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Bathford Vs Venturers, Wednesday May 24th

Bathford 88-6, Venturers 77

At Bathford everything is dominated by the slope. It contributes to the beautiful view, especially on such an evening as this; it gives a large advantage to the home side, who are used to it; and it makes it hard to bend and pick the ball up if you are facing down the the hill. For many of us that’s a challenge even on the flat, and when Chris tried it here he simply fell over forwards and the ball rolled past him. Bruce tidied up and not much damage was done. In general our ground fielding was sound - Chris showed how to do it on the other side, where the ground rises up to meet you.

Much of our bowling was sound, too. Ian C dropped short once and was cut for four but his swing accounted for two top-order batsmen and he made no other mistakes. Jamie was slightly less accurate but tended to beat the bat completely, moving the ball down the hill: as a result he gave away very little. Best of all was Imran, who bowled off-cutters that were supposed to cut back up the hill. Sometimes they did, and sometimes they didn’t and moved away instead. He got three wickets and was almost impossible to score off. The problem was that eight overs had to be bowled by other people and only one of those eight, Gregory’s last, was much good. Gregory dropped short sometimes and got pulled. When he did get it right the result was a soaring top edge, which he called for loudly and confidently and then dropped, nearly getting a run-out with the rebound. Bruce was unfit to bowl so Chris, who was erratic, and Ben, who hadn’t bowled in years, had a go. Ben got a wicket with a double bouncer, substantially the worst ball he bowled, which was lofted straight to Ian C at mid-on. We dropped several other catches, all fairly difficult, but because of Ian and Jamie and Imran they still had only 88.

Matt stepped across his stumps to the last ball of the first over. Kapil tried to run a straight ball to third man and missed. Jamie drove over a leg-stump half-volley. Our main chance was that Ian G would get the runs, and he did slow the over rate quite a lot by picking the thorniest hedge (inadequately defended by a couple of old pallets). We were still doing all right until just before the half-way point. Then Ben got out to an actual good ball that left him down the slope and bowled him, and Ian tried an extravagant cover-drive and dragged on. Chris and Simon struggled to runs but seemed less likely to get out than some others. There was an alarming moment when Chris pushed the ball towards Steve Dent and called for a single. Steve’s response to this insult was to splatter the stumps, so it was just as well that Simon had firmly sent Chris back. But in due course Chris also missed something ambitious, quickly followed by Ian C doing the same thing. Imran seemed like the best bet. He can bat, as he showed with a pick-up off his legs, and Simon was at last beginning to time his shots; but then Imran unaccountably checked a drive and gave midwicket a simple catch. Gregory added an absurd duck but Bruce was calm enough, and Simon now active enough, to bring the target in range. The requirement was twelve off thirteen balls when Bruce was bowled, a touch unluckily, off his pads.

Cricket bat and ball