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Venturers vs Cramer, Wednesday June 11th

Venturers 128-4 (20 overs) Cramer 129-8 (18.5 overs)

After five overs we had made six runs, including three wides and a bye; Alastair was gone, having hit a full toss to mid-wicket; and Matt had missed a straight one. Cramer were shouting merrily in Punjabi, translating some of it for the benefit of their non-Indian player: what they were saying was completely transparent to Ahmad and partly comprehensible even to Gregory, umpiring, but not very informative. Perhaps they said something that provoked Ahmad, though, because he suddenly exploded, hitting a six and several outrageous fours; after a while Roger joined in, and suddenly we were doing well. Cramer kept changing the bowling: they all bowled, except the wicket-keeper, but nine of them bowled well so that didn't help us either. Roger edged one eventually, and Ahmad ran himself out, though it needed a direct hit to do it; but Kevin and Simon S kept the runs coming steadily to the very end. What we didn't have, and needed, was a big hitter: even Ahmad got most of his runs by deflections rather than violence, and that meant that the scoring never became more than steady. Still, 128 was a defensible total, even against what was likely to be a strong batting side.

After three balls of Andy's first over the non-striker was heard to use the word "doosra". He wasn't describing the slightly peculiar ball Andy had just bowled: he simply wanted another pair of gloves. The next ball was also peculiar: a knee-high full toss, which the non-Indian top-edged into his eyebrow. It looked worse than it was, and he was soon back on his feet, bleeding and wanting to bat on. His team-mates sensibly prevented him, and there was a delay while the first aid kit was used. When we restarted, Cramer got away briskly. Andy still didn't find his length: Simon T was less wayward but Cramer's number 3 batsman, Jey, is a known good player and took full advantage of what there was to hit. A few more overs of him would settle the match. The field scattered. Andy was pasted along the ground through deep midwicket for four and then straight and high down to long-on. Gregory ambled towards the ball, reached out to his left, juggled briefly and caught it.

That should have been the turning point of the match. Not that Cramer were short of batting. Rob's first ball, which had nothing wrong with it, was thumped back over his head for six by the uninjured opener. But Rob continued to bowl well and had him caught at the wicket, and his steep bounce accounted for the wicket-keeper, whose attempt to cut gave Gregory a second, rather easier, catch. In between the captain, Harjeet, gave Simon S the charge and got bowled. The run rate climbed. The injured opener returned, but soon had to go off again: we could hardly be blamed, as he was the nonstriker and Gregory was bowling, but his bandage did not stand the strain of running. This time he left altogether.

Cramer still had one good batsman left. He dropped his bat as Gregory took the bails off but still somehow he managed to beat Simon T's throw from the deep. Gregory and Kevin both got two wickets in two balls; but Kevin's second was with the last ball of the seventeenth over, so he didn't get to bowl at number 11. Nobody did. Instead, Roger and Gregory agreed, quite wrongly, to take Gregory off and drop Matt in it. This might have made sense if there had been wickets standing. As it was, asked to start bowling in the eighteenth over to a well-set batsman, Matt naturally struggled: Gregory might have been more likely to get what would have been the decisive wicket. Kevin also had to bowl to the good batsman, who apparently unsettled him by doing the Brendon McCullum T20 shimmy. It ended rather ignominiously with Kevin's attempted slower ball being deposited on the bowling green.

Fixtures & Results 2008

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