The Straight Drive
Sometimes it's necessary to stamp your mark on a game.
Circumstances had conspired against me seeing much club cricket these last few weeks, which by chance had coincided with a lean spell with the bat for Forrest. After a lively start to the season, his form with the bat had dipped - to the extent that he was dropped to the seconds last week, and failed again. With the absence of a few players, he returned to the first team today against local rivals Addingham and opened the batting. I have to admit that I was not expecting too much. Opening the batting is tough enough, even when you're in good nick.
Anyway, he grafted well against the new ball, picked off the odd loose one, got himself in, and then proceeded to go through the gears when the change bowlers came on, hitting three sixes before eventually falling for 63, picking out a fielder on the boundary in flicking a high full toss to fine leg. It probably should have been a no-ball. He looked so full of confidence and was timing the ball so well that I genuinely thought he had a good chance of a century today. I've only seen one of the five he's scored in his career and that was probably the scratchiest of them all. He helped put on 133 for the first wicket and his opening partner, Shane, went on to complete his fourth century of the season. He remained unbeaten on 114 in a total of 259-6. He's a class act.
To cut a long story short, Ben Rhydding won the game by 30 runs, but the result was in doubt until the final few overs, with wickets falling quickly at the end as scoreboard pressure built. Forrest had a role to play with the ball, bowling a tidy spell which squeezed the flow of runs and took the wicket of a key opposition batsman, albeit plucked out of the air as it was going for six. That moment was made even sweeter for it being the wicket of a good mate. It turned the game. To add to his hundred, Shane cleaned up the remaining wickets, taking 6-57. Classy in every department of the game.
When things aren't going so well for them I always feel guilty about getting my boys so involved in cricket. It can be such a cruel sport. But when it does go well, like today, I feel vindicated. I can live off a day like today for weeks. I'm pretty sure the same applies to my boy. He was buzzing.
PS The hill in the distance is Beamsley Beacon. For a bit of context, here is the view from the top.