28th July 2018 v Holkham by John Dunnington-Jefferson

Following weeks of dry weather, the heavens opened biblically in East Anglia on the evening before the game with the tropical storms ensuring that the wicket retained quite a fair bit of ‘juice’ on top come the start which was sure to dry out over the course of the day as the sun returned. It was without doubt, therefore, a good toss to win which the Ramblers duly did and with the opposition subsequently inserted.

Following a history of largely high scoring encounters, the last few editions of the fixture have seem batsmen struggle badly- with a variety of excuses offered (some that stand up to more scrutiny than others). This time round the cause of the less than impressive scoring and run rate was a an extremely proficient and tight Rambler bowling performance- giving Holkahm very few ‘4 balls’ and letting the erratic nature of the 1st innings wicket do it’s work.

The evergreen Charlie Erith was, as usual, utterly miserly with the ball and eventually the pressure he supplied translated into a couple of wickets in his 2nd spell. The swing bowling of Alex Illingworth and Harry Boyle- being carried out manfully in to an extremely stiff breeze- did the early damage in terms of wickets before the spin twins were deployed in tandem. Rob Innes’ non-spinning but ever awkward ‘darts’ and some fine spin bowling from young Ed Rawlinson completely put the brakes on Holkham- whose attempts to keep wickets in hand undermined their run rate to such an extent that comparisons to a recent and very perplexing MS Dhoni innings at Lords were being made. Charlie Matheson also recreated some of his old magic with the seam up but without due reward in the wicket column.

Holkham wickets fell regularly enough to ensure the snail like scoring rate and at the changeover the Ramblers had a full 50 overs to chase down 142. However, recent history related that they would not make such a seemingly simple task look easy and sure enough we were in early trouble at 37-4. Harry Boyle and John D-J managed to steady the ship, putting on 58  for the 5th wicket but both gave their wickets away on the stroke of tea leaving the last 4 wickets responsible to knocking off the 45 runs still remaining.

Thankfully there was a particularly strong tail in place and Innes and Illingworth calmed any nerves with an authoritative and swift partnership that guided the Ramblers home with some 20 overs to spare- sensibly and popularly (albeit not so much with other halves) ensuring some extra time at the pub with the ever gracious Opposition afterwards.