The Netherlands can be surprising sometimes. When you have a lawn – especially a tiny one (rather common in this country) – you don’t really expect a molehill popping up suddenly. Well, we know it can happen but it’s still surprising. And just like those molehills it still comes as a bit of a surprise to me when I come across a new cricket field, one that I hadn’t been to before, that I didn’t even know existed.
Such was the case last Sunday when I joined the Zomi team on a trip to Gouda where we had been invited for a friendly game against Olympia. Like that molehill it appeared quite suddenly (well, I knew it would happen but it was still surprising). Unlike that molehill it was a pleasure to behold. And it didn’t contain any molehills. While I was trying to work out where to get changed – too lazy to hike across the next bunch of sports grounds for a mere change of clothes – the captains got busy tossing with the upshot that we’d bat first. When asked I feigned confidence in saying that I could bat and was put in at nr. 3. And that’s all I’ll say about that. Vishal(6) and Charu(21) got us off to a decent start with some magnificent running mix-ups. Then came a blip(0) at nr. 3 which we’ll ignore – hardly anyone saw it anyway – to be followed by Lennart(13). Now Lennart has staying power if ever I saw any. Rock solid he pootled along while Charu got given LBW by his friend Vishal – stuff for a friendly (remember we were playing a friendly so everything was perfectly friendly) chat over lunch. And rock solid Lennart pootled along when Tobias Nota(6) got caught brilliantly at mid-on thus forgoing the chance to play alongside his dad who moved in to take his place. Daddy Nota, Marc(37), was not too concerned with rock solidness and rather more with sending the ball to every boundary thinkable. Maybe Lennart may have wondered what it would have been like if he’d traded some rock solidness for more runs, but then again, look who’s talking. As Marc went about smashing balls left, right and over his shoulder, he was ably, though briefly, assisted by Rutger(6) who got himself run out, and Pieter(12), the master of the single. Marc finally met his fate in the hands of McCormack and left to let Dinesh(24 no) show off some of his mettle. Together with Pieter, who was also caught by McCormack, and finally with Richard(2 no) Dinesh batted out the final overs to land us at 169.
Lunch, sausages and a friendly chat about LBW decisions – ah, let’s not bother.
It was time to defend our total. Their first wicket fell to Dinesh(1/11/4) who managed to trick the batsman into smashing towards the midwicket boundary only to find his leg stump upended. In came McCormack(11), the man of the catches, and he batted with intent, scoring some doubles and even a boundary before being caught by Rutger at cover off the bowling of Vishal(2/22/6). That slowed down the run rate considerably while their wickets kept falling and our confidence kept growing. Other wicket takers where Marc(2/6/3), Charu(1/7/6), Martin(1/13/3), Pieter(1/15/2). Tobias(0/18/6) was less lucky considering the quality of his bowling. Lennart(0/10/2) chipped in and Rutger(0/8/2) rounded off the innings to leave Olympia dangling at 112/9 but all out of balls to face. A special mention should go to F. Pruschen(15) who started punishing Vishal with consecutive boundaries, one of which was the only six of the game. Vishal got his own back when Mr. Pruschen gave him his wickt by sending the ball straight to Rutger for his second catch. Another special mention should go to opener Mr. Kokke(30) who felt the need to out-rock-solid Lennart by staying unbeaten for the entire 35 overs. Yes, that’s right, 30 in 35, not balls, overs!
That concluded the game but not the evening. Plenty of bites, beer and banter flowed as we enjoyed the warm afterglow of another lovely day of cricket. I for one am looking forward to someday returning to this “molehill”.