As seems to be a theme I lost the toss, and the mighty House were put into bat. Rain delayed the start and it looked a far cry from the Lords ground staff watching the home team trying to put the covers on! The rain meant that the wicket was 2-paced with some deliveries stopping off the wicket whilst others seemed to skid through. A tricky wicket meant a steady start from Joe and Harps, but too often the ball hit the field and not the gaps. Perhaps borne out of that frustration Joe was out caught. RSR was in at 3 showing intent from ball 1, smashing it over mid off. Ball two was spanked and a pattern started to emerge. However, eventually the wicket took it's toll and Rory was bowled off a shortish delivery that stopping in the wicket.
Next in was Chris who looked completely at ease, playing at a ground he enjoys, and showed a mixture of attack and defence. It was going to take something special to get him out, and that is what happened. Chris middled the ball (to what should have been) through the covers only to be held one-handed, the fielder diving, fully out-stretched. It is a game of small margins and that was one of them. Arthur and Sri followed, all the while Harps accumulating at the other end. But when they were out the man with one of the best names in cricket, Max Dangerfield, strode to the crease at 7 and looked every bit a top order batsman. The scoring rate improved the longer Max and Harps were at the crease, however Harp's vigil came to a premature end with the overs nearly up but not before he hit a well earned 50. That brought Shan to the crease, playing some good shots to find gaps if not the boundaries. Alas, Max could not quite see his score to a not out which brought myself to the crease. However, even with two overs to go neither myself, Shan, or Tim who faced the last over could get the ball away meaning we finished on 144 for 8 off 38 overs.
It was a small total, but it should have, and could have, been defend able. Joe took a few deliveries to hit his straps but ultimately went wicket less in his spell, though there was a drop at square leg off him. Harps was superb as usual. One LBW, should have been two - still unsure why the 2nd one wasn't given as it looked plum. Chris came on 1st change to replace Joe and bowled with pace and hostility that led to 3 wickets, including a double wicket maiden. Sri replaced Harps and continued to keep the scoring down.
By now overs were ticking away, but their score was edging up slowly. I brought myself on to replace Chris and thought I bowled ok. I did bowl a few loose deliveries but I vindicated my decision by having their captain caught by Max at point. Their middle order did not look much but annoyingly stuck around. I kept myself on for a 5th over, knowing by now that it could be make or break, but ultimately a catch that just went over Arthur in the deep meant that our total was within reach for them.
Max, replaced Sri and did all he could to ensure Puddletown were going to have to fight for every run and bowling one of their set batsmen. Shan replaced me, arguably an over later than it should have been, and bowled with good pace, good energy and enthusiasm. Alas neither Max nor Shan could get anymore breakthroughs and the Puddletown late middle order scraped beyond our total. It is a testament to the team effort that it took them until the 32nd over to get there.
Man of the match: Max Dangerfield for an all round excellent senior debut with bat, ball and in the field.
- Piers G J