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Rain stops play ... again

Up at Edgbaston, the first two days of the third Test were lost to rain (the first time this has happened in England since 1964, apparently), and my latest article on Holding Willey was about what gets talked about when rain stops play (as far as England are concerned, these were Kevin Pietersen’s retirement from international limited-overs cricket and the decision to rest Jimmy Anderson).

This afternoon, I was meant to be playing cricket but it wasn’t to be as our game has been rained off. This is the fifth game we’ve lost to rain this year, and I’m reflecting on my somewhat truncated season so far while following events at the Test via the BBC.

I’ve played just two games, one of which was a heavy victory and the other a heavy defeat.

First, the victory. It was a game that wasn’t meant to happen, and it only got arranged at the last minute after our first four games were lost to the weather. After winning the toss and electing to bat, the opposition played poorly and were all out for just 13 – although subsequent examination of the scorebook showed that Extras had scored 1, making the total 14. That their batsmen hadn’t really been trying can be seen from my own bowling figures – three overs, one maiden, five runs for one wicket. Clearly my off-spin was being treated with undeserved respect, but it won’t do my average any harm. The bowling highlight was our eighty-year-old player, who took a wicket with his first ball, and his second … and finished off the oppo’s innings with the next ball, ending with figures of 0.3-0-0-3.

As we walked off, the talk was about what we should do next – offer a twenty-over knockabout match to get us some match practice, perhaps? The priority, though, was to make sure that this game was sewn up, which happened within five overs as our openers knocked off the target without loss, although a couple of half-chances were offered.

In the ensuing ‘filler’ game (twenty overs a side, everyone apart from the wicket-keeper to bowl two overs, batsmen to retire when they get to 25), I only lasted three balls but when it came to bowling I did get two wickets.

Two weeks later, we could only manage nine men for an away game at a very picturesque venue near Chigwell. We bowled first, and at 38-4 things looked promising but a middle-order partnership put on 150 and effectively put the game beyond our reach. Yours truly somehow managed to get carted for 25 runs off 2 overs, and my frustration was added to when I dropped a rather simple catch – although in my defence it was hardly a game-changing chance by the time it came my way; a long afternoon in the field had evidently taken its toll. Some catching practice is required.

It was evident that we’d been lacking a third seamer (none of our spinners had taken any wickets) and we were somewhat lacking in top-order batsmen as well. Promoted to number four, I had the chance for some time in the middle with orders to try and bat out for the draw.

What happened next was described by the skipper as ‘true Boycott style’ in the match report; I scored just six runs off 55 balls, leaving everything that went into the corridor of uncertainty (that would be most deliveries) and taking a couple of deliveries on the body. Not exactly pretty stuff, but it was what was needed. But then, after seeing off the seamers I got out trying to go after the leg-spinner … who then proceeded to run through the rest of our batting.

Win some, lose some.

If only I could bat like Tino Best.

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