40/40 game. Plastics won the toss and batted first. Plastics 166 ao. Exiles 159 ao.
This is another ground that is in a public park, and shares the club house with the boating club that inhabits the nearby lake, which is separated from the cricket field by their boat yard. There’s a slight slope from one side of the wicket to the other down towards the lake. At one end there is a large tree which overhangs the field at well below head height. I asked if there was a local rule to deal with it, but there isn’t – so as per the standard Laws, the tree is entirely outside the boundary, including the overhanging bit, so you get four runs if the ball hits the ground and then either hits the tree or rolls over the boundary under the tree, and six runs if you hit the tree before the ground. Likewise if a fielder throws the ball and it hits any part of the tree that’s four overthrows.
When I arrived for the pre-match inspection there was a group sitting around – not on the square, which was roped off – having just finished a casual knock-about. The groundsman-cum-scorer was already there and between us we decided that of the two wickets that were ready to use we should use the one furthest from the lake, mostly on the grounds that we’d lose fewer balls. That it was marginally less green, being slightly higher and hence better drained, was a bonus. Being a public park there was unfortunately quite a bit of litter on the outfield, and I gathered up the most egregious of it, including some drinks cans that I’d not have wanted to slide over if I were a heroic fielder.
Again I shared the umpiring responsibilities with player-umpires throughout the day, although this time I was only doing one end.
I did better at signalling byes this time, but made up for it with a different howler. When a ball rolled under the tree I signalled for four runs even though it was miles from the boundary. The chasing fielder, the scorers, and the gaggle of waiting batsmen on the boundary all yelled at me so I swiftly corrected myself. Pedometer data shows that for the first half of the match I was moving a consistent amount, and consistently less for the second half, which is an improvement from the slow decrease over time that I’ve had before. For now, let’s assume that I had to move less in the second innings because of differences in the way the teams played. It definitely wasn’t due to a surfeit of cake at tea.