You quite often get eccentric games when under strength teams lock horns and some can be a bit of a waste of time; but Sunday at Englefield Green was an absolute humdinger. With only 8 players and KP unable to join the fray until half way through, EGCC were very decent and gave us one of theirs so that in theory at least 9 played 10. Agreement was reached that the hosts should bat first and so they did and Rowey was unlucky not to take a wicket in his first over, Adam dropping the opener. Englefield's progress was serene until the reprieved batsman agreeably lofted James to our guest fielder at mid off. That success apart, James was struggling to find his length (oooh Matron!) and with Rowey sealing up one end, our guest bowled four overs of swinging left arm round and took two wickets: one to a cracking catch to James running round from mid off to mid on. Pressure started to build and with Rowey taking a blow after 8 overs for bugger all, Jamie and Rory "Brother of Paddy" Sutton took over with the ball. Jamie looked to be returning to form, taking 1 for 19 and Rory, returning to the game after 5 years, looked to have real potential. Great fielding and catching from Jase, Jamie twice and James again, prevented EGCC from racking up the runs they should have and Rowey brought himself back on to close the innings with figures of 14 overs, 26 runs and 4 wickets...all this with six outfielders! A phenomenal performance, the highlight of which was very nearly a flying one handed catch by Andrew at square leg. 146 was the total and with even 9 players it should have been possible: Jamie got of to a cracking start before playing down the wrong line, James followed for a duck to the same bowler, and then an untroubled KP ran himself out after a direct hit...31/3. Jase and Rory steadied the ship with a partnership of 49 before Rory was given the Finger of Death by Jamie and Jase chipped one to fine leg. 63 needed with 3 wickets in hand and it wasn't looking good. But Rowey capped a superb all round performance with a blistering 31, supported by our guest and then by Andrew. With overs not the issue and with the two openers back on, it was still looking feasible until Rowey was bowled playing across the line to a slower delivery. 12 needed with the last pair in: Adam, under strict instructions not to go to the other end ("he's quick, he's full, he's straight...you won't last two seconds"), squirted two runs to square leg and with the benefit of lucrative extras, the scores were tied with Andrew facing the threatening opener: the next ball missed his bat, cut back in and clipped the off stump...the bail stayed put and the ball sped off for 4 byes...job done! A great game, conceding only 146 off 36 overs with 6 outfield players, superb fielding by all and a great performance by Rowey as skipper and as player, keeping the rest of us focused and full of belief.
Rowey writes: Boys
Exciting game yesterday and really proud of the team who chased 147 after restricting Englefield to 146, with great fielding. We took 6 catches on a ground where we grassed 6 last season – fantastic turnaround.
It was a great team effort and it really annoyed the opposition who showing great sportsmanship gave us one of their players to make it 9 against 10.