Images of English Cricket University of Bath
Venturers Cricket Club
University of Bath logo - links to University home page
text view Staff home | Getting to the University

Venturers vs Bradford 39, Wednesday July 22nd

Bradford 39 96-8 Venturers 97-1

It is one of the great issues of the moment: is it really the case that the fieldsman always knows whether he has taken a catch cleanly? The assertion is often made that he does, with the implication that anybody who is shown by television not to have done must be being dishonest; but most of us never see what the television picture of that catch we knew we had caught cleanly (or that one we thought had probably touched the grass) would have looked like. So how do we know that the fieldsman always knows?

The very first ball of this match was struck firmly and low to Alastair's right. He scooped it up with one hand and claimed the catch, not with complete conviction. The person best placed to decide, the square-leg umpire, did nothing. The matter was settled in this case because it seemed quite clear to Roger, keeping wicket, and Gregory at first slip, that the ball had not quite carried. It would have been a fine start, as the batsman was one of Bradford's three very effective ones, but soon after he skied Nigel and Simon D caught it well. But Kevin's line was less good than usual and Nigel tended to underpitch for the slow surface, and the next two batsmen got in and started to play well, though one of them skied Kevin just out of Alastair's reach. Alex put the brakes on, though, and bowled the less aggressive of the two with a perfectly disguised and directed slower ball. The new batsman skied Gregory just out of Simon D's reach, but was shortly cleaned up by another slower ball from Alex. But the survivor of the second-wicket partnership, whose name is Dan (it says so on his shoulders) carried on, hitting a six off a ball from Gregory that would be a dot more often than not and several other good shots. He brought up his fifty with a remarkable pull, again off Gregory, to one only fractionally short; but was then deceived and bowled a couple of balls later by a flighted ball. Thereafter the scoring rate dropped sharply. Bradford still had good batsmen but were out of forcing ones. A young and rather correct player, who would have been quite at home opening the innings in a 40-over game, found hustling along towards the end of a 20-over game not at all to his liking, and his inability to slog allowed Adam, replacing Alex, to dictate. He dictated three overs, two maidens, one wicket for two, in the 16th, 18th and 20th overs; and one of the two resulted from a rare misfield and the other, off the last ball, from a very difficult dropped catch. It was struck by a nervous-looking young man in a helmet of the style favoured by Adam Gilchrist. The intimidating effect of that was lost by the rest of his clothing, which was a brown shirt and a pair of what appeared to be swimming trunks, dark blue decorated with lurid green clouds. In fairness it should be said that his only ball was the last of the innings, so he had no choice but to hit and hope; that he did hit; and that it was not his fault that his partner attempted an obligatory second run and ran himself out. Before that, the rather correct player had finally connected firmly, only to be smartly caught and bowled by Simon S, who had earlier become the third bowler to bowl someone with a slower ball.

We needed 97. Alastair and Nigel began, with the usual frantic singles from Alastair. They made a good start and it was a surprise when Alastair reached for a widish ball and hit a catch to mid-on. By then, though, Nigel was getting going; and it was not long before Alex joined in. After eleven overs our score was exactly what theirs had been at the same stage; but our forcing batsmen did not get out (anyway, we still had others to come), their bowlers did not dictate, and we hadn't brought our swimming trunks. Nigel and Alex won the match at a canter, leaving several players with neither a bowl nor an innings.

Fixtures & Results 2009

Cricket bat and ball