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Venturers Vs Bristol Academicals, Tuesday June 27th

Bristol Academicals 151-4, Venturers 80-8


The usual pitch was newly marked out on the second square but we had been told at the start of the season that we would be on the first square unless told otherwise, so we used the marked pitch there: the outfield seemed to have been mown more recently, too. This may have been the wrong thing: partway through the match, somebody turned up to lock the changing room, believing that there was no match on. This turned out to be our fault.

Perhaps there shouldn’t have been a match on. There were drops earlier but the rain began to fall, gently, during the second over and the left-hander risked a second run to Simon and didn’t make it. A second left-hander nearly repeated the mistake and then fell over, perhaps slipping on the wet grass. As he fell, Jack’s filthy full toss clouted him on the knee and he was remorselessly given out. Now we had two competent right-handers to bowl at, both with a marked prefernce for the leg side but playing straight, not across the line. They got after Sunny and Jack a bit, but Gregory’s leg-stump line mostly kept them quiet. As it drifted outside leg quite a lot, a more stringent definition of wide might have forced a change of strategy. At the other end, Abdul lost his length a bit and was hit for a few sixes, but bowled the opener with one that came in from outside off. The other batsman miscued Abdul, but Kapil at mid-off found the wet ball slipping out of his hands in the by now steady rain. The new batsman did hit across the line and Gregory bowled him immediately. The rain lightened just as we were thinking of going off.

The partnership that followed lasted most of the rest of the innings, and was very effective. Abdul got hit about quite a lot. Gregory spoilt his figures with two full tosses, neither of them anything to do with the wet ball. Bruce gave away five wides, which probably did have something to do with the wet ball, but eventually broke through with a well-directed off-cutter. Chris contributed a couple of reasonable overs, but somewhere they had acquired 151, which was going to take a lot of getting.

Sunny was close to being leg before to the first ball of the innings. He skied the seventh ball, a full toss, to square leg, who dropped it, and skied the eleventh ball, a long hop, to midwicket, who didn’t. As Sunny is by far the most destructive batman we have that was a major setback. We kept moving steadily but slightly too slowly, losing wickets to bad balls at intervals. Jack top-edged a long hop to fine leg. Charlie hit over a half volley. Ian plinked a full toss to cover. Matt was bowled off his hip by a short ball that had been heading well down leg. Kapil, using the new bat, was out to a respectable ball: he pushed it to short midwicket and ran. Ian sent him back, but it was no good. It wasn’t that they bowled lots of bad balls: they didn’t. It was just that, whenever they did bowl one, we found a way to get out to it. There was one bowler who did bowl quite a lot of bad balls, but he suddenly produced a good one and bowled Abdul with it. Before that, Abdul had survived a mid-pitch collision with Simon: later, Chris was caught by a leaping extra cover. Gregory, carrying the new bat but not actually using it, and Simon quietly played out the last few balls while Bruce wiped the rainwater from his glasses and hoped not to be needed.

Cricket bat and ball