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VRA Zami 2 174/7 - Groen Geel 175/5
Another early meet at Wildshcut only for us to hang around eating toasties and drinking coffee before the short(ish) journey to Groen & Geel. On arrival we were met by some familiar faces including captain Peter Smulders and the somewhat eccentric but cricket loving Bastian Stapel.
Joost Dekkers promptly won the toss although the ICC are still reviewing the credibility of the “why don’t you have a bat” as a legitimate way of deciding who is put in first. As the sun shone and as the rest of the team gathered under the gazebo’s to watch Filip Deelen and Mike George open the innings there was quite some debate as to what a PAR score would be against the often erratic (and often woeful) Groen & Geel attack. The slow, bouncy (yes I know that sounds strange but its true) wicket made for difficult batting conditions and concentration by the batsman was never going to be easy especially when it seemed every other ball was a wide. After a solid start the partnership was broken as Filip smashed a ball high into the sky but sadly for him into the waiting arms of the bowler. Mike George continue to frustrate the bowlers and Toon Hintzen took his time to settle but once in looked comfortable and moved the score on nicely.
Mike George soon departed for 17 patient runs and the baby faced assassin, Rens Mulder, joined Toon at the crease. Rens took it upon himself to move the run rate along and wheras previous batsman (and those to come) struggled to make the most of some wayward bowling on this tricky pitch, he showed excellent feet movement and turned long hops into full tosses and sent the ball to all corners of the G&G ground. A huge six which nearly ended up in the hole of a golf green over long-on and some fine drives for 4 ensured that he acquired a healthy total of 35 runs at a time when VRZ needed it most. Tim Ellerton joined Toon Hintzen at the crease and in an effort to emulate Mr. Mulder’s quick scoring and intelligent batting tried to hit everything out of the ground from ball one! The importance of playing oneself in, no matter what stage the innings is at, was all too evident and despite good bat speed the ball either just missed the stumps or went through to the wicket keeper. You could feel the frustration in the gazebo-pavilion as the waiting batsman looked on as Hintzen and Ellerton failed to maintain a healthy run rate. Eventually both started to score with more freedom and some nice placing of the ball away from fielders by Toon and some big swipes from Ellerton for 6 meant both ended up with respectable scores of 39 & 24 respectively. The innings ended with VRA on 174 from their 35 overs and although below the expected 200+ total we all felt this would be more than enough against a rather weak and in some areas of the game inexperienced G&G attack.
Tea was taken and the less said about that the better. Note to anyone playing G&G this season – bring your own sandwiches next time. VRA took the field and Edzard Koole and Swaroop Bantwal opened the innings. Some tight bowling (bar the odd wide of course – standard for Zami cricket) ensured VRA got off to a relatively solid start albeit the break through came a little later than expected. First change saw Filip Deelen come into the attack and although some balls totally foxed the batsman sadly a few full tosses were treated with the contempt they deserved and were dispatched to the boundary. Suddenly VRA were in a game. Something none of them had probably experienced against G&G – widely known as the weakest team in the Zami 2 League. Even more suddenly the rain came down. And boy did it rain. Being the sporting legends we are the VRA boys stayed out there despite the fact that swimwear would have been more appropriate. Sensibly someone, not sure who, decided enough was enough and we retired to the pavilion with G&G on 120 odd – 3 and looking very comfortable to reach their target within the allocated 35 overs.
Sometimes youthful exuberance can overtake rational thought and this was one of those moments. Rather than call it a draw and retire to the pavilion for some warming beers the VRA boys took the field again and were made to pay. The run rate did not come down. The bowling did not get better and the fielding was scratchy. Before we knew it but G&G were on the brink of an easy win and had it not been for some tight bowling from Rens Mulder then the game would have been more of a beating than it was already. A lesson to us all I feel – given the opportunity then get off and take the draw!
However, credit where credit is due – Groen & Geel rarely win (their words not mine) and they had every right to enjoy this victory. They beat us in every capacity of the game – fielding, batting, bowling and patience. We must learn from this loss against a team with far less talent than ourselves but on the day they were worthy winners. It doesn’tmake the loss any easier to take (against a team where we normally win comfortably) but its not how you lose – its how you come back. Starting this Saturday. Against VCC. Against Marc Notta. Do you need any more inspiration to put it right and get back to winning ways??
I thought not.