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Venturers vs Bradford Town, Sunday June 22nd

Bradford Town 165-9 Venturers 168-5

The wind managed to blow heartily for the entirety of this match, but fortunately it also managed to keep the rain away.

Bradford Town batted first and their first few batsmen all looked confident big hitters, one even shuffling his feet in an adventurous manner as Simon T was running in. Looks do not always have any relevance to performance, though, and only two of the first four managed to creep into double figures. Andy Y started down the hill on pitch 2 and took 2-9 from his 8 overs, one a good catch down the leg side by Alex: an excellent start. Simon T was not quite as tight at the other end, but still settled into a good line and length and took care of one of the openers. Numbers 5 and 6 showed the earlier batsmen that attempting to nonchalantly smack the ball to the boundary isn't the correct approach and put on 43 runs by nudging it around. Kevin and Simon S were first change and kept up the pressure, Kevin once again clean bowling someone with a lovely yorker and Simon S taking a high caught and bowled from a leading edge.

Steve D and Fluffy then came on and managed to bowl tightly, a novelty for them both! The batsmen did not seem to appreciate the slow, but reasonably accurate bowling. Fluffy had one caught at midwicket by Gary and then dropped a reasonably well hit caught and bowled (because Richard had only reminded him to look out for them at the start of the first over, and not subsequent overs!). Steve at the other end decided to clear up the innings and took three wickets in quick succession (one who was reputedly the first team captain). Matt showed true Venturers catching skills at mid on by looking completely out of position for a drive over his head, but the arms waved in the air came down with the ball in them. This left Kevin and Simon T to bowl out the last few overs, though we did not manage to get the last man out. Bradford had made 165 perhaps thirty more than they should have, but if we batted well we were confident of reaching the target.

Richard and Simon T opened the batting to two of Bradford 's colts. The second over yielded four leg side fours by Richard, but other than that the two lads bowled well, with Simon falling cheaply, run out attempting a risky second run as the boundaries dried up. Gary Stephens, who was making his Venturers return after 7 years in the wilderness, took over from him and clattered a few fours including one gorgeous straight drive and a Pietersenesque whirl over midwicket off the spinner. He helped put on 54 with Richard for the second wicket. Gary finally flicked one to mid wicket, for 27, and was replaced by Andy W. Many aggressive swings later, Andy was out for 1 having failed to find his usual timing. Kevin came in at five and also failed to find his timing. The new man bowling up the hill was very accurate, once he had finished the jump at the end of his run-up, and Kevin faced out two maidens from him before getting off the mark with a single. Richard got 50, got becalmed and then got out, but it was a very good innings and we were still on target. Matt surprised everyone by flicking his first ball down to fine leg for 3, temporarily making his scoring rate 300! He slowed down a little after this, but not much and scored 33, helping a now more lively Kevin (29) put on 63. Matt was, however, deeply unimpressed with himself when he got out with two overs to go and 9 runs still needed.

Alex came to the crease and twice did exactly the right thing: near suicidal singles in an effort to get Kevin on strike. Both worked and both resulted in Kevin cracking fours soon afterwards, including one over deep long-on's head who, if he had bothered to back pedal a bit, might have taken the catch inside the boundary. He didn't, though, enabling Kevin to crack another straight 4 in the final over and we won with 4 balls to spare!

Fixtures & Results 2008

Cricket bat and ball