Shocks and horrors at Great Alne as Zombie flying ants nearly stop game.
"It was like something out of a Wes Craven movie" was not said by anyone but it was a day of shocks and surprises at Great Alne. First shock was losing the toss but being invited to bat. This allowed the "Tim dream team" (again not said by anyone) of Fossie and Jacko to enter the fray. While Paulo was hitting the ball well and to many different parts of the ground (shock horror) Jacko was strangely quiet, only hitting one run in his first 15 deliveries - the boy has obviously been taught well. Fossie duly reached his 50 and then holed out, allowing the strong middle order to stamp their personality on the match. Nicholls, Mellor and Hillman C then proceeded to score 2 runs between them (and Chris got those) before the Panther came to provide support to Jacko, who was nursing an injured hand despite deliveries flying off a length - not the last flying or injured hand, that we would see. Indeed Rich N did manage to hit the ball straight back to the bowler, who deflected the ball onto the umpire's hand and down, before being bowled a few balls later. A hasty retreat and application of the ice pack, meant that the skipper, for it was I who had been umpiring, was brought in to play earlier than expected after Jacko, Panther and the Gardener all quickly departed. 78 without loss in the 11th over had gone to 99 for 7 in the 20th. However, if Jacko's quiet start had whetted the watching public's appetite for attrition, they were about to be rewarded with a bumper feast. Hillman G had joined me and we proceeded to grind our way to 145 in the 37th, despite the Grand Canyon like cracks in the pitch causing the ball to fly off any length, until Lewis gave George out LBW, even though they appealed for caught behind. J Lo then struck some clean boundaries (14 not out) to end the innings at 162 for 8. I was 5 not out and was dropped at least twice. Extras again justified their place with an excellent 52, to top score for the Reggae. After a tea which arrived in stages but was still substantial and varied, we took to the field, thinking that the only terrors were on the surface of the pitch and blissfully unaware of the horrors that lurked underneath. JLo, buoyed by his batting, was excellent, beating the bat many times and conceding only 9 runs in 6 overs. This pressured the batsmen, who managed to self destruct with 3 run outs (Rich, Brad and Tim were the dead eye dicks - the latter 2 not normally called dead eyes) to leave the score at 46 for 4 in the 13th. At the other end Brad the Gardener, bowling a mixture of spin and pace managed to get 2 wickets but did concede 34 off his 7 to release the pressure. Jamie Messett and George then bowled tidily and Lewis finally contributed for our side, when he took a catch behind, to get Jamie his first wicket; they were then 107 for 6 in the 24th. After Chris Hillman declined the opportunity to bowl, Rich came on, with Lewis unwilling to stand up to this spinner - good decision when he nearly took one batsmen's head off. Tim took a good catch to reduce them to 116 for 7 in the 26th. I then bowled a horrible full toss which their top run scorer unfortunately hit to Jacko's injured hand. Then, as the sun faded into the horizon, came the Zombie invasion. Awoken from their slumbers by my cry of anguish - see above - hordes of flying ants emerged from the popping crease and proceeded to engulf the batsman, which made us all laugh, until they turned their anger on us. I was bowling at that end and managed to accidentally eat a few, before a call was made for more drastic culling techniques. Boiling water unexpectedly enraged the hordes even more and I sensibly deferred to Paulo, who had been bothering me all game to get a bowl but was now strangely reluctant. He then proceeded to deliver his spinners? from some 10 yards behind the umpire and actually beat the bat on a number of occasions and did not bowl a wide or no ball - indeed his first over was a maiden! However with Brad then encouraging fielders to kick the ball over the ropes, Great Alne reached their target in the 35th over. Some excellent fielding by Chris, Jamie and George could not prevent a defeat but I hope they enjoyed, what was for the younger 2, their first experience of Sunday adult cricket. It isn't always that incident packed though boys!