One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs LPW, Sydenham Park #3, Presidents, 31st January 2015
This wasn’t the Sydenham 3 that we've become so used to this season, not as well grassed, and one that definitely seemed to die somewhat as the game wore on. Fortunately, when Park won the toss, with the benefit of hindsight they misjudged the wicket somewhat and inserted us onto a strip that wasn't going to get any better over the day, a decision that probably didn’t assist their cause.
Lady Diana famously once said "there's three people in this relationship" and I'm sure that if Laughts and Wildys wives haven't actually said it, they must have at least thought it on occasions in the past. Personally I have never seen any so close in a team as these two guys, where they compete against each other constantly but at the same time also want to do it all together on the field. And they are also players made for a game that loves its stats, so their opening partnerships since the start of December won't be thrilling them. Whilst individually they have done well, together off their seven innings, take out a good 78 against Hornby, they’ve averaged less than six in the others (5.83 to be exact Wildy) - the good thing about that fact is that you know that they know it better than you, so look out.
So another bad start, first wicket gone at 6 with Laughts's early departure, the second at 11 with Ski's, and when Wildy went for 20 with the score at 33/3, it all sounded a rather familiar, in fact slightly worse than previous week's game against St Albans. In that game Kev had got us out of trouble with a hundred, surely that couldn't be repeated - wrong! Kev is currently in the form of his life, certainly over the last 2-3 years, so for him it was a case of no panic, just work your game. But for while there with the subsequent early dismissals of newcomer Joey Rogers and the skipper, it looked like he might not get that chance until he found an ally in Flem (the old one). Their 122 partnership for the 5th wicket put us into a strong position by the start of the last ten overs, and whilst we probably felt again a touch short of what we should have got from there, it was only a touch, and final the 214/8 felt like a very competitive score. Kev was still there until almost the last over before he scarified himself for 116 in the search for those last few boundaries, and in doing so took his aggregate in his past three innings to 285.
This really did then start feeling like Groundhog Day when, after Kev had scored another hundred, Jules then screws the opposition over again in his first few overs. His 3/5 off his first 5 overs severely dented any aspirations Park may had to get that score. With Waza Guy picking up the other early wicket, at 20/4, Park was up against it. But Scottie Wilson had other ideas and batted very well striking seven boundaries, mostly through the leg side, in his 50 runs. That said, Flem was also having a good day and he ensured that the middle order and tail never got to settle in with Wilson as he regularly picked up wickets - his 4/23 superbly complimented Jules earlier efforts, and bearing in mind his 47 with the bat, arguably deserved a Man of the Match, be it that he was only pipped by the importance of Kev's innings that had kept the game a contest. Fortunately the circle field that Scott Wilson had in the 25th over was finally relented in the 26th, at which point he graciously struck the ball out to Ralphy at mid long-on who ran in to complete an excellent running catch at low height and in failing light - combined then with Joey Rogers excellent run out of the no. 8 who had got to 23, to again quote our St Albans friend of last week, "game over".
An excellent result with a batting performance that produced a competitive score, an aggressive bowling effort, and some much improved fielding compared to our dismal effort against Saints a week earlier. The only negative out of the match was when Wildy did a Matt Loose and blew up his "good" calf that will see him miss at least the next match. So other than that Saints game, we continue to do what we must to retain that admittedly very slim chance of making the top four, and we cling to the hope that one of the other three contenders has an unlikely horror run over the next three weeks (actually I've just seen that Gold and MP both won, so without doing the numbers that slim chance has probably moved to zero chance).
Man of the Match: Kevin Moore (with honarary mentions to Flem & Jules)
Check out the scorecard from the game.