Our penultimate outing in this pathetic farce of a competition sees us host Essex on the south coast. I’m sure you will bowled over with amazement to discover that we lose the toss.
They sling us in the field.
We open with Chris Jordan. I don’t feel I’ve used him as well as I should so far.
Varun Chopra takes the opening guard. We’ve worked on our plans to him, and make sure we go short and outside off stump to counteract his preferred batting condition.
Boy, does it work.
One ball. One wicket. Go Sharks! 0-1.
One Sir A. Cook is his replacement. So, no sort of problem there.
We drop him third ball.
But, the former England skipper hits Jordan for 13 in the over to assert some dominance, just in case we were in any danger of forgetting who he is.
Daniel Lawrence joins in “the fun” by doing well and taking Claydon for 15.
Next over, Jordan clean bowls Cook, also for 15. 30-2 – that puts a better look on my face.
Monty Panesar and Aaron Thomason begin their overs.
It’s not long before Thomason has his reward, catching Lawrence leg before wicket for 29. 58-3, 7 overs down.
Monty is doing ok, but they milk him and begin to look too comfortable.
Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate has chipped away with 10 off 11 balls.
I lob the cherry to Lord Ravi of Bopara. Bowling (well, and injuries) being the only thing making me not smash his teeth to powder so far this season.
He clean bowls the Flying Dutchman. On yourself Ravi, ya beauty! Stick it up your old county! 87-4.
At the other end, Tom Westley has been dashing along. He’s made 29 from 21 balls when Thomason snares him into a snick, and Jonty Jenner behind the poles takes the catch. 95-5.
William Buttleman – another first class cricketer with a belter of a name – goes next ball, leg before wicket. 95-6 and Thomason on a hat trick.
Their South African keeper Simon Harmer is next out of the rabbit hutch.
For the hat trick delivery we go uber-aggressive, surrounding the bat.
He steams in…
We can’t really increase and capitalise on the progress we’ve made. But nor are they romping away.
As their overs tick down, Henry Book gets bowled by Bopara. Gone for 21, 122-7.
Harmer has had the sort of knock that my players usually deliver. He’s taken 20 balls for his 14 runs.
Jordan dislodges another one. 129-8.
Sam Cook may not know much about history, but he does appear to know which end to hold the bat. But he reckons without Shehan Jayasuriya, who traps him in a loose attempt at a sweep and he’s gone for 2. 134-9.
Aussie mongrel Peter Siddle gets trapped by the same off spinning leg-end for 9.
They’re all out for 135.
That’s the sort of total that we normally struggle to either make or overturn so far this season.
Is this time to be different?
We make 6 off the first over but Evans then pushes one to Buttleman at slip, off Jamie Porter. 6-1.
Jayasuriya follows up his bowling performance by racing away to 8. But then he misses the straight one from ignorant-of-trigonometry-crooner Cook and he’s gone. 16-2.
Luke Wright and Ravi add some runs. But Wright then follows Jayasuriya’s lead and is gone for 15. 36-3.
George Munsey and Ravi go after Harmer’s first over. And boy do they.
They hit him for 21.
It nearly goes so well. But then Ravi chips one to mid-on, trying to slap the leather off another Harmer pie, and he’s gone for 29. 80-4.
This season, Munsey seems to be doing his best to have his contract cancelled.
When he gets to 32, off 18 balls, I think: “Oh, how nice, he’s at his highest score of the season. Maybe he’ll live up to his promise…”
Two balls later. Out. Caught Buttleman. Bowled Book. 102-5.
Jenner has never really done it with the bat this season. Something he continues as Siddle gets him for 2. 105-6.
Thomason and Rawlins bat out of their skin. Rawlins makes 26 off 21 balls.
However, Essex bowl well and keep it right. We enter the final over needing 14 off 6.
Unbelievably, we make it.
WE WIN! WE WIN!
THE SHARKS HAVE SNAPPED FOR THE FIRST TIME THIS SEASON!
We’ve only gone and won a game. I never thought that would happen!
Thomason’s 15 off 18 balls and 3-27 nets him the Man of the Match champagne.
Our final game will be an away trip to Wales to take on Glamorgan – a chance to take on the side above us in an end of season wooden spoon encounter.