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Venturers vs UWE, Sunday May 18th

Venturers 184-4; UWE 174

We have had several close matches against UWE in the past, as well as some very one-sided ones. We were not very optimistic this time. But Roger and Richard got us off to a good start, not for the first time, and found gaps in the field regularly. There was a minor wobble after Richard fell. Matt didn't get going and was followed by Ahmed, who seemed at first not quite to know what he was doing. Then, without warning, he unfurled the shot of the day: a cultured square cut such as only a good batsman could play. Immediately afterwards he wandered across his stumps and was indescribably leg before. Roger was temporarily becalmed at this stage, and Kevin made a nervous start; but they both got going and made fifty each, Roger going some way further. Indeed a hundred seemed possible, but he perished trying to accelerate. Some deft shovelling by Simon Turner at the end made a considerable difference and we ended up with 184 from our forty overs. Our feeling was that it wasn't going to be quite enough runs, but gave us a chance.

Next thing we knew UWE were 31 for 6 and the match should have been over. Andy Young was the cause: his late movement and full length were too good for the UWE top order, who were not necessarily their very best batsmen but included Ivor the adhesive left-hander and several others who have caused us trouble in the past. He bowled three of them and trapped another leg before; and caught a good catch at square-leg when Simon Turner came on and bowled a long-hop in the middle of an otherwise good spell. Next over Gregory did much the same thing, with much the same result. We should probably have kept attacking, and bowled them out; but instead we tried to contain them, and only partly succeeded. There was a batsman in whites who was puzzled by Gregory's flight but aggressive at the other end, and a batsman in black trousers who wasn't puzzled and was aggressive at both ends. For a while they didn't gain much from their aggression, but they survived and eventually prospered, and began to threaten an improbable win. The required run-rate remained quite high, though, and eventually they felt obliged to risk a tight second run on Fluffy's arm. But Fluffy can throw when he has to, and Paul at the bowler's end had time to flick the ball onto the stumps and remove the man in whites.

We were not in the clear yet. The number 9 was their captain, Rohan, who can most definitely bat and probably should have done earlier. Kevin, however, bowled him almost immediately and now we really were through to the tail. The tail-enders were not real rabbits, but the runs would come only from one end now. Andy returned to finish things off, and produced an over of startling rubbish which threw everything into doubt again. Kevin bowled two accurate balls to the surviving batsman and then a third that went past him: after a moment's thought, the leg bail toppled off. Even now we were not safe: the UWE number 11 is a clever cricketer and he nudged his first ball for four to fine leg, but he could do nothing but block the last two. Andy opened fire on the number 10: he blocked three balls, but with ten runs needed and nine balls to come he had to do more than that, and he was bowled pushing hopefully at the fourth.

Fixtures & Results 2008

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