WINTERBOURNE'S GREATEST EVER SIDE CRUISE TO VICTORY
At times in mankind's history, there arises a situation on the Blue Planet where forces of Good and Evil must face each other in a Titanic Battle to decide how the future is to unravel...
And so it was, last Saturday, at the Home Of Cricket as Ampfield & North Baddersley came to slay the humble, self-effacing types of Winterbourne.
Sorry, wrong match report......
Winterbourne's new greatest ever side (since 2001) assembled at the home of cricket, bettering the side of two weeks ago thanks to the inclusion of the multi talented Christopher Warde, a specialist wicket keeper and the fast bowling West Indian legend that is Vaughn Browne. As usual the only potential weak link was the captain, but this time it was Ryan Hughes and not Matt Newman who will have to face a barrage of abuse during the rest of this report....
With such a strong team on show and nothing to play for in the league, the vice captain suggested to the new skipper that it would be a good idea to bat first so everyone gets a chance to chip in. However, with the captain being a bowler he had other ideas and chose to put himself before his team and elected to bowl first after winning the toss on a resplendent looking ground.
Vaughn Browne was snubbed for the new ball which was instead given to Nick Lawrence and Manny Gurung. It was the first time all season Gurung hadn't moaned about bowling into the wind - perhaps the new captain's man management skills are better than his predecessors? But that wouldn't be hard, would it??!!
As usual Lawrence bowled an exceptionally tedious opening spell, with three runs coming from his five overs. The batsman were once again content to see him off without showing any signs of wanting to push the score along as he continued to bowl "jolly good arrows". Manny was equally miserly at the other end but also failed to make a breakthrough so he was replaced in the 9th over by another bowler who was also Browne.
The change worked as Browne struck in his third over, clean bowling Fielder for ten. Despite a plethora of bowling options, Hughes decided rather selfishly to bring himself on at the end with the wind, forcing his teammates to struggle against the force 9 gale from the Manor House end. You would think this would mean he would at least be able to pitch it up and swing it, but no, not only was every ball as straight as a die, the first three balls can only be described as absolute dross. With the run rate previously less than two an over, after conceding 25 runs from 5 overs, Hughes finally took himself off - with his only victim being Taylor who was forced to retire hurt after pulling his calf whilst attempting to launch Hughes out of the park.
Leading wicket taker Ed Dadd, vying to end the season as Winterbourne's most valuable player, was eventually brought into the attack (ten overs too late), and at last the batsmen looked to take on the bowling. Dadd was up for the challenge though and had Langridge caught and bowled for 40.
At this stage only two wickets had been taken for 70 runs after 25 overs and it was looking like Winterbourne were going to struggle to pick up maximum points. Now was the time for some flight and guile, but after consulting the vice-captain, the skipper again ignored his advice and opted to continue with ineffective medium pace.
Having said that, Simeon Douse bowled an excellent six over spell, taking one for 13 when Manny somehow held on to a difficult chance to remove Patel for 13. Dadd finished his spell with another wicket when he bowled Exley with a perfect leg break for five, and it was left to the returning Lawrence, the best death bowler in the club (why did he only bowl 6 overs?), to take the final wicket to fall of Buckle for 28. Ampfield limped to 135-5 from their 45 overs, with 'Bourne missing out on three bowling points.
After the best tea of the summer from Carlie, her surely soon to be fiancé Matthew James, opened the batting with James Matthew for the last time before the latter's impending retirement from cricket.
If you were in his shoes, you would think that playing on first ball for a golden duck would be as bad as it would get for Matt Windows, but his day was complete after the game when he fell off the pavilion steps, twisting his ankle and ruling himself out of the final game of the season.
New star signing Varun Bali joined Harvey, and was hoping to continue where he left off two weeks ago, and win the game for 'Bourne in style. However, he seemed to struggle with the lack of pace and played what was probably the worst shot of his career when he was bowled by Dawson for 14. When the out of sorts Chris Warde missed a straight one and was bowled for one, suddenly Winterbourne were in a spot of bother at 66-3, but with 34 overs still remaining there was plenty of time to knuckle down and secure victory.
Harvey reached only his second fifty of the season, and for the first time to applause from his team mates and an out of pocket Peter Sadler. Dadd, battling with his nerves gave good support and the pair put on 72 runs in a match winning partnership. With three needed to win and only 102 balls remaining, Dadd was starting to have doubts so it was left to Harvey to hit the winning runs as he finished unbeaten on 75 and Dadd on 21.
Next week is the final league game of the season, but it looks like Ed Dadd (22 wickets) is on course to win bowler of the year as Manny trails him by six wickets. Manny has also fallen behind in the race for best batsman as Jamie Harvey (299) is now 37 runs ahead of him, but can he claw this back in the last game? He must be ruing his decision to play for the seconds last week and relinquish his spot at the top.
In the all important fantasy league, Lisa Bownes is now top WAG in fifth place, five places above the club captain who is languishing in tenth. Strange how a supporter can know more about the club's players than it's captain....
It looks like it is a two horse race to win the £100 top prize as we enter the last week. There seems to be a similar theme to all the teams at the top as "£7m for Harvey? You've got to be kidding me" managed by Matt Windows is now in third place, "7 freaking Million?! Grains of sand on B'mouth Beach, maybe" managed by Malcolm Griffiths is second and "Harvey's Heroes" are top but only by 49 points.
But as Malcolm Griffiths said last week, "We're all heroes really...."