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Kilmington Vs Venturers, Sunday April 23rd

Kilmington & Stourton 227-7, Venturers 107

Kilmington play at Stourton, outside Stourhead House. It’s not easy to find. One method to describe it is to use what3words: the pavilion is at lights.replied.hologram and there, rather than a copy of Jean-Luc Melonchon, we found some opponents who beat us rather easily. There were only ten of us: at one stage we had had fourteen, but several withdrew because of work or injury, one emailing a photo of his damaged hand to show that he really was unfit. Kapil had also injured his hand, but played anyway. We were also late starting after one car-load had difficulty finding one another before setting off. The match was set at 35 overs, partly because of that but more because this early in the year it can get dark and cold quite soon.

Gregory, reluctantly captaining, lost the toss and we fielded, which we would have done anyway. Haris kept wicket almost as if he was used to it. The opening pair were very steady and despite good bowling from Ian C, Bill and Ejaz, one of the openers was entirely untroubled and the other was troubled only by his own hairstyle, which unravelled occasionally. It was not until Hashair came on to bowl his offspin that things got more difficult for them: a few plays and misses, a mishit that Gregory jumped for but got nowehere near. The score was close to a hundred by the time Hashair persuaded the hairy opener to play back instead of forward, and bowled him.

The smooth opener carried on, smoothly. Bruce was tried, with the aim of introducing some unpredictablity. This sometimes works, but not today. Hashair, though, repeated the trick with the wrong foot and the new batsman swept crazily at his first ball. The hat-trick ball was a no-ball (Hashair had got away with one that should have been called in the previous over) but harmless anyway. Contrariwise, Bruce was wrongly no-balled for a double bouncer: only a third bounce before the popping crease is actually illegal. Nobody minded. Gregory replaced Hashair and induced a couple of false shots, one of which brought the opener to his hundred, and several very true shots.

After a while the opener retired and was replaced by a left-hander, which meant that whenever there was a single Chris and Ejaz had to sprint between deep.backward.square, which is on the left bank of the Rhine downstream of Mainz, and short.extra.cover, which is in the front garden of 2218 North Lockwood Avenue, Chicago. There were a lot of singles. Kapil and Bill had fruitless bowls at the other end, and Gregory took himself off and tried Chris, who induced an uppish cut from the left-hander, which Hashair caught competently. As Kilmington tried and failed to accelerate, Chris and Ian each picked up one more wicket, and they ended with 227: obviously plenty, but fewer than seemed likely at one time.

Chris and Charlie made a good start with the bat, in fact. Too slow, of course, despite Chris’s violent initial approach, but competent. Ten overs passed before Charlie got out, but Chris followed very soon afterwards and Ejaz, though looking good, did not last long before miscuing to mid-off. Hashair matched Chris’s 22 in what the railways call reverse formation: instead of hacking at first and then settling down, as Chris did, he started off being correct and then hacked about more as he went on. Obviously that couldn’t last indefinitely, but it lasted long enough for him to give the innings some respectability. He was supported by an entertaining innings from Kapil, which included some firm tonks and was ended when Kilmington’s umpire delivered what is likely to remain the season’s least contentious LBW decision. Bill and Haris (briefly) and Ian (at greater length) contributed ducks and the final push to three figures depended on a young loaned Kilmington player, whose 20 was definitely the nearest thing to a properly constructed innings we had. Hashair was not with him for long and although Bruce hung around for a while it was Gregory who mostly held up the other end. He even hit an improbable four himself, his orange-tip pads (anthocharis cardamines) fluttering in surprise, and they had nearly exhausted the overs by the time the loaned player skied to mid-on.

Cricket bat and ball