With the Gnomes congregating at the Meadow, Skip and Gnomes Skip surveyed the wicket, learnt nothing and tossed up, Skip lost Gnomes put the Pelicans into bat………oh dear.

Opening for The Pelicans there was the ever present Asad and Raheel, as composed as ever the scoring got off to a brisk start with the first seven scoring runs being 4’s. It has to be said though that the opening bowlers were quite useful and quite ‘appealy’, indeed the whole Gnomes team enjoyed a good appeal no matter whether the ball was hitting the wickets or the bat. The bowlers particularly liked the LBW appeal followed by a look of utter incredulity and dis-belief as the finger was not raised on what apparently was a very obvious ‘out’.

With the openers looking comfortable as everybody know the inevitable happens, Raheel succumbed to yet another LBW, this time even he would have given himself out. With just over 30 on the board Alex joined Asad at the wicket.

With a crisp 4 Alex announced his intent to the Gnomes, even with the incessant appealing “nobody puts Alex in the corner’, well almost nobody, another appeal for caught behind and the fickle finger of fate belonging to the Pelicans answer to Dickie Bird was raised. Alex stood his ground and stared intently at both the finger and NVDP waiting for him to accept it was a mistake, surprisingly the announcement never came and off trudged Alex complaining about the ball being in another county when it went past his bat.

Skip sat comfortably in his seat no need to panic, we still should beat last years score of 49 all out.

Yusuf settled himself and faced his first ball, received a stinker which kept very low and hit the middle wicket, Skip started to squirm uncomfortably in his seat as out went Josh.

Wondering which Josh would turn up, the 6, 6 out version or the more composed version Josh took his first runs……. a single. Skip settled back into his chair. There then followed a batting display from Asad and Josh which would have any skipper purring with joy as both batsmen sauntered past 50 and continued onwards.

Asad looking quite in the mood for it took particular umbrage at the incessant chitter chatter and answered in the only style he knows how 4’s and 6’s. Unfortunately, this run came to an end with Asad on 75 a great innings but the team set up nicely as Josh continued this time supported by The Rags, singles, and 4’s continued from both batsmen, until Rags advanced down the wicket to launch the bowler over his head for 6, missed and was stumped.

With Josh closing in on his 100 Toobes went out with an attempt to stay with him and score a few runs, both big asks. Amazingly it happened.

With Toobes leaning on his bat he watched on as Josh reached his 100, a fantastic batting performance, two runs later and with Josh on 102 the fun came to an end and Toobes was joined by our own wizard Nico.

With one over to go NVDP took guard and missed the first ball, this gave him the confidence to go for a ramp shot on the second ball which failed, with general looks of disbelief from all at the Meadow Toobes advised him just to concentrate on hitting the ball which he did, a sumptuous 4. This gave him the confidence to try the ramp shot which once again failed, this then gave him the confidence to once again go for the ramp shot which then failed for the third time. With three failed attempts Nico decided he possibly didn’t have the touch, speed ability, eyesight or indeed bat to succeed at the ramp shot and reverted to his tried and tested batting skills, hit and miss.

With the innings now at an end the Pelicans put up a very competitive 245.

Tea this week was provided this week by Alex and Josh and what a fine buffet of chicken wraps it was, the Pelicans honour of fine teas was not blemished.

Opening the bowling for the Pelicans was the usual Toobes, Bailey combo. Josh as ever hit his stride early but as usual Toobes aimed a number of balls down the leg side and watched as the ball disappeared for 4. Now it must be said the Pelicans are a bit less excitable on appealing but there were a few shouts for LBW which lets be honest were out, but there you go.

Eventually Toobes got his wicket reward a fine catch by Alex who had finally forgiven Nico for the obviously wrong umpiring decision. With his spell of 6 overs at an end the only other high point was another demonstration of Waztastic fielding, ball plops up to Waz at mid-wicket, ball hits Waz’s hands and then his head and then the floor ….genius. Having said that both Waz and yet another Bailey James were coving more ground than a herd of wildebeest on the Serengeti.

Josh too finally got his just rewards after a great bowling spell that saw 6 overs 1 for 15.

With both Josh and Toobes removed from the attack Raheel and Rags came in to slow down the pace but up the accuracy, well up the accuracy from Toobes end. As ever runs dried up and a couple of wickets fell as 11 overs yielded only 60 runs as the Gnomes started falling short of the run rate and having to chase the game, another fine display from the metronome and Raheel

With the game slipping well into the final 20 overs it was time to call in the big guns. A fired up Asad liked the idea of a bit of bowling and up he stepped, 3 overs bowled and 11 runs against but no wickets had made the run rate a rather tricky 10 an over, at the other end Josh came back into the attack and again bowled well, reducing the runs to a dribble but not getting the wickets he deserved.

Finally after 4 overs Asad made the break through and dismissed the number 7 bat for the Gnomes who was on 31 and certainly could hit the ball, Asad’s next over then took care of the highest Gnomes scorer, thier number 3 bat who was on 64. The Gnomes went into draw mode.

Asad’s next over removed yet another batsman leaving only two more.

With Nico now bowling from the Nags end providing high quality thingies the stage was set.

Last over two wickets Asad bowling field in close to try and steal a victory…..unlikely.

Fist Ball… Asad angles it into the batsman, dollies it up to Toobes at first slip….yesssss…….nooooooo Toobes drops it….burk.

Second Ball, angled back into the batsman, he goes back towards his wickets, standing in front of the stumps, hit his pads, massive appeal, umpire head in hands raises his finger.

One wicket needed 4 balls.

Third Ball, defended

Fourth Ball, again angled into batsman, hits his pad in front of the wicket, massive appeal again, umpire waiting for the ground to swallow him up as once again the finger is raised to much Pelican celebrating. Hats off the umpire for his integrity, we have all seen them refused.

What a game, what a victory.

Special shout out to Waz and James who fielded tirelessly all day and stopped more runs than I would care to remember.

Man of the match….
How do you separate Josh 102 and 1 for 39 off 9 overs or Asad 75 and 5 for 21 off 7 overs, I will leave you to decide.