Camden 160 for 3 wickets v The Philanderers 135 for 9 wickets
A sort of new fixture as our 'traditional' one is against a team which has now morphed into the Gents of Cambridge but it definitely felt like new fixture and a generally enjoyable one bar the result. Some harmony became apparent by an intriguing comment by one of the Camden openers, Steve Robinson, "You can tell when you're playing a posh game of cricket when both teams have a Hugo!" It also transpired that both teams contained a 'Redders', apart from names no similarities were found in either potential doppelgänger.
Babraham is a generally excellent venue- an adequate though ageing pavilion, a large flat well tended playing area and a character pub not too far away. On this occasion the wicket was well worn and would assist bowling of a line and length nature. Given Camden were 28-0 after 3 overs it's fair to say the Philanderers only bowled badly in places, unfortunately one of those places was Babraham.
The beamers, long hops and full tosses continued, to allow Camden to get off to a flyer as a very bottom handed kiwi, 'Gibbo', smashed 9 boundaries as the score galloped along at 10 an over. Gibbo fell to Charlie Pearson for 48 but fellow opener Steve Robinson was able to complete his 50 and then graciously retire. Further innings took the total to the lowest we could have hoped for as the bowlers at last found some direction. John Burnett found rhythm in his second spell, Hugo located the pitch and Heggers and Redders a wicket each.
So how would the Phillies go in response? Steady. Michael Frape hit an excellent cover drive to the boundary, new player Dan Handley worked the ball around and made double figures but Camden were not bowling as generously as us and had a cunningly slow left armer, Martin Baker, who basically invited batsman to hole out- four obliged and Martin took 3 catches; at least we'd see a jug or two or... or... none, so no free beer.
The Phillies big hope was of course our youthful, athletic skipper, Rob Gill who strode out at No. 4 to take the fight to Camden. As I was No.6 I nipped into the changing room for my pads, gloves and bat which only took a few seconds but on my return to view the game it became apparent that Rob's first ball 'swing' had been unsuccessful and the delivery had made a nasty mess of the furniture behind him. I have enquired into more detailed assessments of Rob's shot but reports vary apart from the word s**t.
Thereafter it was always going to be a huge challenge to hit the 2 or 3 boundaries an over required with the large outfield and non-boundary shots not really suiting all the Philanderers mid and lower order physical requirements. Redders 13 and myself 39 managed the highest partnership and George Dean finished 22* as we saved some face. Only Hegarty let the side down with a worse first ball than the skipper, how? He hit it onto his head and then commented - "That sounds hollow!” Next ball, a long hop, was helped into a fielder’s hand and Heggers departed with his final act being trying to pay £1 more for a pint of beer than the barmaid requested...