Victory by a whisker!
Due to a waterlogged pitch our Thursday evening fixture away at Liphook and Ripsley was switched to Elstead to play on Anthony’s finely manicured pitch. Elstead won the toss in the early evening gloom and Ben, captain for the day elected to bat. First in was Rafa and Elliot, Rafa was still readying himself as the first ball came down at pace and removed the bails, although disappointed, his innings wasn’t over as he was to return as 11th man later to make a valuable contribution. Within minutes of the match re-commencing the heavens opened, Elliot and Ben ably batting through the rain and drizzle carried the score to 28 until in the 5th over when Ben was bowled by Liphook's Tommy for 11 runs. Will joined Elliot at the crease, the pair eventually retiring on a first innings total of 8 and 6, before coming into bat for a second innings. Sam H and Archie came in for their innings, surviving a couple of overs without adding dramatically to the score before being caught and bowled respectively. Peter and Robbie hung around, not adding greatly to the score as Mark (caught) and Kieran (bowled) were both dismissed. Rafas moment returned and we saw some excellent strokes, him knocking an elegant 10 before being bowled by Liphook’s Max, the score ticking along as much due to a spell on late wayward bowling, gifting Elstead numerous wides and no balls. Elliot had a quick second knock, taking his total to 16, and it was left to Will and Peter to see out the innings, both carrying their bat for 12 and 3 runs. The batting total of 55 was aided and abetted by 31 extras from Liphook’s bowlers, as the total concluded on 86 for 8 off all 20 overs.
Although a good total Elstead knew they would have to keep it tight in the return innings and all started well, with the opening pair only managing to take the total to 7 following the conclusion of their opening batting spell of 4 overs, following tight bowling spells by Will and Sam. James, their new batsman was run out off Rafas bowling for a golden duck, and although Alex retired on 7, two further wickets fell in relatively short succession. Nick was bowled by Ben, and Dillon was splendidly run out by Elliot of Wills bowling. By the halfway stage Liphook were behind the run rate on 24 for 3 compared to Elstead’s 44 for 3. The score bumped along to the 13th over when another wicket fell with the score on 33 when Liphook’s Ben was run out by a great throw from Elstead’s Ben off Archies bowling. Then the tide turned. Liphook found a new found belief, aided by a spate of Elstead careless no balls and wides the score surged forwards. Luke was spectacularily caught by the inspired Peter off his own bowling, and Peter was in the thick of it again, running out Tommy off Kieran’s bowling with an excellent throw to the stumps. Smelling the opportunity of an upset, the returning Liphook openers seized their chance to see the match out. Archie was the star, picking off runs at a regular interval, taking his unbeaten total to 27, abetted by Anthony on 9. As the final over began, Liphook needed 11 to win. With Ben bowling, first ball they scampered a quick 2, a dot ball was followed by 2 immaculate 4’s from Archie. 1 run needed from 2 balls. Had Elstead blown it? With nerves of steel Captain Ben strode up to the wicket to deliver 2 perfect unplayable balls, to Liphook’s best batsman, Archie, leaving him dreaming of what could have been. A thrilling game played by 2 equally matched sides. Plaudits for the bowling go to Will with a truely epic 1 wicket for 3 runs from 3 overs (18 balls!), Peter with figures of 1 wicket, 2 overs for 4 runs, Rafa and Archie also bowling well, donning just 6 and 7 runs for their 2 overs for a wicket apiece. Elstead used 10 bowlers in this exciting victory, showing what strength in depth the team has. Congratulations to debutants Kieran, Sam L, Peter, Mark, and Robbie who all equally contributed to the victory. Excellent captaincy by Ben, and hungry fielding by the entire team, carried out in a fantastic spirit epitomised this thrilling victory.
Elstead 86 for 8 off 20 overs
Liphook & Ripsley 85 for 5 off 20 overs
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