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Venturers vs Rode Sunday September 6th

Rode 162 Venturers 163-7

Saurabh's first contribution was not a success. The ball was hit straight to him by one of the Rode openers, not very hard, at about shin height; but he thought it was at knee height, and dropped it. It was the second of seven catches we dropped (three hard, two easy, three in between) and it meant that with twenty on the board we had already put down both openers.

One opener was then bowled half-leaving a nip-backer from Nigel. He departed looking much aggrieved, but he had seen Nigel bring it back before. Then Matt's excellent catch, back-pedalling frantically at mid-off in the next over, meant that Saurabh's miss didn't cost much. But we now had a dangerously competent pair of brothers in. We dropped both of them, too, in the same over from Gregory, but both chances were very hard; also in that over, the umpire's gesture to indicate that the ball was going down leg side led Alex to think that Gregory had won an LBW decision. At the other end, Nigel did win a caught-behind decision: the batsman yelled "pad! pad!" at the umpire and was reprieved. This was correct in that it was indeed pad only, and in fact Richard, keeping wicket, had already begun to disclaim the catch; but it is not acceptable for the batsman to attempt to influence the unpire's decision, and Matt told him so. Gregory's next over was startlingly awful and Matt removed him from the attack. Saurabh replaced him, and Rode reached drinks at around 90-2.

Three figures were on the board shortly afterwards, when Saurabh bowled the reprieved brother; two balls later another dangerous batsman was tricked into going at the ball with firm hands and edged a catch to Nigel at slip. Alex, who had been erratic, found his line but had no luck; but it didn't matter, because soon afterwards Saurabh, bowling very well indeed, again took two wickets in an over. When Richard stumped the other brother Saurabh had taken five wickets for ten, and personally demolished the Rode innings. He and Alex ran out of overs after that, but Charlie and a reprogrammed Gregory snapped off the tail, helped by better catching from Matt (three in the innings) and the two Robinsons, Tom and Kevin.

We, or rather Saurabh, had bowled Rode out an over or two short of the forty, and tea wasn't ready; so we went out for five overs. This was enough time for Nigel to make a bright start and Matt to run himself out; we were slight favourites at the interval. But straight afterwards both Robinsons got bowled for ducks, Tom getting something that pitched middle and hit the top of off. Into this crisis came Simon D, who stopped the rot. He only made a dozen, but they were invaluable runs; he saw off much of Rode's most dangerous bowler and provided the solidity that Nigel needed in order to attack again at the other end. The run rate wobbled but never collapsed. Nigel's luck ran out in the forties, but with Richard and Alex to come we were not beaten yet. When Simon was out, though, it all seemed to depend on those two. Around this time the situation improved when we looked at their innings in the scorebook and discovered that the target of 168 that was on the board was simply wrong: we had bowled them out for 162. Even that was still seventy runs away; but we had time, and Richard was beginning to look comfortable. Alex was not, though he played some good shots; but it wasn't a complete surprise when he got out with nearly fifty still needed. Adam followed quickly; and Saurabh went out to join Richard.

They took their time. Saurabh was very calm at the crease: he took two runs of his first ball and faced another fourteen before he scored again. But he was very jumpy at the non-striker's end, and Richard chose to ignore his calling and do it all himself for a while. It wasn't fluent; there were edges and four leg-byes, and assorted other scratchy runs; but gradually the target came into view. Not very distinct view: it was getting quite dark in the September evening. Charlie and Gregory practiced their batting, making themselves and everyone else nervous. The overs also ticked by, but we always seemed to have just enough of them. A couple of edges, an more confident four from Richard, and we needed only six off the last two overs. Saurabh had one big swing before he remembered that he didn't need to do that; and he and Richard ticked the runs down until Saurabh, appropriately, pushed the winning single through mid-wicket with three balls to spare.

Fixtures & Results 2009

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