The sight of 11 Buccaneers taking the field against Mote CC represented one of the most hastily arranged side in our illustrious history. Such haste was required as a mere six days before the fixture was due to take place assigned manager, Laughing Vic, contacted our Central Committee to say he was no longer running the game. Queue frantic emails, the majority from a beach in Portugal and thankfully the Buccaneers’ spirit was found in spades. 11 confirmed with your writer taking on the duties as Manager and Captain, despite much more able Buccs in the ranks!
So we arrived at the Mote, or at least some of us did. With the first ball due to be bowled just six of the side had managed to assemble at the ground. It must have been the horribly early 2pm start… As the skipper headed out for the ‘toss’ he was somewhat relieved to asked what he wanted to do. With the Milnes in transit and with the opposition skipper deeply concerned by our, or should I say Blackheath’s strength, we were invited to bat first.
Following their wonderful bowling display at the Hurlingham Club, skipper Berry asked the Leefe brothers to see how they went with bats in hand and so we were off. As the rest of the Buccs filtered in and the bar was (finally) opened, we settled in for what we hoped would be run-filled 40 overs.
Mote’s opening pair were contrast personified; one bowling with little pace or accuracy and the other producing some truly unplayable stuff. With some skill and a little luck the Brothers got us off to a solid start until the younger of the Leefes was nipped out by the aforementioned better opener.
By this time the Milne wagon had rolled in carrying three players and three Etonians following young Caspar’s birthday party the evening prior. I for one am a little nervous about the future of British politics, as the three reluctant supporters could be seen drinking lukewarm Guinness from a can in 28 degree heat… How one Mr Rees-Mogg would react had he seen such a scene is barely worth thinking about.
Back to the cricket and skipper Berry joined S.Leefe at the crease and they both continued to be troubled from the one end and picking up boundaries at the other. What followed was a real battle between bat and ball. Every time the Buccs seemed to be dominating the bowling a wicket would fall. Berry and Hobson both contributed score in the 30s, Milne Senior too played a good hand. The best knock of our innings however, went to Richard Hobbs. Following a hat trick on the Friday night, Hobbs displayed his all round talents with an excellent knock. He was, unfortunately, deceived into thinking that he had hit his first fifty since a 15 year old Hobbs struck 53* against Sandy CC in the North Bedfordshire Under 16 league. A scoring error led the team to applaud Hobbs as he reached 43. With just a few overs left and with the red faced Buccs unwilling to own up to our mistake we just hoped that Hobbs would manage to find the remaining seven runs. Alas, a clearly hungover Caspar Milne stumbled to the wicket and proceeded to play down the line of the second or third ball he was seeing, leaving Hobbs stranded on 47.
Hobbs’ hitting and an overall team effort ensured that the Buccs would put down a decent total; 206. The outfield was, however, very quick and the oppo had included their overseas player to ensure balance this year, cheers Vic! Tea was taken, washed down with more than a few beers and then we took to the field to defend our total.
The Buccs set about their task with what we hoped was a strong bowling attack. Casper Milne and Richard Elston opened up and did so with gusto. The pitch was, however, playing very true and the ball was racing to the fence once past the outfield. With Paul Hobson brought into the attack the Buccs soon made some breakthroughs and we were thinking about how we would be celebrating another fine victory.
As our bowling tired somewhat and their pro was joined by the blacksmith’s son we soon began to worry a little that our total may be a little shy of par. Berry turned to Georgie Leefe to try her hand at their illustrious pair. La Leefe bowled with a control not seen in any other bowler throughout the day and the skipper was once again looking towards the bar. With drinks taken and Mote behind the eight ball a rather loud phone call would change the complexion of the game.
The blacksmith’s son took great pride in announcing that he would need a taxi to arrive within the next 30 minutes for he had to be home by 7pm. A quick glance towards the ankle of said batsmen didn’t quite show whether or not an electronic tag was the reason behind his rigid departure time. Something was up and the batsmen turned to his mongoose for his final minutes. He was able to plundered a few sixes off the unfortunate Georgie, who bowled much better than her figures suggested.
Our jumpsuit batsman turned the tide with his hitting before he ‘retired curfew’ and the overseas, together with the late middle order, saw the Mote home with four overs to spare. Berry was able to rotate his bowlers with the majority getting an over or two. A few more runs might have the made the difference but the Buccs just didn’t have enough in the bowling department to take us to victory. A special mention must go to our President Simon Woolfries who bowled 4 overs of delightful off spin but without the rewards he deserved!
The skipper’s last action was leave in hurry to catch a train, failing to get a snap of the scorebook in the process, and ensuring that this match report has been filed very late. Thanks to all of the Buccs who turned out to play at such short notice, in particular the Leefe triplets who provide a great variety for any skipper. A loss, but not the thumping it could have when with a week to go we had a grand total of zero players! Hopefully next year we will be little more prepared for what is surely one the prettiest grounds in the South of England.
Buccaneers total – 206 for 8
P Hobson 7-1-31-1
Mote CC total 210 for 6