Camden (4pts) 122 lost to Bottisham & Lode (20pts) 124-2 by 8 wickets
With Redders away at a funeral, the captaincy was left in the hands of last year’s stand-in Jon Adler for the return fixture at home to Bottisham & Lode. Capable hands, then, if a little taped up – the Big Aussie Unit returning to action just a fortnight after his unfortunate incident with Kelsall. The toss was lost, but no matter – Camden would bat first on a much firmer pitch than last week.
Different captain, same tinkerman tendencies. Robinson, having previously batted at 6, 4, 5, 2, 4 and 7, was back at the top of the order with Sutton. Nobody was expecting fireworks, and seven runs from the first five overs didn’t disappoint. Elderly former Thirds’ captain Sutton Sr, patrolling the boundary with his camera, must have been particularly pleased to see the full Robbo repertoire. In amongst the obdurate defence, there was the usual array of dabs and drives, and even a shot that the younger Sutton described as an “elaborate piranha.” To be fair, the ex- former-ex-all-rounder was right to abort the sweep shot – it had already almost cost him his wicket and his teeth. The fifty came up in the eighteenth over – just the second time this season that Camden had reached the landmark unbeaten – and at drinks the home side could be satisfied that 63 for no loss was a decent, if unspectacular, platform.
Sutton (36) was less satisfied with the state of his achilles, but didn’t hang around long enough to test out the Gordon Greenidge theory. The West Indian opener was famed for batting his best when injured – by contrast, the bearded greengrocer tamely toed one to mid-off. Robinson (23) had departed in the previous over, but, given that the openers’ combined age is 92, perhaps some fresh legs would provide the innings with some impetus. Indeed, the run-rate did increase, but so did the frequency with which those fresh legs walked back to the pavilion. Fox-Teece (6), Batley (6), Bulusu (13), Adler (15) and debutant Ritish Raghavan (7) all offered catching practice, and Camden found themselves in trouble at 113-7. Kelsall and Kashish were both caught and bowled for ducks, and when Karan also fell for a duck – leaving Vish, batting at ten, 5 not out – the home side had collapsed to 122 all out in 36 overs. That’s ten fewer than was managed last week when at least the toss and the pitch could be held as mitigation. From 64-0 to 122 all out. 58-10 in 15.1 overs. Sub par, to say the least.
Hunting early wickets, Adler threw the new ball to Kelsall and Karan. Both bowled with no luck until, with the score having ticked along to 34, Kelsall had an LBW appeal upheld. Yes, Chris Clarke – LBW. And yes, it probably was missing leg. Vish replaced Karan, bowling well for no reward, while Kelsall (1-22) bowled his customary eight over spell before Batley (1-8) came on to bag another LBW. Captain Adler shuffled his pack, Ritish, Kashish and Krishna all getting a bowl, and Vish getting the opportunity to run from deep mid-wicket to deep mid-wicket. Ritish (cap number 158) was unlucky to see Foxy fail to take a sharp one-handed chance behind the stumps, and it was the first time the Bulusu upgrade has been seen in bowling mode. It might not be the last, but the off-spinner did have the dubious honour of conceding the winning runs – a six that brought up the fifty partnership for the third wicket, and consigned Camden to a seventh defeat in eight.
Stand-in skipper Adler, speaking at a post-match Zoom press conference: “Aw look, we didn’t play well, but we’ll take the positives and move on.” Pressed by Look East star Mike Liggins on what those positives might be, the Big Aussie Unit thought for a moment: “Kelsall didn’t drop any catches. And I hit a six!”
Captain Redders will be back for the basement battle next week, at home to winless Wisbech. Along with Foxy and Krishna, Camden will be without Sutton for the must-win game. Two weeks off will come as a relief to the bearded greengrocer’s achilles, and your correspondent will feel similarly about not having to find new ways to describe Camden collapses.
Man of the Match: Will Sutton
Score Card: https://camden.play-cricket.com/website/results/4160665
Will Sutton (June 26, 2021)