Waverley hold their nerve
Nine wins in a row as low-scoring game ends in victory...
A late improvement in the weather meant that Waverley were able to make the long trip to Elsted, West Sussex, on the penultimate weekend of the season. Adrian Day ("Mog"), Chris Beanland ("Beanie"), Nick Hales ("The Greek"), Simon Brewer ("KV"), Russ Golding ("Raoul"), Andy Du Gay ("Daddy Doogs"), Sam Tempest ("Troy"), Peter Brewer ("Mr B"), Laura Brewer ("Loz"), Adam Carmichael ("AC") and Matt Du Gay ("Doogs") were looking to maintain what is probably an unprecedented winning streak in the club's history.
Having given every indication that he would bat first, Doogs promptly lost the conversation and was invited to field first in this 35 over game. With Troy arriving late with work commitments, Doogs selected Raoul to operate as the second grumpy quick with the new ball. It only took three overs for Waverley to make the breakthrough, a snorter from Doogs castling T Wadey. Raoul was generating plenty of movement through the air and he also got his name in the book, bowling Wadey snr. With 14 overs gone and thanks to some tight bowling from the opening pair, Elsted were maintaining a run rate of just 2.5 an over. AC and Mr B were introduced into the attack and with the pressure on to score runs, a mistake was inevitable. When Simpson patted the ball back to AC and set off for a suicidal single, either batsman could have been run out by a country mile... but AC made a complete mess of the throw and both made it to ground safely. Not that this cost Waverley as Mr B struck in the next over, inducing an edge behind to KV. AC then set about making amends for his earlier fielding faux pas - J Wadey fell to an excellent reflex catch by KV and in his next over, another edge brought a third catch KV's way. With fourteen overs to go in the innings, Elsted were 67-5.
With Troy now present and accounted for, he replaced AC at the end of his spell and kept the pressure on the hosts. He added to his haul for the season when a heave from McMullen looped straight up into the air for a simple return catch. Mr B's economic spell also came to an end and with his first ball, Daddy Doogs picked up a wicket - Barnard trapped plumb in front attempting an ill-advised reverse sweep. Loz was introduced for a one over cameo at the death, but her flighted, looping deliveries were unable to find a way through. With the innings completed, Waverley had restricted Elsted to slightly more than three an over and needed just 115 to win.
An excellent tea followed and whilst one or two were caught out by the cheese and marmite sandwiches, Doogs managed to mistake jam and butter for brie and cranberry (#middleclassproblems). Suitably refreshed, Mog and Beanie set about reducing the arrears. However and as the previous week's match at Hindhead shows, Waverley seem to have difficulty when it comes to chasing down modest totals. Although the start wasn't quite as disastrous as at Hindhead, Waverley still found themselves 17-2 after eight overs (Beanie and Mog succumbing early on). A partnership was desperately needed and the coming together of The Greek and KV saw the visitors take back the initiative. KV in particular was pushing the run rate along nicely, finding the boundary at regular intervals as well as notching up the only six of the game. However, one big shot too many saw the ball loop up into the air to be pouched by the Elsted keeper, KV back in the hutch with 42 and bringing to an end a productive partnership of 58. At 75-4 and with The Greek and Raoul at the crease, Waverley were still in a good position with plenty of overs to spare. But they were dealt a further setback when The Greek was sent back to the pavilion for 27, courtesy of a catch straight out of the top drawer near the deep mid-wicket boundary. Daddy Doogs joined Raoul at the crease and Waverley continued edging towards the victory target - then, with the score 112 and with three needed for victory, a Waverley wobble. First, Daddy Doogs was caught while on 9. Then in the next over, Raoul took a walk and was stumped on 14. However, with only three runs required all it needed was an experienced head - step up Mr B and with a single from Troy having taken Waverley to within two runs of victory, Mr B cut the ball through point to bring the visitors a ninth successive victory, with two overs to spare.
The Man of the Match Hat went to KV for his vital innings with the bat (and three good catches with the gloves), with the *Anchor Hat going to Beanie for a) diving over the ball and b) admitting that this was to avoid running after it. Raoul was awarded the Pink T-shirt for drinking Rosé wine the previous evening. Waverley spent the rest of the evening basking in the glow of victory, only for Beanie to announce that he had to leave "because it's mud-pack night". Was it wise to admit that in the presence of three members of the Hat Committee? Only time will tell...