Baston were on the road in the league for the first time in 2015 with a trip to Grantham. On arrival the players looked at Grantham’s pitch, one of the best in the league, covered from the recent rain, and nicely enclosed from the cold temperatures and high winds. After a good look, they drove past towards the pitch they would be playing on; hanging off the side of a hill, with a sodden strip in the middle, overlooking the town of Grantham.
View from the Hill
John Lamin - "landfill the whole of Grantham"
As is quite typical for an early season game, the team was looking pretty ragged. There was a debut handed to local vicar Neil Knox, and a second debut handed to Dave Conlon who had been at Baston many years before. AGF had to be called in to help out, and Big Dave was emergency cover for late drop out Liam.
As if things weren’t bad enough, Spalding were playing on the other pitch, and there was an unwelcome visitor in the Baston changing room as Jim Clarke came in to ask everyone how they were and talk us through the Spalding CC spring newsletter. There was finally some good news as Adam won the toss and elected to field. Before leaving the changing room, Neil insisted on a prayer.
The early exchanges were timid, with Grantham opener Langsford quick to biff any guff away to the boundary; an excitable AGF nearly cut one boundary off, before disappearing over the hill, and presumably into the town centre.
AGF caught a lift back to the game, and was back around 8 overs later
The skipper was bowling well and made the breakthrough in the seventh over as an edge was taken magnificently in the slips by Don Long. Even with his poorly groin and limited mobility, Don’s catch was up there with Lloydie’s at Blankney as he took a stunning one hander an inch above the ground.
The great Don Long
As if being a great slipper wasn’t enough, Don was soon swinging the ball like a banana, and took the wickets of Langsford (30) and Robinson in a fine spell of 12-2-23-2. His spell was somewhat tarnished by one of the worst drops seen in a long time; 6 year old batsman Fell mistiming a big drive that went straight up, Don was soon underneath it (shouting “David’s!” – whoever that is) but miraculously shelled it. First to console him was Morris who reckoned it was a toughie.
With a late show surely coming from the slow scoring Grantham middle order, superstar Lamin was withdrawn as Hilless threw the ball to club photographer and copyright slag Biggsy who surprised everyone with 5 overs of steady lines, going for just 13 runs.
Lamin soon returned in the place of Don Long and had a wicket with his first ball, as keeper-batsman Hudson was alert enough to deflect a thick edge off his helmet grill and into his tumbling midriff. Lamin could have had another if Morris hadn’t dived out of the way of a loose drive at mid-off.
There were further wickets for Hilless and Lamin, as Baston tightened their grip on the game, and by the time RAF pilot (and good friend of Towns) Mark Donnellan came to the crease it was too late to add much more to the score, as he ran out 3 of his teammates. It could have been four and full bowling points had AGF managed to not throw the ball directly at the 85 year old number 11 batsman coming back for a third. Grantham 4ths finished on 118-9.
Rev Neil was good in the field and specialised in cups of tea and cake
With the sun trying to come out, Morris and jibber Malton went out to begin the chase. All the rest of the boys huddled together for warmth.
As he was attending a dinner dance later that evening, ‘Not So Big’ Dave had been promised by Adam that he could open. Adam had gone back on his word and offered Dave to go at number 3, but Dave wasn’t happy and went home in a huff.
Ant and Joe knocked the ball around, before Morris (3) was given a rather harsh LBW decision by the umpire. It wasn’t long before Joe was trapesing back to the boundary, after a well put together 16. Joe was undone by a devilish straight one, which went through the gate and bowled him.
The pitch was doing all-sorts, according to Joe
The combination of experience and youth pushed Baston on nicely as veteran John Lamin (in the ET last week) and academy product Mark Richardson kept the scoreboard moving and kept Baston up with the rate, mainly by taking apart the frequently delivered bad balls. After a good 43 run partnership, Mark (16) hit a beautiful shot, gaining rapturous cheers from the boundary, which was caught comfortably at mid-off. Ben (6) went out with a bit of license at 5, but rather tamely nicked one behind to leave Baston 84-4, with 14 overs left to get 35 runs.
There was another Lamin (25) love-in on the boundary with new players admitting their admiration for the silver haired Baston legend. It was all getting a bit silly before Morris truly put the mockers on him, and he was bowled next ball.
AGF never needs an invitation to have a go, and was soon swatting the ball to all corners, ably supported by his captain. With the scores level, skipper Hilless (6) went for a big whoosh only to have his stumps rearranged by the 6 year old Grantham star.
Adam's nemesis and Grantham superkid Fell
AGF (21*) played the situation perfectly and Baston cantered to victory in the 42nd over.
Disappointingly only four of the players made it back to the White Horse after the game. Some excellent food was again provided as the boys were told of Tin Man Hawk’s 8 hour detour for D of E.
Ben was collected shortly after following his 2 pints and exciting lift home with Mark.
Man of the Match - John Lamin
Baston Bell End - Adam Hilless