ST. AULAYE v EYMET, Sunday 14th May 2017 ..featuring the Human Lighthouse
Despite the absence of couple of regulars, Eymet travelled with confidence to the pretty ground of Chenaud. After rain on Saturday, the sun came out to greet the players. David Horlock promptly lost the toss and was invited to bat. Eymet posted over 200 and still lost.
How was this possible?
Ed Nicholson and David marched out to meet St. Aulaye’s army of bendy-armed swingers. The new ball was getting a bit of bounce at the road end and, before long, David followed one into keeper Nott’s gloves. Two overs later, Nigel Jones slapped a drive straight into the hand of a surprised but delighted short cover. At the other end, Ed looked solid but punctuated defence with a couple of lofted drives. Ahmed Jewel had spent the winter working out in the gym and contented himself watching Ed’s strokeplay at first. Then, he too, began to loft, not just off the front foot but the back foot too. The lush outfield made fours hard to come by but Ed and Ahmed both cleared the ropes with some fine hitting. Ed also pleased the classicists with his trademark ‘off the hip’ shots. But the drinks break got the better of Ed, and on 43, he was deceived by Nott’s first ball (the polyvalent keeper having taken off his pads). He and Ahmed had steered Eymet into the safer waters of 95 off 18 overs. Cameos followed from Numan and Richard Brown, but Ahmed was the man, imperiously slapping all comers into the long grass. In all, he hit five sixes and six fours. Struggling with his hamstrings at the end, he eventually departed for a fine 80. The bench, in between following the Crystal Palace score by the minute, was willing him on to a deserved hundred. They had the consolation of Palace remaining in the Premier League.
By this time, Eymet had progressed to 183 off 31. However, as often happens, the loss of a key player can swing the pendulum the other way. St. Aulaye had one or two bowlers with a bit of pace and Eymet’s innings fell away at the end, tailing off at 209. Again, the bench roared as apprentice batsmen Mr. Roland ‘Sausage’ Marshall crashed a boundary in the last over. Eymet were feeling relatively comfortable with 200 on the board.
Skipper Horlock knew that the key would be not allowing the St. Aulaye big hitters to get into their stri
de. The Numan Express opened the bowling, striving for pace. The batsmen were intimidated but at the expense of several extras. Nigel started tidily enough at the road end and was rewarded with Zain’s wicket as he took a liberty and was snaffled by Ed’s expensive new keeping gloves. New boy, Enayet, and Tim Chancellor took over bowling duties. Unfortunately, this is where Daniel Nott and Bilal Mian did hit their stride. Bilal in particular, struck the ball ferociously hard and St. Aulaye raced from 18 for 1 off 4 to 104 at drinks off 15 overs. Chances were not taken and the onslaught continued after the break until David brought back Numan. Fast and straight, Numan had Nott lbw, then a brace of catches for Ed removing captain Clulee and Wali. Some hope was restored as St. Aulaye stumbled. Enayet executed a fine throw from the deep, combining with bowler Owais Mohammed to run out ‘Andy’. Waqar tried to whack his way out of trouble but only succeeded in picking out the tall frame of Richard Brown, waiting patiently like a human lighthouse on the boundary. He held a magnificent, steepling catch off Owais. St. Aulaye must have been worried as they were now 160 for 6. There were plenty of overs left but everyone knew the dénouement would come before 40 overs. With Numan bowled out Nigel returned to the fray and attempted to dry up the runs. An impatient Irfan couldn’t wait and chipped Nigel into the gully – 179 for 7. Sadly the wickets just wouldn’t come and Mian had decided to use the overs rather than hit out. Anti-climactically, the first ball of the 37th over drifted past for Eymet’s 21st wide and the game was over.
Was 209 enough? Not sure – St. Aulaye are a good chasing side. The rub of the green didn’t go Eymet’s way , with balls dropping just short of fielders and the stumps being shaved on a few occasions. However, the bowling was profligate in terms of sundries and the partnership of Nott and Mian was decisive, adding 127 in 20 overs.
RESULT: Eymet lose by 3 wickets. EYMET 209 for 9 off 40 overs (A.Jewel 80, E.Nicholson 43, Ehsan 4-24)
ST.AULAYE 210 for 7 off 36.1 overs (B. Mian 81*, N. Nott 63, Numan 3-36, N.Jones 2-27)
EYMET: D.Horlock, E.Nicholson, N.Jones, A.Jewel, Numan, R.Brown, O.Mohammed, T.Smith, R.Marshall, Enayet, T.Chancellor.