DROPPED CATCHES LOSE MATCHES
At least it hasn't been difficult thinking of headlines over the last few weeks as yet again a series of dropped catches cost Winterbourne victory at Farley.
Earlier in the week, Winterbourne played what they thought was a masterful tactic by forcing Matt Newman to play through an injury on Wednesday night which ruled him out of Saturday's local showdown. It meant that semi-pro Liam Fletcher could come into the side at the top of the order and give some much needed impetus.
With Jamie Harvey taking temporary charge, all players were instructed to get to the ground early in order to do some much needed catching practice (see photo for proof). The previous games had seen some diabolical drops in the field, particularly off Chris Breeze which lead to a brief spell of retirement. With Breezey back, it was important not to make him grumpy again, and after half an hour of outstanding fielding drills where not a catch went down, Winterbourne were confident they could now hold onto the ball when it came down to a match situation.
The test was going to come sooner rather than later as Harvey ignored his team-mate's advice and called tails at the toss, and was promptly asked to field first in the searing heat by Farley skipper Mike Covill.
Manny Gurung and Ryan Hughes opened the bowling and both bowled a tidy opening spell conceding three runs an over but failing to make any breakthrough.
With no wicket forthcoming, Manny was replaced by Breeze after 4 overs, with everyone praying that we could keep him happy by not dropping any catches. In his second over came the moment everyone had been waiting for as Covill chipped an easy catch up to mid on.....only for it to go down, and a roar echoed around the ground from Mr Grumpy. It was unbelievable after practicing so well that still in a match situation, we were unable to take our catches. Breeze had no one else to blame a couple of overs later when he put down a caught and bowled chance as Brown drove one hard straight back at him. Covill was then dropped a further four times in what is now becoming an absolute farce in the field, and the score progressed onto 100 without loss from 25 overs.
Winterbourne were happy to keep the run rate relatively low on such a small ground but their inability to take catches was once again going to cost them the game. Breeze eventually bowled Covill for 47 in his 9th over, and when Simeon Douse replaced him, Churchill took a fancy to his bowling, smashing 16 off his first five balls. With the captain about to make an instant change, Douse bowled Churchill for a rapid 28 off his final ball and then had Brown stumped/run out in his next over for 67.
Winterbourne were now right back in the game, and after a wicketless but decent 6 overs from Ed Dadd, Manny was brought back for two short sharp overs. It paid dividends as he trapped B J Cole LBW for naught to put Farley in trouble at 149-4 off 31 overs.
Dadd was brought back and immediately took the wicket of James Melhorn for 3, but this brought man of the match Ted Glanvill to the crease who took the game away from 'Bourne with some fine hitting, ably backed up by Jon Burton. The pair took Farley from a mediocre looking score right up to 239 in a superb 6th wicket partnership of 85 in 12 overs. Glanvill eventually departed for 57 as a catch was finally taken to give the returning Hughes a well deserved wicket. Manny bowled Waters in the final over as Farley posted 251 for 7 after their 45 overs. Burton finished unbeaten on 38 but the poor catching meant that Winterbourne were chasing at least 50 runs more than they should be.
With a strong batting order on a small ground, Winterbourne fancied their chances and got off to the perfect start as Jamie Harvey and Liam Fletcher put on a one hundred run opening partnership. Fletcher was superb, latching on to anything loose and allowing Harvey to unusually forget about scoring runs and just concentrate on preserving his wicket. When Fletcher brought up his 50 in the 9th over, Harvey was only on 13, but with Winterbourne going along at 7 runs an over, all they had to do was keep wickets in hand.
Winterbourne played out the opening bowlers with apparent ease, and when Owen and Waters came on, it looked no different as the score passed the one hundred mark in only the 16th over. The chanceless opening partnership came to an end the over after drinks as Harvey was bowled by a decent ball through the gate off Waters for 32.
Matt Windows continued the momentum, at last making use of those biceps to find the boundary on three occasions, including a six, but the game changed in the 26th over when Fletcher attempted a cut off B J Cole and was caught behind for a magnificent 87.
Charlie Everett was also caught behind for 6, and Windows was eventually LBW for 35, but by this time the score had progressed to 192-4 with 12 overs still remaining. Five runs an over and six wickets in hand should be plain sailing, especially when Ed Dadd took a fancy to Jake Hand, and only 38 runs were required from 8 overs.
Ted Glanvill returned for what would eventually be a match winning spell, bowling Dadd behind his legs for 20. Simeon Douse put on 18 runs with Gurung and only 21 runs were now needed from the last 4 overs.
What happened next was totally unbelievable as firstly Douse was caught behind for 9 and then Ali Byrne was bowled to death by Glanvill first ball. With Manny running out of partners, the pressure was firmly on him, despite being joined by Ryan Hughes who still claims he can bat.
The unthinkable started to become a reality when Manny was bowled for a fine 38. Twelve runs were needed from the final two overs, but Mr Grumpy was on strike and just to make him even more miserable, a ball from Glanvill flew off a length into his eye, swelling up and rendering him unable to see. He soldiered on, only to watch Hughes bowled by Cole in the final over, and Winterbourne's misery was complete when Ed Bartlett was bowled first ball. Glanvill's second spell of 5 overs 4 for 17 had torn the Winterbourne lower order apart and won the game for Farley, along with his 57 with the bat. Winterbourne had collapsed from 231-5 to 241 all out. It was an unbelievable ending which even left many of the Farley players in shock at how they had won.
With three close losses against the top sides, Winterbourne now face some of the lower placed teams in the league so will be looking to get back to winning ways. Chances of rain next week?? Inevitable.
In the fantasy league, it was a great week for Ganesh's Super Kings as the manager himself picked up 5 wickets in a thrilling win for the seconds. Joe Cunningham returns to the top of the overall table, but Ganesh is so far on course to win Manager of the Month for June. Can he stay there after the final game of the month next week?
Remember it's our fund raising quiz on Friday from 7:30pm in the Winterbourne Glebe Hall. Entry is £5 per person and there will be prizes for the winners. All proceeds go to our new pavilion fund so please come along and support.
Lets hope next week we can have a new headline!