Last week, the valiant JLR 11 (plus cheerleaders) faced Higgs & Sons at the most British of summer sports; cricket!
The sun shone and as usual, the beautiful backdrop of Hagley Hall provided us with an excellent pitch to commence our annual challenge. The team was joined on the pitch by a few hundred-thousand hungry red ants who made the most of the opportunity by feeding vigorously on the men in white – especially the poor umpires who held their positions bravely!
Winning the toss and opting to field first, we knew from previous games that Higgs have a couple of big-hitters as well as some experienced bowlers, so we had to make a good start.
Matt Heath opened the bowling with Connor Woakes at the other end and after the first four overs we took the first wicket for 25 runs. For this 20-over game, the run-rate was starting to look expensive.
Excellent bowling efforts by Ed, Grant, Lee, Jonathan, Tom, Mark and Richard led to a further 8 wickets falling but at the expense of too many runs. In support of the bowling, we watched some epic exhibition fielding, catching and the occasional refusal (known internally as ‘no way am I catching that ball’!)
Richard's first ball took one of Higgs' core batsman completely by surprise, taking his middle stump clean out of the ground. However, Richard's next few balls were very Very VERY wide of the mark. He's promised to work on his consistency for the next outing, but a great performance nonetheless.
With Higgs & Sons ending on 161, the target was set for the JLR team. Enter Ed and Mark to open our batting effort. Our hopes were high but unfortunately Ed was caught short on 3. Mark continued through the innings and finally retired on 25. Dave (retiring on 25) and Sam Booker (out on 6), also joined the fray and our score steadily built, but we were still off the pace, Higgs’ bowling and fielding was tight and the target of 161 seemed a long way off.
Enter Dan and BIG Tom, who decided to throw caution to the wind and really go for it! With canny shot selection at first, Tom then unleashed the power shots - Bang! his first six cleared the rope, then shortly after two more followed, the last one clearing the bar and social club (missing the beer pumps, thank goodness). This looked to be a winning partnership until Dan was bowled in short order. Tom had to retire as he had reached his 25, but if not for this rule, he might still be there now!
Matt and Connor then batted for the last 4 overs of the game adding 12 to our total but alas, it was not quite enough. Higgs won by 13 runs.
A really close match and so much fun for all those participating and watching. The team is already in intensive training for the rematch (!)