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Venturers vs Bat Spa College, Tuesday June 3rd

Bath Spa College 103-6; Venturers 84-5

The Bath Spa campus is a pretty nice place to be, even if the grass surrounding the astroturf was ankle height. The long, damp grass was always going to restrict the runs for anyone who didn't go over the top, but the ridiculous bounce turned anything short and quick into a genuine bouncer. Despite these negatives it was a really enjoyable game, and with shorter grass I suspect our score would have been similar to the one at Sulis last week.

Roger won the toss and we bowled first. Matt opened down the hill with a good over, but was unlucky to be hit for six over mid-on off the last ball of what would have been a maiden. The ball was lost, and Simon Turner bowled an excellent first over with its replacement. The bounce and good line from Simon got the ball in the air through deepish gully often enough to bring about a change in the field there, but we couldn't get the breakthrough. The bowling was decent and marred only by another six to the same thicket of grass at the boundary. This ball was found though, and Ian G replaced Simon to allow him to bowl his last over at the end. Adam Paz replaced Matt at the end of his spell and got a breakthrough immediately, removing the number 2. Ian then pulled off a contender for catch of the season, turning after his follow through to complete a mid-air, one-handed catch, diving backwards. As if that wasn't enough it was left-handed too, and removed the opener who was looking useful in the 20's. The action didn't slow, and the new left handed bat picked up a fullish ball on leg stump beautifully for six, just over Richard's hands with his heels on the boundary. A full toss was hit for four next ball, but then he was out LBW. Ian nearly got his replacement first ball, getting it straight through the batsman, but it missed leg stump by a whisker.

Chris “Magic Ball” Middup was on at the other end and sorted out the 4 and 6 in consecutive overs thanks to a catch from Matt at mid-on and an LBW. Fluffy bowled a decent spell uphill towards the end, and was unlucky not to get a couple of wickets. Both were caught-and-bowled chances, but while the first was more straightforward, the second was really motoring, and in the end a promising spell went unrewarded. Simon finished his bowling with a really terrific over down the hill, mixing his pace and beating the bat repeatedly. This included a noticeably quicker delivery that would be too fast for most of the batsmen we face.

In the end they got 102, but they hit 5 sixes which we don't normally do and these lusty blows pegged the asking rate above the comfort zone. Kevin and Richard opened, but Richard chipped one to point in the second over, and Chris Willott followed to a good ball in the same over. Magic Ball Middup supplied a quick single before being replaced by Simon T. We were 3 down in the 3rd over. The bowling was very consistent and their opener only went for 6 in his spell. Both bats were severe on the shorter stuff, but the high bounce meant Kevin was struck over the heart and ended up playing cut shots at eye-level. These went in the air for four, and it was a nervous affair for those watching on the boundary. Simon was dropped at slip in the 8 th over before a new bowler started trying to bounce him out. He called for a helmet after being struck on the shoulder, but in between played his aesthetic trademark pulls through backward square leg.

Halfway through we had 41, wickets in hand and a foundation to press on, but Kevin went the next over missing a straight one from their captain and thereafter the chance of victory was gone. The run rate fell away and Simon was caught at mid-on in the next over. Matt and Roger worked away but the bowling was good, and Bath Spa chose to use the minimum number of bowlers. One of these looked vulnerable but targeting one bowler couldn't get us there, and we finished quite a bit short.

That said, many of the strokes we played would've gone for 4 with shorter grass and this was the difference between the sides. They hit over the top while we tended to hit along the floor, and while we still struck twice as many boundaries as they did, many other good shots simply died in the grass, when at Sulis last week they went for runs aplenty. A good game in the end, but from last week's experience it is fair to say we were beaten as much by the surfaces as by our opponents.

Fixtures & Results 2008

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