Skipper suffers head wound in savage beating
Camden (6pts) 121 lost to Histon III (20pts) 258-6 by 137 runs
A week of glorious weather came to an abrupt halt in time for Camden’s first outing at fortress Queens’, where Captain Redders – leading a team lacking in regular bowlers – chose to bowl first. The decision was met by cheers from the Histon lads, sheltering from the drizzle, but after the first nine overs yielded just twenty-two runs, it didn’t look such a bad shout. Hugo and Ginto – surely the first instance of Thirds opening bowlers with christian names ending in ‘o’ – bowled tidily against some watchful batting, but it proved to be something of a false dawn. Thirteen came from the tenth over, and the visitors were away. Spells from Adil Khan and Redders had been and gone, and the score had reached 84 in the seventeenth over, when Baker finally made the breakthrough – Redders taking the catch at mid off. There was almost to be a repeat in the wildlife supremo’s following over, but instead of the batsman walking off, it was Redders – groggily, having banged his head on the ground. Would a concussion substitute be needed? Is there such a thing as a like-for-like replacement for Redders? In the event, the skipper just needed some time out. Robinson stepped back up from the ranks to take the reins, but could do little to stem the flow of runs from the dual spin threat of Baker (1-49) and Wallman. Former Camden man Rob Coe brought up a fifty and, at 150-1 in the twenty-sixth over, his latest club looked set for a big score. Bulusu (3-45) provided some light in the gloom, taking a wicket in each of his first three overs, but nothing – not even anything in young Oliver Hodsdon’s Box of Everything – could stop the runs. Khan (1-27) returned to claim a maiden Camden wicket, and there was a needless run out in the final over, but Histon – aided by four dropped catches – had racked up a daunting 258-6.
In the aftermath of Don Bradman’s infamous duck at The Oval in 1948, John Arlott, on TMS, had this to say: “I wonder if you see a ball very clearly in your last Test in England, at a ground where you’ve played out some of the biggest cricket of your life, and when the opposing team have just stood round you and given you three cheers, and the crowd has clapped you all the way to the wicket … I wonder if you really see the ball at all.” At least Bradman hadn’t had to field in the damp for forty of the longest, most demoralising overs imaginable. The Don hadn’t stared futility in the face while he was strapping on his pads. Sometimes, the absence of hope – the acceptance that there is no point – can be liberating, but this was not one of those occasions. Still, there’s always cake.
At least the false dawn came early, with Sutton getting off the mark from the first ball of the innings. Thereafter, despite Batley (45) and Robinson (15) putting on a dogged 52 for the second wicket, it was inevitably all downhill. Redders hit the shot of the day. For the second week running, Extras (19) was second top scorer. Hodsdon (12) and Bulusu (10) reached double figures. Clarke and Baker secured a third batting point. And that was about it. 121 all out in 37.2 overs. It is highly unlikely that a different decision at the toss would have led to a different result, but it would have been a lot quicker had Camden batted first.
It must be noted that Redders – who had been groggy enough to be a bit village with the batting order – was well enough to enjoy post-match refreshments in the Red Bull. The rain that had threatened all day came too late, but those who joined the skipper under the umbrella could take refuge in his files of statistics and the knowledge that the Thirds had seen better days.
Man of the Match: Hugo Batley