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Venturers vs Bradford 39, Thursday May 22nd

Bradford 39 113-7; Venturers 117-5

Victory Field at Bradford-on-Avon is an attractive ground to watch on and is popular with small children because of the playground that commands a fine view of the pitch. It is also pleasant to play on in most respects; but if the sun shines in the evening it is impossible to see the ball against the sunset, and if it does not it is impossible to see the ball against the trees. The wise captain therefore bats first; but to do so you have to win the toss, and we didn't.

Andy, fresh from his five wickets against UWE, hurtled in and was accurate but picked up only one wicket in four overs. Ian, finding the swinging ball hard to control and with a short leg side boundary, was more expensive, but removed a known dangerous bat with a sharp inswinger. Matt took over from Ian and Gregory from Andy, and they bowled a tidy over each, Matt having a catch missed and Gregory a goodish LBW appeal refused. Then, suddenly, the middle order fell out. The number 4 miscued towards mid-on, Matt running back for the catch himself. This was the last ball of the over, but the batsmen crossed so the new batsman faced Gregory's next ball, and missed it. The umpire apologised before giving him out, but only for the fact of it being his first ball. The next batsman, who has also made runs against us in the past, lasted to the last ball of the over before also missing a straight one: the umpire was not needed this time. They never recovered: the opener batted all through and we didn't quite get them out, but apart from a single over from Kevin of all people we never gave much away, and they got almost nothing from the few overs Simon Shaw bowled at the end.

After our win at the weekend we were confident about getting the runs, provided we could see the ball. Rob, opening with Kevin, started the chase with some extremely aggressive, not to say manic, running. For some reason there was no run-out and even though Bradford bowled well we were only a little behind the rate. Rob eventually got one that kept low. Alastair, coming in as dusk fell, adopted a very similar approach and was soon covered in dust after one of his more desperate singles. Sunset and the evening star, and one clear call for me!, please, not this "no-yes-yes-get back!" stuff. But still there was no run-out. Kevin perished at cover, a one-handed catch off a not quite waist high full toss and Alastair at mid-off; but Roger, continuing his good form and assisted by sensible support from Alex and later Adam, started to take us home. The running improved and the light deteriorated. Sunset and the evening star, and after that the dark. Two quickish bowlers in the gloom, one of them alarmingly accurate; a new batsman would have found it hard, but Alex and Roger had been there for a while and were able to pick the ball. And as Gregory, Matt and Simon had shown, slow bowling was harder to score off. Now, when the relatively less accurate bowler finally strayed Roger hit three fours. Bradford arranged to get him off strike, at the cost of a run, whereupon Alex hit a fourth four. And by then even the loss of Alex's wicket no longer mattered: Adam kept an end up for a while and then Roger and Andy calmly finished the job, winning us the match with five wickets and seven balls to spare.

Fixtures & Results 2008

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