Our original hosts having pulled out, David Hughes expertly found a pleasant replacement in the bucolic surroundings of Frieth, Bucks. Malcolm won the toss, and was reluctantly persuaded to bat first. This looked a dicey decision when openers Atcherley-Symes and Keyes departed with the score still in single figures, but the skipper and his bestie Martin shored up the innings with a partnership of 64, before Cox snr played for imaginary turn and was bowled. Malcolm, who is finally showing some form just in time for the season to end, biffed and bashed to good effect until he nicked one to the keeper, and seeing the umpires finger about to rise, decided to walk for a robust 48.
This engendered the perennial BPCC middle-order collapse (Will Cox’s first-baller a particular highlight) until the lower order were permitted to feast on some undemanding fodder to pad their season stats. Spearman snr (12), Gokani (20*), Angol (4) and Spearman jnr (13*, which is more than twelve) coaxed the total to a seemingly insufficient 137-9.
Tea was supplemented by the remains of a wedding feat in the next field. Lee disappeared with a couple of bridesmaids and returned with hog-roast in a bap. The bridesmaids are still missing.
Gokani and Will Cox opened the bowling, and by the ten over mark had reduced Frieth to 29 for 6. Three for Will, two for Raj, and one spectacularly misguided attempt to sneak a quick single to a Jonty Rhodes-a-like short third man. When James Talbot won an LBW to leave the hosts reeling at 47-7, it looked all over bar the shouting of Ooh ‘Ello.
But nothing is ever quite so simple in BPCC-land. A couple of canny performers were hiding in the Frieth lower-middle order, and they nudged and nurdled the score upwards until it hit 90, with only 48 runs required from 16 overs. In either inspiration or desperation Malcolm called for his secret weapon, but Matt had pulled out so we had to try Stan instead. The ball was launched in the air towards deep midwicket, and expectant Blenheim faces turned toward their skipper nestling somewhere beneath it.
Memories of his earlier fielding in that position – when an attempted throw from the boundary had risen to remarkable heights but somehow landed no nearer the wicket than the place from where it was despatched – were quickly forgotten, and the skipper and bowler were both soon found congratulating themselves on their skill, with equal justification.
Moments later, we clapped their dangerous biffer on his fifty, and next ball he was bowled by Jake Spearman for 49. Lee then stumped a tiny person and an unlikely 42 run victory was in the books. Many thanks to Frieth for hosting us at short notice.