To quote Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction, “it’s our paradise, it’s our warzone”.

And what a warzone it was out there. Peter still carrying the dodgy quad from last week, Matt developing a gammy hammy in the first over of his spell, Billy developing something problematic in the leg area during his second over, and yours truly landing heavily on my ribs saving a 4.

But what a paradise. The sun shining, some fine bowling, some top fielding, and some great batting saw us home with wickets and overs in hand.

Captain Roberts won the second toss of the season, putting Sheperton in to bat and calling on Ben Painter and Billy to open the bowling. Billy’s cameo was short but hostile, 3 overs, 2 maidens, 1 wicket for only 3 runs. Ben bowled tightly, only the occasional nick for 4 kept the score board ticking over. A lovely moment showing the breadth and depth of the club, as a few successive deliveries were clipped off the legs fine down to my son Harry Wood, stepping in last minute to field as Sandy had stepped up to the 1’s who were a player short. The COMBINED age of the Ben bowling / Harry fielding combination a mere 26 years!! A very proud moment for me and hopefully more father / son games to come.

Matt supported Ben at the other end, bowling injury-enforced variation instead of the pace we saw last week but nonetheless as effective, taking another wicket and bringing batsmen 3 and 4 to the crease.

As their middle order looked to get settled, Peter and Chris, with a combined age slightly higher than that of Ben and Harry, pegged them back to only a handful of runs and then skittled them out, Peter “middle order destroyer” Roberts finishing with figures of 9 overs, 2 maidens, 3 for 25 and Chris “unplayable” Shuter finishing with 9 overs, 3 maidens, 0 for 8.

A late surge from batsman 7 hitting 47 off 48 saw them finish on 159 for 8, despite the valiant efforts of Keith and David, the latter who should have taken a wicket with the first ball of his over, had yours truly not dropped a sitter. Apologies Dave.

Special mention should go to the aforementioned Mr Herzog, who apparently had both Weetabix and Ready Brek that morning, and whose fielding was as good as any seen on a 3rd XI pitch.

And so it was our turn to bat, Matt looking to build on his success from last week and Ben stepping in at the other end to open. Ben did a good job of taking the shine off the ball, seeing out the early overs, whilst Matt set about building a score, surviving a couple of early dropped catches but subsequently making them pay with a faultless display thereafter, finishing unbeaten on 84 and carrying his bat. Supported after Ben had departed by Ket Kothari, returning from a 4 year absence from the game, Chris who was unlucky playing on to the stumps, and Keith, before Peter came in and knocked off a quick fire 32 off 31 to finish the game with 8 overs to spare.

In summary a ruthless display, showing we’ve got bowling, fielding and batting depth, 20 points in the bag.