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Kilmington vs Venturers, Sunday April 26th

Kilmington 218-7; Venturers 219-8

Almost from the start it went well. We turned out with a full XI, which had seemed doubtful at one time, and Paul Snow swung the new ball considerably. That did result in a couple of leg-side wides, on the consistent but rather stringent interpretation of the Kilmington umpire; but very early on it brought a wicket. One of the openers, who seemed rather eager to have the strike and nearly ran himself out trying to get it, shuffled across his stumps and was bowled behind his legs. The other opener soon fell to Paul also: he lost patience and tried to hit over mid-off, but Ian, toppling backwards, caught an excellent catch. Matt removed the next batsman, lbw getting only half forward, and might have had more as he beat the bat several times.

The next pair were a competent young left-hander and a technically correct right-hander. The latter looked especially dangerous but was having trouble timing the ball. The temptation offered by Gregory's slower ball was too much, the timing worse than ever and the catch to Matt droppable but not especially hard. Matt caught it, and the left-hander was completely lbw to the next ball, remarking ruefully afterwards that that made three years running he had got out to Gregory.

59 for 5 after a dozen overs was a fine start for us. The next pair consisted of a tall young man who played with great care and patience, and an older shorter man who, after a tentative start against Gregory and Saurabh, took some chances. But they were reasonable chances and in particular he dealt severely with anything short. There was slightly too much of that. It was not until Alex came on after Saurabh, who had little luck, had run out of overs that a wicket fell. This was a sharp catch behind the stumps by the other Alex, removing the more careful batsman; but Kilmington bat deep and despite good bowling by Ian and by Paul and Matt on their return, and an lbw decision for Alex, the survivor carried on to an unbeaten 86 and Kilmington ended with well over 200, which had seemed unlikely earlier. Our ground fielding was unusually competent, too, Alex and Tom being especially good; otherwise they might have made 250.

It seemed like far too many runs, especially when Matt was out early after looking in good touch. But Chris, who did not look in good touch but played extremely sensibly, kept Ian company while he gradually built a potentially match-winning innings. It was made at a run a ball but there was hardly any slogging: just singles and pulls and off-drives to the boundary when the opportunity offered. This it did quite often; Kilmington overpitched as often as we had underpitched, and their fielding was less steady. Eventually Chris got out, having contributed thirty to a partnership of well over a hundred, but Ian, playing better than ever, was supported by Kevin and was approaching his own hundred when he got a leading edge and was caught and bowled off the last ball of an over.

Kevin was bowled by the first ball of the next over. Alex C lasted three balls before he went the same way, and Tom walked past his first ball and was stumped. Four wickets for no runs had reduced us from a position of overwhelming strength to being marginal favourites if we didn't do anything silly. We needed forty-five, we had four wickets left and we had eight overs to get them in.

The hat-trick ball was a wide. Sourabh blocked the rest and he and Alex W, finally permitted his first ball having watched three wickets fall from the non-strikers end, settled down to the task. Still the run rate required was not high, and they simply took the runs available. There were several wides, some gifts and a lot of well-taken singles (Sourabh proved to be a good judge of a run), and it was all looking simple when, with a dozen or so needed, Alex was out. Simon did not last long. But Paul, tired of watching Gregory block, had claimed number 10, and marched out confidently to join Sourabh. Sourabh regained the strike with six needed but with two balls left in the penultimate over he made no contact with either.

So the last over began with Paul on strike and six still needed. The group round the scoreboard urged him to look for a single and leave it to Sourabh. Paul ignored them: the first ball was slightly short and he simply stepped across and bashed it into the roots of the ancient tree at long-on. After a pause to recover it, Paul faced again, needing only two now. The ball skidded away down the leg side; the wicket-keeper fumbled; Sourabh called for the run and got it. There was a pause. Paul, remembering the first over, looked at the umpire, who was entirely enveloped in the bowler's immense sweater. There was a wriggle and a muffled noise, like a sheep being dipped. A hand emerged; then another hand. The sweater was pushed back; the hands, free at last, signalled a wide. The umpire had been completely consistent, and we had won.


Fixtures & Results 2009

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