I came, I saw, I draw...
MC's maiden 50 sees Waverley fall just short of victory.
A gloriously sunny day left most daring to dream that summer had actually arrived. Making their way to Bagshot park for a leisurely afternoon's cricket were James Wright ("Mongo"), Marcus Carmichael ("MC"), Chris Beanland ("Beanie"), Simon Brewer ("KV"), Adrian Day ("Mog"), Warren Vass ("Wozza"), Will Knox ("Ewok"), Jamie Harris ("DJ Teabag"), Matt Du Gay ("Doogs"), Peter Brewer ("Mr B") and Adam Carmichael ("AC").
The wicket at Bagshot is always a road and given that it was the hottest day of the year so far, it came as no surprise that Doogs again lost the toss and was invited to field first. Grumpy quicks Teabag and Ewok took the new ball, but the quicker bowlers had little margin for error and Bagshot openers Doyle and Dawson pushed the run rate along at a healthy clip in the opening exchanges. Doogs therefore elected to withdraw the Ewok from the attack and with both Mr B and AC vying for the same end (which had nothing at all to do with one very short leg-side boundary), age went before beauty and Mr B got the nod. He wasted no time in vindicating the skipper's decision by removing Doyle in the first over. He later saw off Derry courtesy of a catch from Mongo. Teabag was bowling well from the other end and was unlucky to end his ten over spell wicketless (although he wasn't assisted by some occasionally suspect fielding, which seemed to plague Waverley throughout the innings). Having established that slower bowling was the way to go, Doogs introduced himself into the attack. He added two further wickets to the scoreboard in consecutive overs, dispatching Dawson and Carey back to the pavilion. Some accurate bowling from all concerned had managed to curtail the home side's run rate with the score 131-4 off of 31 overs.
Mr B was withdrawn after an eleven over spell and replaced with AC, who also struck in his first over to remove Young (Teabag taking the catch). AC and Doogs continued to keep the Bagshot batsmen largely tied down and after seeing a few half chances not go to hand their perseverance was eventually rewarded: Brown attempting to loft AC over the top but holing out to Ewok. Medlock was looking well set on 42, but a pulled hamstring removed him from the equation ("how out: ravages of time" quipped MC) and when AC trapped J Nakarja LBW it seemed the Bagshot innings was wrapping up. Mog replaced Doogs at the other end and seemed to relish the role of death bowler, delivering a tight, economical spell that also yielded the wicket of B Nakarja. With one wicket required (as Medlock would not be returning), Ewok came back into the attack and had Harris caught by Beanie at point to bring the curtain down on Bagshot's innings in the final over before tea with a score of 193-9. On the hottest day of the season so far, Waverley had somehow contrived to bowl 50 overs in the time allotted.
After tea (which was exceptional and included raspberry ripple ice cream!), Mongo and MC commenced the Waverley reply. As when Waverley were bowling, Bagshot's quicker bowlers were susceptible to being tucked away to the boundary. Mongo and MC did so regularly in the opening exchanges, with MC batting with particular confidence (even out-scoring Mongo at one point). The Bagshot skipper soon employed Waverley's tactic of taking the pace off the ball and this did for Mongo - a mis-timed drive spooning up in the air and seeing him back in the hutch for 41. Beanie joined him shortly afterwards without really troubling the scorer. However, there was a keen sense of expectation surrounding MC's innings - having raced to 36, he was in the process of nudging and nurdling his way through the forties. During this time KV managed to blast a quick-fire 20 before he was out caught Harris, bowled Dawson (and was put on suicide watch as a precaution). After what seemed like an eternity, MC eventually punched a flighted delivery to the mid-wicket boundary and thus brought up his much-anticipated maiden half-century.
Alas, he was stumped in the very next over off the bowling of Atkinson and when Wozza was castled by the next ball, there was a growing sense of unease that Waverley were about to suffer yet another season-defining batting collapse. When Ewok was bowled by a delivery that turned a mile from outside leg stump, Waverley's chase seemed in jeopardy at 127-6 and only nine overs remaining until the close of play. However and apparently enjoying the freedom of batting at number five, Mog left his teammates wondering if they had ingested a narcotic substance at tea - channelling his inner calypso cricketer, he broke out two reverse sweeps and smeared the ball over the square-leg boundary for six on his way to a score of 33. Although he was eventually caught, his knock managed to put Waverley but in touch with the required rate with three overs to go. Teabag and Doogs got the visitors up to 187 but with three balls remaining, Doogs was bowled by Atkinson. Mr B scrambled a single and with five needed for victory off the last ball, Teabag was unable to find the boundary - a pulsating encounter therefore ended in a draw.
The Man of the Match Hat was awarded to MC for his fifty runs, with honourable mentions to Waverley's bowlers. Doogs was going to self-award the *Anchor Hat for an inexplicable drop off Ewok's bowling, until it was pointed out that KV had dropped one off the skipper's bowling - a Hat was therefore hastily re-awarded to KV. As for the Pink T-shirt, that found its way to Ewok following accusations of canoodling with his girlfriend and not leaving the house until he made himself "smell nice". The source of those accusations? His own father. Who says blood is thicker than water...