Match Report: 1st July, 6:00PM, Garden Fields, Greenwood Park

Equal record high score on hottest day

Result: Crabtree win by 23 runs

37.5 degrees at Heathrow, felt about the same at Verulamium Park.

Crabs batted first, Rich B and Andy B opened and set off at a lick of pace not seen. Most of the demons in this poor pitch dissipated with the dryness of the strip, their opening bowlers were too short and the ball popped up invitingly and on a liquid fast outfield, the ball flew. Some poor initial fielding turned ones into fours and after 4 overs Rich was in the hutch with 30 odd, Andy B soon joined him with another 30 odd. Rich L came heaved and went, Amit again traded mostly in sixes until he skied one and the field took a steepling catch to send him back on 24. The rate from over one to over 11 was around 11 an over, (116 after 11). Better bowlers came on (well, more accurate with their length anyway) and the rate slowed to an astounding 9 an over at the end, Ian B blasting the high Crab score of the day on 36 no, with contributions from most of the other bats, all wickets were just in the cause of the slog.

Garden Fields came out with intent, and kept up with the rate for the first 10 overs, but not without some drama, one of the openers superbly caught behind by Steve, who was the only one to appeal. with two in the hutch, the remaining batsmen tried to keep the rate going but could not match it, some very good middle order bowling from Gary (2-0-8-2, two clean bowled in two balls, the field were all in close catching for the hat trick but the new batsman defended yet another straight one to deny him his just rewards), Amit (2-0-9-0) and Ian (2-0-2-9). There were a good number of dropped catches (duly logged), not all of them in the difficult category, but the field made up for these with some very good takes; Amit a clutch above his head at point to a well hit cut, Gary took a steepler and had to make good ground to get near it, Graeme rolled back the years with a stunner at short mid-on and the best was Rich Lights diving two handed take running in from deep mid off to a well driven ball that had considerable spin on it as it came to him requiring quick adjustment. Not too much comedy moments but some to savour; Andy B "forgetting" to appeal for a plumb LBW and the ensuing debate, some very delayed not outs for close run out decisions (what a tease) and a little "indecision" about where the ball was going to land (also known as dropped catch avoidance) from one or two. The oppo added their own comedy with a runner for an injured player, father and son combo, suspect he may have brought the injury into the match but we are not Aussies so no one complained. With four overs to go, it was still technically possible and they never gave up the chase, but ran out of overs.

Mad scenes followed, because there was some Morris Dancing competition in the streets surrounding the Six Bells which made escape difficult, especially for Gary who had (under poor advice) had parked in the street rather than the car park, but he eventually made it out, only seven pedestrians were hit and none sober enough to complain.

Match Reporter: PA

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