Match Report: 23rd May, 6:00PM, Final CC, TBC

Result: Lost by 1 wicket

Typically glorious English summers evening, sadly one of the selected eleven chose to favour another summers evening pastime so in addition to the usual assortment of cracked ribs, dodgy knees (plural), hernias and sciatica we were also a man down. Nic won the toss and remembering the deadly late sun at one end chose to bat. The pitch was reasonably blemish free but still looked slow and it proved to be, the outfield lush and long boundaries meant big hits were needed or we were in danger of running fours. Awkward start as Rob survived a very confident LBW shout, umpire Jonty not seeing it the same way as the field, although he failed to notice the bump ball when Rob was spectacularly caught next ball by "that fat b&^%*&^ who got me out last year", no appeal from the filed due to the bump, but up went the finger anyway. He walked off without dispute bringing Ben N in to join Simon J and they promptly set about the task. Ben broke his bat but the replacement seemed to deposit the ball just as far as the old one. So, 61 for 1 after 8 overs and a healthy score looked on the cards, but Simon sadly left a straight one to be out on 24, 1 shy from safety. Ben retired at the end of the over (27no) which brought Nic H and Ian B together for a smashing display of positive running between the wickets (yes, Ian and Nic ran together in agreement !). Over 17 saw us on 112 for 1 at which point Ian retired (25no) and Nic the next over to another straight one (12), once again bringing two new batsmen to the crease in the same over, Paul A on a season pair and Gary B who was glad the pitch was so slow as he thought he would have time to play all of the 4 shots he couldn't get out of his head (including the switch hit which he practised beautifully). Tip and run (well, hobble) from Paul realised 4 from 4 deliveries before that dreaded straight one was bowled again. Gary (9no) resisted the switch hit and stayed to the end with the remaining bats sacrificing their wickets for lusty blows, highlights included a first ball duck from Steve S, a run out for a second run that was never there by Neil D (1) and a one ball 0 not out by Jonty. This was special as he handled the pressure brilliantly, not having to face a ball. Crabtree 129 for 6 wickets off 20 overs, probably 20 runs short of what we should have managed.

Fielding with 10 men is never easy, but having 4 of our number not able to run made it even harder. Gary's (3-14-0) and Ian's (2-13-0) opening spell were superb keeping the rate nice and low, but still two rather able batsmen at the crease. Neil (2-21-1) and Rob (2-14-2) then bowled a very tight spell, one of the Final bats had a prior engagement as he kept wanting to give himself out, tried walking for a run out (sharp throw by Simon but well in is ground, umpire had to recall him) and then tried to walk for a stumping affected by the ball ricocheting off Steve S's helmet grill, but eventually Rob got him for real, s very thin edge well taken by Steve, the umpire gave him not out but the non-strike batsman overruled the umpire as he had seen and heard the edge (proving again that the spirit of the game is alive and well, especially as this was the lad who tried to convince the umpire earlier that he had not bowled a no-ball).  The game was in the balance but unfortunately a wicket brought a young lad to the crease who by his own admission had never played the game (he was wearing black track suit trou for goodness sake), and he promptly set about the bowling retiring on 32no off a few overs. Paul A was very loose (2-19-0) but the match then tightened up with regular wickets and a target of 30 off 6 overs looked very gettable for the Final. On came our specialist 'death' bowlers to ensure it was a tight match, every dot ball as good as a wicket, especially as we did not really want to get the 'biffer' back to the crease, not to suggest that we dropped any catches, but appeals were few. Ian B (1-2-1), Ben N (2-11-1), Nic (3-13-1) and Simon J (3-11-2) were superb, however with two balls remaining and the scores tied, an extra gave them the run they needed. A great bowling and fielding performance was just not good enough. Special mention to Steve S behind the sticks, he conceded a few byes but with only 10 men in the field and most of them crocked, he did have 1/3 of the pitch to cover, superb glovework by him, anyone else behind the stumps would surely have conceded dozens given the 'varied width' of some bowlers you reporter being the most culpable. Not one dropped catch, Nic even managed to hold one (albeit off his own bowling, he will only have got this reputation of being an absolute no-hoper under the high ball when he has a chance off someone else's bowling).

Good game played in a good spirit on a glorious evening, bangers and chips and beer to follow, who could ask for more ?

Match Reporter: Paul Arnerich

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