Rumours were rife at our Friday night training session that Barnes were full of quality and were likely later that weekend to dish out a 4th consecutive victory over our B team since we first played them as under 11s. Some parents were advised not to attend as the spectacle was expected to be brutal.
We lost the toss and were put into bat – a surprising decision for a team of supposed strength and an early indication that rumours are not always to be believed.
This rollercoaster ride of a game took a turn for the worse when some superb bowling by Barnes removed both our openers without Jez on scoring duty having to make his first entry of the season in the scorebook. We were in trouble.
George and James withstood the onslaught from the Barnes quicks and soon settled into a nice rhythm. George was dismissed in unfortunate circumstances for 18 by a full toss that flicked off his pads and into the stumps. This brought Fred and James together who continued the fight back. James was beginning to pile on the runs and the 40 run retirement rule loomed into view for the first time in his cricketing career. A proud dad knew what was coming next as James departed 40 not out only to be replaced by his identical twin brother.
Barnes had that Groundhog Day feeling as Ben cracked a 4 off his second ball. The Barnes captain queried whether it was within the rules to allow a retired batsman to immediately resume his innings till I pointed out his understandable error. Ben and Fred were both dismissed once well into double figures. Barnes brought back their strongest bowlers for another over each and worked their way through our batters but helpful runs were added by the tail. We closed on 151 for 8 with Ollie G taking a glancing blow to the helmet off the final ball. No damage done thanks to his top quality helmet – the coach’s winter first aid training was at the ready but wasn’t necessary. Ollie looked me in the eye and said “Didn’t feel a thing – just gutted we didn’t pinch a leg bye”. His parents reported that he was absolutely fine later that evening and that Arsenal had been in touch who are apparently on the lookout for someone as good with their head as Ollie.
A good total to defend but we would need to be sharp in the field….and we were. Our captain had his work cut out as for virtually the whole innings the Barnes batsman were a left/right pairing meaning regular field readjustment. Our wide count was high and we will need to give away fewer extras if we are to repeat last season’s title winning Mid-Surrey success.
Wickets were hard to come by but scoreboard pressure is a remarkable thing and we secured two sharp run outs credited to Fred and Ben. With 3 overs to go 9 runs an over would have won Barnes the game – and by rights this should have been possible. The Barnes parents were getting carried away by the excitement and were shouting desperately from the boundary various statistics that their players were already well aware of. The Richmond parents quietly let Leo, Ben and Matt bowl the final 3 overs beautifully without conceding a boundary and the game was won for Richmond by 9 runs….phew!! Nathan was presented with our 2016 trophy for a week’s safekeeping for excellent work in the field – always walking in and in the ready position as the batsmen played their shots.
All eleven Richmond players batted; every Richmond bowler bowled at least 2 overs and we won a tight game. Well played lads!