45/45 game. Trinity Mid-Whits won the toss and chose to bat. Trinity Mid-Whits 156/9, Beddington 159/3 from 34.4 overs – scorecard
Trinity Mid-Whits have a lovely ground in Sanderstead, on the edge of the urban sprawl, bounded by trees on three sides. The fourth side, with the pavilion and car parking, is backed by residential cul-de-sacs and there are no major roads nearby, so little traffic noise and plenty of bird song. It was a warm, humid, but breezy day with scattered cloud. Mid-Whits’ two fields share a boundary for a short distance, and the second field, on which we were playing, has a mixture of both long and short boundaries. There is also a thoroughly knackered astroturf pitch. The player who took a diving catch on that was a braver man than I, I’d have happily stood and watched the ball whizz by! I’m sure the blood stains will wash out of his whites. There had been plenty of rain the day before but the uncovered pitch was in good condition and barely broke up at the bowler’s landing spots all day. The field was damp, especially in the eastern corner, and so quite slow. I expected it to get faster as it dried off in the sun but it didn’t change much. I had an umpiring colleague throughout.
Mid-Whits got off to a reasonable start. They lost a man in the first over, but averaged about 3 runs per over at the start. But then they slowed down. From 58/1 at the end of the 20th over they went to 69/2 from 25 – at only 2-ish per over – and kept at that rate. Things were somewhat rescued by their 7th batsman who came in and really stepped on the accelerator. He was their highest scorer with 46 until he was out with 3 overs remaining. That slow down in the middle of the innings was largely down to the bowling of one man, who went for an average of just 1.89 from his 9 overs. He didn’t take any wickets, but in limited overs cricket it’s that economy that matters the most. Another went for only 2.67 an over from his allotment and also took four wickets.
In Beddington’s innings, Mid-Whits’ most economical bowler went for 3.44 an over, and the innings as a whole consisted of twenty-two 4s, three 6s, and the odd run here and there. Mid-Whits by comparison had thirteen 4s and two 6s, lots of singles, and some 2s and 3s, so it’s no wonder Beddington reached their target with plenty of overs to spare. This would normally be a sign that the field has dried out beautifully and sped up, and that choosing to bat first was a mistake. That was not the case in this match. Beddington’s batsmen simply hit the ball harder so it spent more time in the air and didn’t get slowed down. When they did hit it along the ground I don’t think it behaved particularly differently from in the first innings. There were plenty of dropped catches from both sides throughout the game, but Beddington benefited more from them.
I was pleased with my performance. I turned down plenty of LBW appeals and gave one. Some of the appeals I turned down were most vociferous, but there was no serious grumbling. I also gave a Mid-Whits player out stumped. He was cross with me, but he was a mile out of his ground. That’s not to say that I was error-free. I got at least one, and maybe another, call for byes wrong – the batsman had indeed got his bat on it. The fielders corrected me which I’m fine with. It made no difference to the result of course, but those wicket-keepers do like to have their stats correct! Finally, I forgot to take anything with me for the drinks breaks. The regulations for this season, like last year, are that players and officials have to provide their own.