Big thanks to Surrey Cricket Club for hosting a players family day down at the Kia Oval. Mod for the day (aka Tom), Master Protester (@domlinley) and the arty one (moi!) were joined by Mr and Mrs Linley, @juliaatthehub and Vikram to see the Mighty Rey take on the increasingly glum looking Kent.
[From left to right - the arty one, master protestor, the viscount & the mod]
Despite arriving fashionably late – well into the post lunch session – much of the day was spent studiously watching the cricket – well that was when we weren’t gossiping with other players families, playing peek a boo with Chris Schofield’s daughter, worrying about what to say to Chris Adams in case he said something to us, discussing what a collective noun for a group of Linleys was and drinking the copious amount of tea, wine and beer on offer. The Lasagne was pretty good too and the service was first rate!
Plenty of first rate family banter around too. Mod for the day took great exception to my shirt – thankfully I kept quite about his outfit. Mind he was to take even greater exception as I yelled ‘come on the viscount’ as Tim stumbled out to bat. Poor fella(Tim that is, theres nothing poor about the mod) didn’t even face a ball before Chris Tremlett was superbly caught on the boundary by Riaz. Anyone would think that Tremlett didn’t rate my younger bro’s batting the way he suddenly went after the bowling – but at 6 foot seven I wasn’t going to argue with him!
Then came the comedy highlight of the day. RHB’s mum was introducing herself to the three Linley boys present (she’d already had an indepth discussion about the perils of being a cricketers parents with the folks over the tea urn – very Chekhovian) when she came to @juliaatthehub and asked if she was a Linley brother too.
Mind, not to be outdone by el capitano’s mum the Viscounts Mum ‘s comments, (admittedly in between gentle snoozes) revealed some comedy gold. Thankfully @domlinley was at hand to share them with the waiting world. Here are just a few:-
• Is Tim bowling no balls? (after Rob Key had left the first four balls go out side the off stump)
• He was doing his best – can he get another chance (after Ansari was dismissed)
• This is all very good but I don’t get to listen to that nice man Mr Church from here (on settling down into her seat in the exec box)
As to the cricket – well Surrey raced raced to 387 all out mainly thanks to a simply superb innings by Zan de Bruyn who was eventually out for 179, ably supported by Batty (65). Truth of the matter was it should have ben much more – the Kent bowling never looked particularly penetrative even though there was some evidence of uneven bounce and practically all the wickets to fall were a result of batsmen getting themselves out. When both Batty and de Buryn fell in quick succession just before the new ball was due the writing was on the wall and Surrey slipped from 374-7 to 387 all out. That left a tricky 11 over period for Kent to survive. Tremlett immediately found some steep lift to Denley whilst Key was quietly playing out maidens against the Viscount and politely enquiring of the bowler if that one had swung a little. Naturally a little thrown by these unusual attempts at conversation the Viscount was no doubt glad when a single off Tremlett ensured the batsman changed ends for the first time. Tightening his line a little, the Viscount found Geoffrey’s corridor and dutifully Denley snicked off to a diving Batty at 1st slip. The celebrations underneath the sky box were almost as OTT as the Viscounts.
By now I’m in my element –anticipating a wicket almost every ball – although thats not difficult the way night watchman Joseph tries to play both Meaker and the Viscount. Its a times like these a gagging order should be imposed but Master protestor wasn’t quick enough with the gaffa allowing me one last shout. As the Viscount prepared to deliver his final ball of the day to the ominously steadfast Key I chose to shout ‘ come on Tim, Key’s a muppet’. I couldn’t be certain – but I’m pretty sure said batsman having safely negotiated the final Linley delivery simply raised an eyebrow towards the stands as if to say ‘muppet indeed’ and carried on enquiring if that one had moved off the seam a little to anyone who’d care to listen.
The last laugh though went to Meaker – much to the delight of his family – when he trapped nightwatchman Joseph lbw for a painful and uncertain 1, leaving Kent 26 for 2. Hopefully Key will have to raise one or two more eyebrows over the course of the next few days!
[the catch that prevented the Viscount from launching his planned assault with the bat on the Kent new ball bowlers - photo copyright PA photos]