LAST BALL AGONY FOR 10 MAN 'BOURNE
Winterbourne agonisingly lost off the last ball to unbeaten league leaders Langley Manor II as a growing injury crisis meant they could only field 10 men.
With several other players unavailable due to injury, Will Everett (knee), Charlie Everett (broken hand) and Jamie Harvey (Hamstring) were all forced to play through their injuries, effectively meaning there were only 8 fit players in the field, with Charlie unable to field at all.
Having lost the toss, Winterbourne were asked to bat first with a completely new look to the order. Matt Newman decided to step up and open the batting with Matt Windows and the pair made the most of some short pitched bowling early on, taking the score to 27 from the first 21 balls. Windows then went to drive a wide ball from Terris but pulled out at the last minute and ended up chipping an easy catch to point to depart for 17. Newman followed 5 overs later, bowled by Hatton for a run-an-over seven.
Richard Johnson joined a very nervous looking Ed Dadd and the pair put on a fantastic 80 run partnership to put Winterbourne in complete control. The better, more mentally stable Johnson, who puts his club and team mates first, was particularly impressive, finding the boundary almost every over to keep the scoreboard ticking along at just under a run a ball. Dadd, not looking as comfortable as he did on Wednesday night, nevertheless gave great support to Johnson until he was bowled by Shepherd for 26 in the 25th over.
Manny Gurung, looking even more nervous than Dadd wasn't himself with the bat and was quickly bowled for a duck. Will Everett put on a useful 65 run partnership with Johnson to propel the score up to 188 before being caught for 24.
Jamie Harvey, batting down the order due to injury, showed immediate intent with a boundary off his first ball. But when Johnson was caught for a magnificent 98 in the next over, the Winterbourne innings started to stutter. After another boundary, Harvey tried to pull a short ball and was given out hip before wicket for ten. Mark Egan was caught for two and it was left to Andy Dunning, who played nicely for 12 not out, to help Winterbourne reach the verge of maximum points with the score on 222 with 2 balls remaining. When Hughes was bowled off the penultimate ball, Charlie Everett bravely decided to go out and bat with his broken hand in an effort to get maximum points. A dot ball, however, meant Winterbourne finished on a respectable 222-9.
Matt Newman and Ryan Hughes opened the bowling, getting Winterbourne off to a good start with just 32 runs coming from the first ten overs. They each bowled an over too many though as 25 runs came from the next two as the batsmen got use to the conditions.
Manny Gurung and Ed Dadd were brought in to the attack, with Manny picking up the vital wicket of Creswell for 44. Dadd then struck twice in his forth over, with the dangerous looking Jerram caught for 49, and then Kirby bowled for a duck with a brilliant quicker ball. At 99 for 3 off 20 overs the game was firmly in the balance.
Richard Johnson replaced Gurung after 4 overs and initially looked out of sorts with the ball, getting away with a series of short pitched balls. He soon settled in though and bowled what looked to be a match winning spell, backing up his 98 runs with four wickets to leave the opposition in trouble at 156-7 with just ten overs remaining.
Dadd kept grinding away and finished an excellent spell with 2 for 44 and then Manny returned for his remaining six overs from the Manor end. Apart from one expensive over, he bowled a brilliant spell, giving 100% as he did in the field. At the other end a decision had to be made as to whether Newman or Hughes should bowl the final overs. The skipper decided to take responsibility and it looked to be the correct decision as Tull was caught behind for 36. Twenty one runs were now needed from the final two overs with two wickets remaining. In his final over, Manny bowled a brilliant first five balls, conceding just three runs, but then agonisingly, Shepherd hit a four off the last ball as diving Dadd wasn't quite able to stop the ball going over the rope.
With 13 runs required for victory, Winterbourne were still confident of victory, even with Newman bowling the final over. Just a single came from the first ball, and then when Hatton was run out coming back for the second, 11 were needed from 4 balls, but crucially Shepherd was back on strike. Two runs came from each of the next two balls, meaning 7 were now required from two balls. All Winterbourne had to do was stop the boundary, but unbelievably Shepherd launched a flighty ball straight down the ground into the wind for six. Winterbourne were unable to stop the single needed off the final ball to give Langley Manor victory in a thrilling game, but one which left the Winterbourne players devastated afterwards in the changing room. Shepherd finished unbeaten on 40.
The growing injury crisis no doubt contributed to the defeat, but for once Winterbourne put on a magnificent display in the field to give the unbeaten leaders a fright. Just one more fit player could have made all the difference though.
In the fantasy league it's all change at the top with Joe Cunningham plummeting down to forth place and replaced at the top by "£7m for Harvey? You've got to be kidding me" managed by Matt Windows. Matt Shellum is now in second place with Ed Dadd replaced at the rear by the Super Kings. Winterbourne's most valuable player is now Ed Dadd with 399 individual points.
Next week we have another local derby away to high flying Farley.