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Venturers Vs Railway Tavern, Sunday June 11th

Venturers 186 - 7, Railway Taverners 148 all out

At 4pm on Friday, our team sheet read: Matt, Bruce, Steve Dent, Oliver Gibson, Mark (from Broughton Gifford) The Railway Taverners are a touring side from London, so we had to get a team out. A few frantic emails and texts got us up to 9, thanks to Ian C, Jamie, Alex (from Broughton Gifford) and Will (Alex from Broughton Gifford’s mate).

Some of the Taverners were a little bit worse for wear after a long weekend of cricket and pubs, and their captain was keen to keep the match short; we agreed to play 35 overs a side and bring in the boundary, although not quite as far as he wanted.

They won the toss and chose to bowl. From one end a left armer bowled quickly and mostly accurately, although Alex (from Broughton Gifford) and Will (Alex from Broughton Gifford’s mate) played him well. The bowlers from the other end were slower and less accurate; Alex and Will looked in no trouble and started clocking up runs at a decent rate.

Eventually Alex got frustrated and was bowled, to be replaced by Mark (from Broughton Gifford). He and Will carried on in much the same way, competently defending the good balls and putting the bad balls away. After a while Mark was caught and replaced by Matt, who kept Will company for a while as he made it to 50 and beyond. Matt, too, was caught trying to accelerate off an innocuous-looking bowler called Tony, and Jamie came in.

By this time we were on 134 off 27 overs, and with only 3 wickets down Will decided to put his foot down. He hit a few more fours and was on 79 when he too tried to hit Tony out of the park, and was caught. This launched a trademark Venturers mini-collapse, as Ian also fell to the increasing occuous Tony - who now had figures of 4-0-6-3 - and Ollie and Steve were bowled in consecutive balls by the returning quick left armer.

Thankfully last man Bruce calmly pushed the hat-trick ball for a single to third man, and from there on Jamie took over. He farmed the bowling expertly and hit regular boundaries, making 39 not out including two huge sixes in the final over to spoil Tony’s figures. We finished on 186-7.

Ian and Jamie opened the bowling and for 9 overs we looked almost like a proper cricket team, albeit one with 10 players (the Taverners had lent us a fielder). Ian picked up one of their openers and ran out the other. Jamie was quick and accurate but didn’t get the rewards.

Bruce and Ollie came on at the wrong time, as the Taverners’ two best players - the left armer and the captain (who liked hitting fours and sixes a lot more than running between the wickets, perhaps explaining why he wanted the boundaries brought in) - began to cut loose. Ollie bowled a mix of good balls and nonsense, and one of the nonsense balls was smashed back towards him by the left armer. Ollie plucked it out of the air like he was picking apples, and took a more orthodox wicket, caught at backward point, next ball too.

This left their captain playing more or less a lone hand, and after hitting several more boundaries he eventually hit Mark straight to Will at deep midwicket. A couple more run outs from Ollie, who couldn’t keep out of the action on his Venturers debut, another wicket for Mark, and one for Steve who somehow bowled their best remaining batter by nutmegging him, meant we wrapped up their innings with 5 overs to spare.

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