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South Wraxall vs Venturers Sunday August 2nd

South Wraxal 145-5 Venturers 110-8

The combination of uncontrolled dogs and a great mire suggested something out of Conan Doyle, but the pitch was at least sort of playable. By the time Gregory and Richard C arrived, having taken the wrong tiny lane, we were already playing. Paul and Matt were almost impossible to score off and for a long time the rate was barely above one an over. But on the very slow pitch not much went past the bat, though Inderjeet got a hand but no more on a slightly miscued drive off Paul. The openers were a left-hander of some seniority who has made many runs against us in the past and a young right-hander, who was the author of the miscued drive and a couple of other unwise shots. The left-hander coached him carefully from the nonstriker's end and then ran him out, calling for an imaginary single to Tom, who hit the stumps although he didn't have to. This brought the left-hander's right-handed son in, and he had an escape early on, just getting a ball from Inderjeet over Matt's head. This was expensive because he played gradually better as the innings went on and was only removed when Paul flattened his middle stump with the last ball of all.

Inderjeet, who struggled with the wet runups, and Gregory were not so economical as Matt and Paul, but Gregory removed the left-hander in his first over with one that turned just enough to find the edge of the bat and allow Roger, who had stayed down, to take a sharp catch. An edge off Inderjeet dropped just short of Richard G. The new batsman was another left-hander, brother of the well-known Hamish: they worked out that it was best for him to take Inderjeet and the right-hander to take Gregory and bash his occasional full tosses. When Gregory did get a few balls at the left-hander he tried bowling him a leg-break: it was a long hop, but the batsman pushed it helpfully into Simon's hands. Hamish arrived in person, was nearly run out by Inderjeet, was dropped three times (two difficult, one easy) and then gave Chris Middup a catch off Matt: fortunately Chris was able to find a dry island to stand on while he took it and avoid sinking into the mire when the ball arrived. Simon bowled well at times but was hampered by the very slow pitch: he, with Matt and Paul returning at the end prevented any mayhem in the final overs.

We didn't find it any easier than they had to get runs early on. Richard hit a pull hard, stood to watch it go, and had to run an embarrassed single instead when it sank about four yards from the boundary. Tom never got going and mistimed one to cover after about three overs, leaving Richard and Matt to try to steady us. This they did, perhaps rather too much. They dealt well with the good balls, but the bad ones (there were a few) were usually pushed for one or two rather than walloped for four. This, and the fact that we bowled rather more bad balls, probably made all the difference in the end. Having seen off the opening bowlers, Richard tried to pull a very short ball that made a noise like a small wave breaking against a wooden post when it pitched, and struck him on the ankle. Roger made his first runs on this ground for three years and ran aggressively, but also couldn't get the ball to the boundary. Even so, we arrived at the last ten overs needing a run a ball with wickets in hand; but then Roger was splendidly caught at cover and the final collapse had begun. The man who had made all the runs also took all the wickets at the end: Chris and Inderjeet both missed attempted swings at straight balls (they had little choice) and when Richard C and Charlie tried a more cautious approach, Richard missed and was bowled and Charlie didn't and was caught at slip. Finally Matt also perished trying for quick runs, after a hard-earned fifty, and Paul and Simon had far too much to do.

Fixtures & Results 2009

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