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Venturers vs Bath Spa, Thursday May 28th

Venturers 81-7 Bath Spa 83-9

This 'extra' fixture was played at Kingswood school, not on the main square where we normally play, but on another pitch, where the wicket showed some signs of relative neglect. The strip was of a rock hard red clay, with patches of grass and some gentle undulations. Benign it was not, but it made for an exciting game where bowlers were in the ascendency and scoring runs a challenge.

Bath Spa bowled well throughout; their opening bowlers were accurate and put us under pressure from the start, and to change they had one very accurate bowler, and another who bowled with pace and bounce. Tom R went in the second over, his first dismissal of the season. Fluffy was unlucky to hit a rare full toss straight to the fielder on the leg side boundary, and Alistair holed out to mid-on. Roger and Charlie then stuck around for a while; Roger had scored a few when the pacy first change bowler, who hits the deck very hard, got a ball to bounce to shoulder height, which Roger, not used to balls bouncing much over knee height, fended off to gully. The sun was also an issue now, so both teams agreed to bowl from one end only. Matt managed to stick around for the remaining overs, surviving one chance, and generally in good enough form to occasionally get bat on ball. Paul A batted with a ‘hit out or get out' attitude; he hit a couple, then was bowled. Finally, Chris flayed a few at the end. Only Matt, who top scored, and Roger, made double figures. That we even got to 81 was only by virtue of being gifted about 30-odd byes and wides, as Bath Spa's wicket keeper was often defeated by the wild and random bounce, with barely a third man or fine leg to be seen.

In the first over of Bath Spa's reply, Paul Adams got one to nip back into there left handed opener and bowled him. It was clear after a couple of overs that Bath Spa's batsman were not finding the wicket any easier to bat on than we did. Still, to have a chance, we would need to bowl well and not give away any easy runs in the field. Both of these things we did; the fielding, in general, was superb. It was Chris 'Magic' Middup who sliced through the core of their top order, taking three wickets for not many runs, as he got his deliveries to wobble in the air and dart off the pitch. Andrew H's loopy turners were also sowing seeds of doubt in the batsmen's minds. Bath Spa's batting, by turn, seem a little shoddy when compared with their excellent bowling. Their better batsmen, one or two of whom looked like they can win the game on their own, were inclined to play unnecessarily risky shots, and we took some excellent catches; there were two for Alastair and one for Roger in the early part of the innings. Tom R then took a blinding catch low down at point to remove possibly their best batsmen, at which stage, with about 6 down, we sensed we might really win this. Alex W then came on and bowled a lovely spell which included a very sharp caught and bowled. Bath Spa were 60-9 and the game was ours.

However, their two quick bowlers were now batting and were playing with a no-nonsense attitude that began to pay off. One of them, Alex, took an almighty swipe at anything that came his way; the ball was tending to either hit his pad just outside leg stump, or be smote to the 'short' boundary. Each batsmen offered us one hard chance each; alas, these were the only two chances we failed to take. Alastair and Matt had a go at removing the last man, but with no success. Fluffy then had a go, and with only two runs needed, was entrusted with what would doubtless be the deciding over. His second ball was straight and hit the pad; Roger appealed, but the ball had nicked the bat before pad. The next ball, the left hander connected properly, and the ensuing boundary won an enjoyable game for Bath Spa.

Fixtures & Results 2009

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