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Venturers Vs BaNES, Tuesday June 19th

BaNES 107-5, Venturers 90-7

If your first boundary in a 20-over match is in the nineteenth over, you don’t usually win. Ours was, and we didn’t. Our bowlers had done all right but not collectively especially well. A dune had been spread on the outfield, making it very slow, and now that last week’s opponents had gone back to London the boundaries had been reset to a sensible, or perhaps long, distance. There were quite a few threes.

Tom had some trouble with his run-up and bowled a few no-balls and a couple of wild ones before settling into his usual rhythm. Both openers seemed very competent, but Tom bowled one of them, breaking a bail. He was replaced by a fan of Johnny Bairstow, who had the red hair and the huge swing of the bat but not the footwork, making him very vulnerable to anything full and straight. Ian C beat him repeatedly outside off. Ian often beats people outside off. It doesn’t do him much good. He needs to bowl slightly worse to get the wickets he deserves. Already the self-tampering pink ball was starting to look like an unsatisfactory cake, although in the dry conditions the pink layer didn’t peel off entirely.

Jamie soon produced the required yorker and continued to bowl well, but Gregory, while not actually bad, wasn’t consistent and therefore gave away a few more runs than we would have liked. Jamie finished off with two wickets with his last two balls, both bowled, and Johnathan’s well-judged catch at midwicket gave Gregory one with his last ball, but we never did remove the other opener. We thought we had run him out near the end, but it wasn’t clear and he only faced three more balls after that, doing nothing in particular with them. Bruce, in the death bowling role in which he now specialises, and Johnathan stopped any serious acceleration.

The early part of our innings was dominated by the campaign to run out Chris Middup. Jamie made the first attempt, by running the ball to gully and calling for a single, though it wasn’t there and it was Chris’s call. But the fieldsman fumbled. Then Jamie had a wild waft at a straight ball so it was left to Johnathan to elevate the campaign into Wolstenholme territory. His initial method was similar to Jamie’s, pushing to backward point and setting off, but he added the refinement of only calling once he was a third of the way down the pitch. This time the fieldsman did not fumble, and we had both batsmen at the same end, but the wicketkeeper did fumble. A few long seconds passed while he looked for the ball and Chris waited patiently to be run out, standing four yards out of what had been his ground but was now implacably occupied by Johnathan. Eventually the wicketkeeper found the ball and Chris walked off. Next over the same thing happened again, but Ian G knew what to expect and is very fast, so there was no second run-out. Not yet.

Johnathan was looking quite good otherwise, and was perhaps a little unlucky to get out the way he did, well caught low down by the wicketkeeper off an inside edge. Before that, Ian became the first of us to hit the ball off the square, where it immediately buried itself in the sand. Rob seemed uncomfortable and mistimed a drive, giving a simple catch to the bowler, and Tom started carefully. At the halfway point we were 17 for 4.

Nine an over from there on was obviously far too much. Ian and Tom managed about five, which would have been all right if we had done it from the start, but it was too late. Five overs later Tom got a good ball. That we got as close as we did was due to a quixotic decision to give a bowl to someone who bowled double-bouncers half the time. These are now no-balls (to the annoyance of Bruce, who is occasionally prone to bowling them) so the two overs he sent down contained seventeen deliveries and cost 33. It was a measure of how far behind we were that our cause was still hopeless. Ian did at least hit some of them for four. Simon got run out, beaten by a good throw on a reasonable second, and Ian C missed a tuck to leg, so Ian G, who made half our runs, and Steve saw out the last few balls.

Cricket bat and ball