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Canal Taverners vs Venturers , Wednesday July 17th

Canal Taverners 100-8 Venturers 101-8

No-one can remember us ever beating the Canal Taverners, so this fixture is one of those games we would really like to win. Last time we played them we put a really competitive total on the board batting first at our own ground and then lost to a great run chase. This time they put a decent score on the board first up at their ground, and we chased.

The Taverners have two great hitters up the order, but this time the left-hander who undid us in the previous match was absent. The right-hander was not absent and we knew about it as he starting pulling the ball with authority out to the boundary. Some shrewd field changes by Roger first restricted this shot and nearly claimed a catch from it on the boundary, but it was going like a train and it went down. Kevin bowled beautifully and went for just 5 off his spell, removing the number 3. Simon S also bowled 2 tidy spells and claimed the other opener. Then came a period where the remaining opener kept the runs flowing, right up until the end of Simon T's final over where he got his revenge after taking some tap. Extracting a little extra from the pitch he forced a poor shot from the opener who skied the ball out to mid-on. Ian G fell on the floor as he seems to do a lot, but held the catch and the bat was dismissed for 48.

This turned the match and thereafter we started to get control. Ian G bowled a wide-strewn spell but took a wicket with the last ball of his first over, knocking back the middle stump. He clipped the leg stump with the first ball of the next over, but failed with the hat-trick ball. At the other end Rob bowled the number 6, and every bowler took their wickets in their first or last overs. The excitement was high throughout Alistair running out the number 7 with a direct hit and Roger behind the stumps throwing accurately to Ian G at the bowlers end to run out his replacement. We restricted them to exactly 100 and a good start was needed to keep it from being a nervous chase.

Chris M and Tom R strode out and the bowling was good. A maiden up the hill was followed by Chris' wicket down the hill, caught at cover off a full toss. Emmad replaced him and unsettled the bowler immediately hitting a four followed by a six over long-off. This was enough to induce leg-side full tosses to Tom R in his next over which were expertly dispatched for 4. The run rate stayed above 5 an over as Tom played beautifully, and when Emmad was bowled by one that kept very low for 10 we were not too disturbed. Next over Tom was caught at mid-off for an excellent 20 but we were still feeling comfortable. Alistair and Roger batted with appropriate urgency and Roger especially looked very solid hitting every ball for runs. After a brief conference to agree to play percentage shots Alistair lined one up just outside leg stump but it turned and didn't bounce at all and he was bowled. Omer Khan replaced him, but before he could get off the mark Roger was run-out by a direct hit. The run was there and we had to go for it, but it was a day for direct hits and suddenly there was cause for concern at 47-5.

The run rate was still good though, and Kevin and Omer set about building a partnership. The bowling was slow but accurate, although down the hill the bowler varied his pace by sending down some really rapid deliveries unexpectedly. One of these did for Kevin, who got 13 at better than a run-a-ball, and now we were feeling pretty uncomfortable on the boundary. Simon T walked out and defended the final ball of the spell solidly. Omer had been batting steadily to get the innings top score of 21, profiting from being dropped repeatedly towards the end, but he was ultimately bowled by the low bounce instead with the score on 85.

A couple more were added before Simon was out LBW to a spinner down the hill, off the first ball of the 18 th over. Rob B came in and got a single away and Ian called him back for a second off the next ball. With two overs left we needed 11. Ian and Rob took 7 off the next over, mostly by getting in those second runs and Ian was on strike at the start of the final over. 4 were needed and the first ball was dispatched to the midwicket boundary to claim a first ever win, Ian finishing 11 not out and Rob contributing 3 not out, but deserved more than that for his running.

The beer and food in the pub was particularly tasty, sweetened by a pretty historic victory, and the Venturers edge closer to their best season on record with 8 wins so far and 11 games left to go.

Fixtures & Results 2008

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