40/40 game, Beddington won the toss and chose to field. Woodmansterne 162/7, Beddington 131 from 38.5 overs – scorecard
I was accompanied throughout by players standing at square leg. After a brief heat wave during the week the Saturday was blessedly cooler. Still warm, but not sweltering, and with cloud cover and a gusty breeze. There were a few brief showers and at one point I thought “if this keeps getting heavier we might have to go off” mostly because the clouds were so thick it was getting dark, but thankfully we didn’t lose any overs and could play straight through without any breaks.
I thought that choosing to bowl first was the right decision, but the ball didn’t co-operate. For the first few overs the ball didn’t do anything, either in the air or off the pitch. The moment it started to deviate Beddington took their first wicket, and then the second in the next over. Things were looking good for Beddington, as the run rate at that point was kept a hair below 3 per over. Alas, it didn’t last. There was no batting collapse, and the efficient bowling came to an end. A single terribly expensive over took the total run rate up to 4 per over, where it then stayed pretty consistently. Then, within five overs from 21 to 25, three wickets fell, and I wondered if the run rate wouldn’t matter as it wouldn’t last long enough. But the last partnership, consisting of batsmen number 6 and 9, was especially productive. You expect that in that situation number 6 would make most of the runs, with number 9 facing few balls and mostly being careful to avoid run-outs, but they both kept the score ticking along. Coming in to bat just a couple of overs apart, they between them added almost 60 to the score. Beddington would have to bat well to chase down the total of 162.
Beddington’s innings started very well. The opening batsman had started the season in the 2nds and 3rds, although not scoring highly, and was one of the more productive players in his games for Beddington’s T20 side. His batting was decent, but what really impressed me was his running. He was fast, but also read the fielders and called well. None of the runs he called for seemed dangerous or lucky. The only problem was that all the running knackered his opening partner. But an opening partnership of 56 from 16 overs is very respectable and put Beddington on a good course towards victory. Alas, there was a teensy-weensy batting collapse. The first four wickets fell in quick succession with the score only advancing by five runs in seven overs. Beddington’s remaining batsmen could never score fast enough from that point on.
I was pleased with my performance although a couple of the players weren’t. I gave one out LBW even though he had taken guard on leg stump and the ball came off his arse. Somehow he managed to get himself turned round and low enough that his backside prevented him from being bowled at the top of leg stump. Another I decided wasn’t out caught behind despite there being a very loud noise as the ball went past him to the keeper. But the bat wasn’t anywhere near the ball at the time and I saw it clearly come off the batsman’s hip. The keeper reflexively appealed, of course, but was content with my decision. However, one of his colleagues in the field kept going on about the noise we’d all heard, and every time someone got bat on ball would moan about it sounding exactly the same. This went on for a couple of overs and I started to think about asking his captain to make him stop – but before I did so his captain took the initiative and shut him up anyway. The fielder was right in one respect – it did sound rather like bat on ball, and from his position maybe he couldn’t see exactly what happened, but his wicket-keeper agreed with me that the bat had been nowhere near. I can only assume that the batsman has a particularly resonant femur.