2s Wilt in the Sun
HCC proudly flies a ‘field of dreams’ flag (rusty metal post), although a penny for the thoughts of those who actually have to bowl at it. After the terminally damp 2021, 2022 threatens to be a summer of woe for bowlers everywhere, as 550+ runs were scored for the second consecutive week at our home ground.
Highgate 2s welcomed Acton to the Gate this Saturday after opening day defeat at North Middlesex, your author playing his 8th successive game in the N8 postcode, yearning for the putrid smells and traffic jams of the North Circular.
As the mercury hit a frankly sweltering 20 degrees, Highgate opted for the short and sweet warm up, our opposition choosing to barely warm up at all. Pre match chat from Bowley consisted of musing whether we should choose to bowl first, a quarter century of harrowing run chases clearly addling his mind. Toss duly lost, and Marons were donned by 11 already weary men.
The first 9 balls went well, and were run free. Max Lewis, allegedly in bed before Highgate time this week, bowling an opening maiden and Luca Holloway charging up the hill too. Indeed a relatively sedate first 4 overs were capped with Luca drawing an edge from the Acton veteran Hunt, smartly held by the aforementioned Bowley at slip. 22-1.
Things can happen all of a sudden at Highgate and so it came to pass. Having used just two bowlers in the first 6 overs, a total of five had been used by the end of the 11th . Gus replaced Luca from the bottom end and lasted two balls before straining his side, Bowley completing that over. Adnan, positively JDS like in his steadfast use of the woolly jumper, also coming into the attack.
The less said about the next 20 overs the better. Adnan and Adarsh bowled with no little endeavour but were met by an onslaught, Reeve Jr blasting 80 off 48 balls, with various tennis courts and cricket pitches hit. For context, your author fielded all but 10 balls of the last 34 overs at long on and long off.
At 233-3 off 30 overs, thoughts turned to the unthinkable. Was 400 on? What’s the most you’ve conceded in an innings dear reader? Of more immediate concern to captain Rag Bag Liaté was finding enough bowlers to complete the 45. Hope came in the unlikely form of Will and Dom, Acton captain Waddell ironically struggling with Bowley’s darts. Both men took 3 wickets and completed creditable figures. 308-9 felt like a comeback. That’s over 100 extras conceded in 3 games, stat fans.
An adequate tea spent watching some non-descript IPL game was ended with Rabagliati and Potter opening the batting. It’s Jayasuriya and Dilshan crossed with Last of the Summer Wine. Potter, still reeling from being 5 off two balls last week, had blood positively gushing from his nose with a run a ball 47, and put on 76 with Rags. When both fell in consecutive overs, it was left to the middle order to salvage the situation.
Bowley, continuing his decade(s?) long battle with J Reeve, came off second best. Dom did his absolute best to entertain us and get the run back on track with a memorable 6-6-6-4-swipe-wicket innings and an enviable season strike rate of 366.7. When Adarsh took Deme to the local BBQ house and Akbar fell to a debated catch on the boundary, things looked pretty bleak.
Our late afternoon laps were lifted however between an excellent partnership between Adarsh and Luca, the former just about keeping us in the contest until the 40th over, but was out for a well made 50.
Luca kept going and despite nearly running out of partners completed his maiden Highgate league 50 with 4 of the best buzzers. You ain’t chasing it down at the Gate. The final partnership did at least ensure we gain 1 point from the contest as we finished 253-9.
She Bu away next week.