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Venturers vs Cross Keys, Tuesday May 26th

Cross Keys 135 Venturers 120-odd

We politely agreed to a rule that a batsman reaching fifty should retire at the end of the over. Otherwise we might have won. One of the reasons we are not much good at T20 is that we have only three people who can hit the ball long distances: Ian G, who wasn't playing, Andy W, who hasn't played yet this year, and Tom R. On the other hand we have quite a few bowlers who are hard to score off. Combe Down had three good bowlers and some less impressive ones, and several hard-hitting batsman. So when Tom scrambled a single off the last ball of the over to bring up his fifty, and then had to leave, he took all our momentum with him; whereas when their opener retired, he merely made way for another batsman with shots.

The real reason why we lost, though, was that our fielding, which has been quite good so far, went to pieces. Drop of the match, and drop of the year so far, was committed by Gregory, who allowed a looping catch off Simon to hit him, very softly, on the upper arm; but it didn't make much difference, as the batsman was bowled by the next ball he faced, from Kevin. At least three other catches and a stumping were missed, though rather harder ones, and the ground fielding was also unimpressive. It was not catastrophically bad, but we certainly gave away more runs in the field than the eight we eventually lost by.

It all started pretty well. There was a stiff crosswind, which was unhelpful to Rob but enhanced Matt's natural inswing. This accounted for one opener, who tried to cut and lost his off stump; the other offered a hard catch to Tom M, who reached it but couldn't hold on. The new batsman had a two-eyed stance that he can only have got from watching Chanderpaul, but right-handed. He was as on-sided a player as his stance suggested, but played very straight when he defended and hit very hard when he didn't, which was frequently. Matt's inswing therefore suited him, and he promptly hit him out of the attack. Rob kept reasonable control, though. Matt was replaced by Gregory, from round the wicket; the Chanderpaul devotee hacked wildly at the first ball he faced from him and sent it spinning into the air over Alex's head. Unfortunately it dropped about three yards beyond Alex's dive. By then the opener had already had a similar escape, cutting uppishly. So the batsmen abandoned any attempt to hit Gregory out of the attack too, though they dealt summarily with what bad balls they got from him, and concentrated on Rob. He didn't give very much away either but he did stray to leg sometimes, and our loose fielding made ones into twos rather too often.

Eventually the Chanderpauline (dropped the ball before) lost patience, charged Gregory and got stumped. This felt better but he'd have retired soon anyway. It did lower the run rate, and Simon was also economical when he replaced Gregory. Sourabh was less economical, but should have had at least a couple of wickets; instead, Kevin got one with his first ball and Simon one with his last, a full toss lofted to mid-on (Kevin) who showed us, too late, what to do.

The target was 136: not too bad considering what had gone on. Matt was well caught at mid-wicket early on. Tom R took a while to get going but once he did he became very dangerous. Alastair pulled anything short and ran, and got, many patently absurd singles. Combe Down brought on their most serious bowler, and his first over went for fourteen. We were doing well, but then Alastair missed one of his pulls and Tom reached fifty. We suddenly had two new batsmen in and no time to consolidate. Alex and Kevin miscued and the replacement for the absent Andy Young, generously lent to us by Combe Down, ran himself out. We needed someone to hit boundaries. We had Sourabh, who can, but at the other end there was Tom M, who is not by nature a big hitter. In fact Tom did very well, making sure he got bat on ball and running singles that Alastair would have rejected as impossible. But Sourabh, obliged to slog, didn't really connect with anything and they had been left too much to do.


Fixtures & Results 2009

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