This is the last one of these that I will be writing, so please excuse me if it gets a bit melancholy and/or self-absorbed.
I almost missed my last game for Manny Road, on account of not reading the email stating that it was an early start. (Note to future captains: an early start MUST BE EMPHASISED in some way, not just stated.) Fortunately Charles waited for me and Stanton St John isn't very far away. It was also fortunate that the opposition were about as organised as we were.
Martin won the toss and chose to bat in a 40 over, 10 per bowler game. He decided to open the innings with Watto, and apparently did his job even though he only scored 3 runs from 25 balls. Being captain, he obviously is able to decide what his job actually is, but it appeared to be collecting dot balls. The early going was slow, some tight bowling making it difficult for Watto to score. Martin walked when they appealed for leg before, but Deb was even quicker to raise the finger. Chalky lasted for an over, but only because he was at the non-striker's end. He did face what appeared to be a pretty good ball. Sam and Watto decided that what was required was more of an attacking attitude and set about resurrecting the innings. They took the run rate from less than three to over four and a half, racing each other to 50. Watto got there first, then had a bit of a lull while Sam reached the milestone. Both stepped up another gear after reaching the half century. Watto picked the right fielder on the leg side boundary to hit one to, Sam didn't. Mike carried on, albeit with a more varied selection of shots than Sam. He and Watto added 49 in 6 overs before Watto hit a return catch and fell 3 runs short of a century. I had less than two overs to bat, despite being padded up for 30 overs. 16 of the last two overs saw us finish on 4 for 211.
After a very large tea - which Chalky couldn't quite manage to finish - we took to the field. I was permitted to don the pads and gloves for one last display of the keeping art. Stanton and Deb opened the bowling, Deb's tidiness at one end being undone by the waywardness at the other. The oppo didn't change their very successful, Jack Cox-winning, batting philosophy, which is to pretty much hit anything. They had 30 after 4 overs, and reached 50 in Pricey's first over, the 9th of the innings. We got Watto on as soon as Deb showed signs of tiring. The oppo's umpire and batsmen saved us the effort of trying to fire Watto up. The first wicket fell to Pricey, Stanton taking a good catch at long on. An over later and it was two down, Watto having one spooned up to Sam, and we were back in it. Tidy bowling slowed the scoring to a crawl before two more wickets in two overs put us on top. Pricey produced an unplayable inswinger to knock one over, then Watto heeded my advice to clean one up with a yorker. Pricey bowled 10 straight, while Watto was removed after going for 10 from one over. Sam showed that pace isn't everything, accuracy also having a place in the modern game. Jules got another important wicket, getting the Blue (a woman mind you) out. Geoff finished things up at the other end, getting 3 wickets to end things in the darkness. Pricey took two slips catches - he does love his cricket, doesn't he! Calm down, lad!
Eight wins in a row to finish the year with a record of 12-4. One last beer session at the KA, including the recovery of the photos we forgot about last week.