With three games to go in the league season and with a six point league at the top of the table, we travelled to local rivals Richmond feeling well prepared for what we anticipated would be a closely fought contest, particularly as Richmond were still mathematically in the title race themselves.
If points could be awarded for warm-up aesthetics, Richmond would have taken the first round. Not that there was much wrong with ours, but there are some teams who just seem to warm up better than others. I often think too good a warm is sign of nerves – what’s been noticeable this season is that we have a group of players who have confidence in their own ability and know what it is they need to do themselves to prepare properly for a game (even if in the case of Tim Armstrong, where it’s three bottles of red and ten pints the day before – but if it ain’t broke…).
I apologise for allocating a whole paragraph to the warm up, but as it turned out, it ended up being a third of the cricket that was played that day…!
After winning the toss, Richmond elected to bat on what seemed to be a typical Old Deer Park wicket i.e. a bit slow and low. JLG (1-13) and Armstrong (2-7) opened the bowling and the first couple of overs were uneventful.
It was then at the start of the third over that wicketkeeper/batsman/coach Josh Knappett approached Tom Elliot to quietly ask (to avoid embarrassing him in front of his teammates) “why are you fielding in a sort of short fly gully, have you got lost?” to which Tom replied “concentrate on your own game champ, I’ll let you know if I need your advice. Skipper and I have got a plan.” And so it was proven as the very next ball, Richmond’s swashbuckling opener sliced the ball straight down Telly’s throat – a perfect plan, well executed!
And so it continued – 10 for 1 became 15 for 3 which became 30 for 5. Armstrong picking up two in his opening spell and the introduction of Pollock (3-21) and Keightley J (4-6) yielding further wickets at very little cost. As the 6th wicket fell at 32 for 6, an often used adage of caution was being banded around the team huddle “we know they’ll be a partnership, so don’t let it slip…” But it turned out not to be, as Keightley and Pollock continued their ruthless assault and skittled Richmond all out for 47!
Aside from the bowlers, special mention should also go to Jamie Wade for a stellar catching performance in the slips.
After a quick turnaround, Keightley (19*) and Twiney (25*) made light work of chasing the total, knocking it off in 11 overs without the loss of a wicket to complete a comprehensive drubbing lasting a mere two and a quarter hours in total!
Needless to say, the unexpected early finish allowed for ample preparation time for the TCC summer ball where after thrashing our local rivals in such a manner, the Sambuca shots tasted even sweeter!
(Author: James Fear)