It appears Crusaders beleaguered batsmen can't wait for the season to end, as yet another woeful display with the willow condemned them to an eighth defeat of the season. This time there was no heroics from the bowlers to save the day, with Linden Park comfortably passing the 107 target for the loss of 4 wickets and 16.3 spare overs.
On a cold, damp miserable day, Wajih elected to bat first, perhaps thinking that the weather could not become bleaker as the day unravelled. How wrong he was.
The top order were quite literally blown away, by a combination of accurate pace bowling from Morkel (4-8) aided by a very large hint of poor shot selection. The only consolation, aired by Scorer Les, was that we weren't as bad as last week. First to go was skipper Wajih, leading by example with an airy drive to mid-on. He was soon followed by Glenn Timms-Singh (apparently a victim of some scandalous sledging) with an equally lame drive, Nita slapping a short ball to point and finally Chand, dismissed hanging his bat meekly at the first ball he faced and feathering it to the keeper.
An innings of some character was needed to save the sinking ship and for the third consecutive Sunday Old Boy Don was that man. Still smarting from his defeat in the Golden Sprint at the hands of The Claw, he set about repairing the damage in his own steady way. It was far from pretty, but gradually the score mounted and the shame of Locksbottom was passed. Spud joined him and together they added 31, before The Don was again found wanting in the running stakes as he deflected a ball onto the stumps, leaving him short of his ground and out for a valuable 25.
A few lusty blows from Spud took the score past the 100, but it was always going to be inadequate, unless the weather came to our rescue.
Early wickets would be the key to any improbable victory or the persistent drizzle turning into something more threatening, the only alternative way to salvage a result. After two overs Linden Park had posted 23 runs, or to be more precise John Harvey had. On the one hand it is always amusing to see Mike and Moysey flayed around, but on the other it is disappointing when the fielding traps set don't quite work. Prone to slicing over the slips and hitting in the air down the ground, Harvey twice survived with shots in those areas. It was Mike that made the breakthrough, coming back from conceding 14 runs in his opening over, he stuck to his principles of slow mediocrity and got his reward, with a ball that beat Harvey in the flight with Panda White whipping off the bails.
The run rate inevitably slowed, but the incessant rain made bowling and fielding a lottery, with lengthy delays to dry the ball between deliveries. Unable to extract much turn Spud and Jewel were ineffective, though both eventually got wickets. With Timmo carrying a knock, which looked more like varicose veins, he was allocated slipping duties. Obviously a close observer of the game, Glenn had studied the 'tekkers' of the Don and when Morkel offered a sharp chance to his left hand he was perfectly placed. He was still perfectly placed, along with a statuesque Damon, when the umpire signalled four. Apparently the cricket match was interrupting an impromptu game of Simon Says Statues. At the end of the over Glenn's limp was a little more pronounced.
Wajih finally decided he had seen enough and in an effort to speed up the finish of the game brought on Chand. It had the desired effect as the youthful Preston-Bell hit the winning runs.
After a brief beer in the clubhouse we departed for The Beacon, without the usual 'see you next season'. Some of the Langton Green CC team were at The Beacon and they added their opinions of John Harvey to those of several other clubs. It seems he is not like marmite.