Well quite a lot actually. We have a new 2nd Team, a new captain, in a new league, some rather smart, new advertising boards and lots of new faces. In short, most things are new and it will be interesting this season as we will be going into each game simply not knowing how good or bad either we or the opposition are (or, in these early weeks, what the name of that nice bloke at long leg whose hand you just shook actually is).
Given the number of new Ditton faces – something like 7 debutants - we began with introductions all round – and, as I write, I am still not sure who was who in some cases so apologies if I get some wrong. Our new captain, MVS, ignored page 3 of the Wilson Book of Captaincy and began by winning the toss. Reasoning that he had a fair understanding of us as a bowling unit but no idea whether we could bat, he elected to field and, on a nice warm sunny afternoon, off we went on our voyage of discovery.
Gav (Mr Known and Reliable Quantity) was given the new ball and began tidily from the Pavilion End: no doubt he will bowl much worse this season and get far more than 2 wickets. Our other opening bowler, Hugh, sadly, retired to the outfield after a couple of overs to adjust his radar, bringing Fowler in from the bottom, ‘Jacko’ or Playground End. 25 off the first 5 overs suggested it was going to be a long afternoon. However, 4 overs later and at 31 for 3 it felt a lot more fun as the Elmdon openers both contrived to be caught and bowled and Hugh, radar fully restored, took a neat catch off a Fowler long hop (so evidently ‘long’ was the ‘hop’ that the bowler had apologised for it well before the resultant shot was caught).
Then came the early contender for ‘Champagne Moment of the Season’, after which we never looked back. In a pre-match interview, Gilo had confessed to nerves – hoping he got a few runs and, as a former 1st XI regular, that didn’t embarrass himself (he wasn’t alone in thinking such thoughts). He needn’t have worried as this was to be ‘The Afternoon of His Life’ and it began with a diving, one handed catch off Gav’s bowling – so astounding was it that Elmdon’s Number 5 bat applauded as he trooped off. Avoiding that cliché about catches, winning and matches, the truth is the standard was set – almost impossibly high. Elmdon said we ought to buy a lottery ticket and build a 3 tier pavilion with the winnings: something like 8 of 10 chances offered were taken today (apparently in sharp contrast to what was going on at Quy with the 1st XI).
Gilo then replaced Gav and reeled off 7 overs, 2 for 18 – their batsmen never being able to get him away. He was helped along the way by another ‘one handed, above his head, on the boundary’ catch, this by another debutant, Mr P Gardner. At the other end, Fowler bowled 7 overs and took a surprising 5 for 13 (that’s 2 apologies and 3 wickets) before suffering yet another ‘poorly leg’. It rather suggested that ‘Line and Length’ is all you need to take wickets in this league. Mike rounded things off with a debut wicket – the Elmdon square leg umpire noting that he had a ‘nice clean action’ and clearly was a ‘quality bowler’. Extras – notably wides – were the second highest Elmdon scorer and, in passing, note the small number of byes conceded by another debutant Edward McCann, who kept well and so broke with the family tradition.
Chasing just 86 off 40 overs, assuming Elmdon didn’t have some demon bowler up their sleeve the only real question was, could any of us bat? Their Captain-Cum-Opening Bat-Cum-Opening Bowler, Mr Tharby (8 overs, 2 for 24), got turn with his leg breaks and was unlucky when an LBW shout against MVS was refused (turning and missing off stump but only just) but the bottom end was all a bit playable and Ditton cruised home with 8 wickets and over 20 overs to spare. Gilo, rapidly being elevated to God-Like Status in 2nd XI terms, racked up 43 including a couple of very handsome off and on drives and MVS had a confidence boosting knock of 22. Together they put on 74 unbeaten. Played 1, Won 1.
So, how good are we?
Heaven knows and, to an extent, who cares? Isn’t it all about fun? In truth, Elmdon ‘looked’ like us – a couple of decent payers, several ‘old uns’, a few youngsters and they were all nice and friendly - so we feel like we are in the right place but the fact is that Elmdon may be by far the best or the worst team we’ll face all season. We will be tested next week as both MVS and ‘Just Call Me Man of the Match’ Gilo are away and so we’ll certainly find out if anyone else can bat. We’ll also be on a goodwill-peace keeping mission as we travel North to Wilburton whose 1st XI will be ‘entertained’ by our 1st XI at Ditton albeit several leagues above us.