As more of a cricket watcher than player these days, Friday Night T20 games really do appeal. Unfortunately with my partner working evenings and two children who, despite my encouraging/forcing them to watch the 2005 Ashes series DVD box set in its entirity every half term (might be a lie) and placing lifesize cut-outs of Nasser Hussain and Devon Malcolm in their bedrooms (might also be a lie), have very little interest in cricket, my opportunities to attend such games has been… slim.
Imagine therefore my unbridled joy when, last Friday, both said children approached me together asking if we could go to the cricket.
‘Of course’ I said, stunned, searching in vain for reasons for the change of heart (it was the prospect of a purple fruit shoot and a twix).
So, Lowerhouse at home. a strong side sitting at the time in 3rd place in the league, bolstered this year with the return of a couple of very strong players. We’d be up against it in this one.
On arrival, spaces on the car park were few and far between. A good sign. Still, plenty of room on the balcony, so we took our spots with the best view on the ground.
Brother Richard stopped playing Whigfield and Haddaway for long enough to inform us that we’d won the toss and would bat first. Great News.
Matt Oddie opened with Allan Armer, the former playing very much a supporting role, picking singles happy to give the strike to Armer, who got us off to a flyer.
Matt fell in the 6th over, but we were already past 50, Armer hitting 6 sixes on his way to a quick-fire 53. Ashen came in to join him and we continued to press.
It was going to take something special to stop Armer, and it came for Lowerhouse right on cue. Another decent delivery launched towards the bottom nets looked as though it would be another six. The long on fielder took the catch jumping backwards over the rope, but had the foresight to throw the ball back into play before landing and followed up to take the catch himself, having stepped back onto the playing surface. Top work!
Having retired from T20, Paul Houldsworth batted at 4. With his arrival having quickly followed Ashen’s, and the introduction of the Lowerhouse pro Erasmus, the run rate understandably slowed, but the pair batted through, Houldsworth falling to the last ball of the 20th over for 32, with Ash 49* at the other end.
GHCC close on 144-3, a competitive score.
Lowerhouse opened with former Euxton overseas amateur Haasbroek, and Ben Heap, who scored 175 against us in last year’s league game. They got off to a decent if unspectacular start, with Haasbroek in particular putting away every chance granted to him.
Heap was out, caught by Oddie off Stuart Maher, but this brought professional Erasmus to the crease and he, and in particular Haasbroek, took the game too us and proved too strong. Haasbroek finished 82* with 12 fours and one six, and Lowerhouse chased down the total in relative comfort.
After the game vocalist Joel Brown entertained the crowd. I’d personally had to take the children home before he started, but by all accounts he was excellent.
We were beaten by a very strong side, with a number of positives to take forward, particularly from a batting perspective. The biggest personal positive was that the kids enjoyed it, meaning I may get to return next Friday when we are again at home against Nelson.