There are a number of ways to prepare to host the team that are second in the league and beat you by about 474 runs at their place but you would have to scroll some way down the list of insightful ideas, beyond “wear camouflage and they won’t see where your fielders are” and even lower than “provide the opposition with copious free cream cakes in the hope that rapid onset obesity slows them between the wickets whilst getting DF to put the boundaries out as far as Whepstead, Hartest and Rede.” Before you get to “ Rock up with just ten as that will spook them as well as making the scorers’ job a bit easier”
As it was there was only ever one scorer and so, for reasons purely grammatical, the tactic appeared a little flawed.
Of the ten that did make it to the ground, it seemed that the primary criteria for selection (beyond a pulse, limited evidence of COVID and not planning to attend your granny’s party to celebrate her new hip – disco cancelled out of respect) was some form of visible infirmity : we had wired up fingers , shrunken thumbs, expanding elbows, a new discovered, though somewhat disputed back back and evidence of Olympic standard ADHD in the effervescent shape of Tom Fenner.
Pre match/innings preparations took a poignant turn as those that were unable to play due to the Corona virus were toasted by team members with bottles of the aptly named fizzy juice.
Captain Boreham was the voice of experience and declared that more than two bottles would be profligate and may even hamper performance. Fenner looked more than a tad downcast at this point but consoled himself in the knowledge that he still had his stash of Monster to “keep things buzzy”.
On the pitch things were quite buzzy too : Hoover had a new bat which everyone admired but not quite as much as they did the one handed catch from the keeper that showed it had edges as well as a middle. This wasn’t until Hoover had shown great maturity in not falling for the trap of holing out to deep square from the pre planned bouncer tactic.
Fisher (26?) continued to be the base of Brockley’s recent solid starts with McCaffrey (74) continuing his great form of recent weeks. He will definitely be missed as he devotes the next four Saturdays to ladies sport in the town.
Huffer (34) has also been in good form ever since he has been able to hold the bat with more than one hand and Brockley sailed past the likely ignominy of a sub 100 dismissal.
After Huffer departed, Paul Webb came to the crease (he is the one that doesn’t bowl and doesn’t complain about his back – or other random stuff) and he too seemed quite relaxed about the team’s progress.
At somewhere near 150 and with seven overs to go, McCaffrey was run out by what Priti Patel would surely have described as eleventeen yards. It was not entirely clear how this had occurred although McCaffrey seemed confident he wasn’t to blame.
This brought Fenner dancing to the crease and seven overs later he had amassed 39 of the most caffeine soaked runs in village cricket and Brockley had posted a most unlikely 200 without even needing all ten players.
in reply, Coggeshall started steadily, getting past 30 before the edges of Hoover’s fingers proved as wicket bearing as the edges of his bat but this time it was to his benefit as the dangerous Lesiak was run out at the non striker’s end.
Hoover and Sykes (1-21) kept Brockley in the game though after 24 overs Coggeshall were still in a strong position on 83-2.
At this point Boreham unleashed his hitherto hidden 10th man in the easily hidden form of Ricky Meekings. First he dived full length to take an amazing catch that even his brother would have been proud of and then bowled a spell that would have yielded more wickets than a Jimmy Anderson career if only the chances hadn’t gone to all the old blokes.
Meanwhile at the other end, performing the kind of miracle medical recovery that normally is reserved for a man that has been buried under the rubble of a collapsed building for twenty eight days and is pulled out suffering from nothing more that a lack of knowledge that Caffers is properly in the runs, Rob Webb fought his way to the crease in the manner of a man tangled up in a large plastic bag before mesmerising the Coggeshall batsman and snaffling up 6 wickets for just 30.
His effort was underpinned by selecting the right fielders to catch his chances including the flying Meekings and Fisher who caught one that seemed to descend from Elon Musk’s Starship complete with background noise.
Oddly, Rob Webb he had a lot less to say about change bowlers coming on and sweeping up the wickets than normal.
Coggeshall, for their part, kept in the game until the very end with some competitive cricket but the fall of wickets and rising rate defeated them as the dangerous Robinson was last man to fall with 170 on the board.
Whilst the match had its waspy moments, it was played in a good competitive manner and it was super to see the whole Coggeshall team stop for a beer afterwards (sorry we had run out of Monster but hopefully 4 beers for £10 was some compensation)
Despite this blip Coggeshall will remain strong contenders for promotion given their all round skills and capability – good luck to them in the remaining four matches.
Meanwhile Brockley head into their last four games with their first back to back win of the season: disaster surely awaits.