WINTERBOURNE TO WIN? NEVER IN DOUBT...
Heroic last stand sees Winterbourne II’s snatch dramatic winner against Riverside
After last week’s imperious spanking coupled with regular inconsistencies with the bat throughout the season; Winterbourne II’s were grateful to welcome back a number of reinforcements for this encounter with Riverside, tipped to be a potentially less threatening opposition on what would be a scorcher of a day. Playing at home on such a wicket, making use of the toss and batting would be essential. Naturally, we obliged to concede to the opposition; welcoming the news with obvious relish and good humour.
Unperturbed by the rising sun, Winterbourne took to the field eager to keep things disciplined from the get go, make good use of the new ball and break through the top order before they could settle on what was truly a road of a wicket. After impressing on his seasonal debut for the IIs last week; Ganesh Sankaran was thrown the new cherry with returning Mike ‘Sharpshooter’ Turner. After a tight opening spell and a few close shouts for LBW, Ganesh claimed the first of what would be many scalps; finally trapping A Sharma in front in the fifth over, departing for 2. This was swiftly followed in Ganesh’s very next over with a further two wickets falling; first clean bowling the dangerous looking J Basi with a jaffer just back of a length for 7, being followed only 2 balls later by B Wythe having found the edge after extracting true bounce from the wicket, landing in the eager mitts of Ian ‘Mr Glass’ Hattersley at gully to depart for a quack. Ganesh ‘Kapil Dev’ Sankaran’s one man demolition job continued through to his next over as he bowled S Deverdi spectacularly top of off stump to send him back for the second quack of the innings leaving Riverside reeling at 34-4 after 9 overs of aggressive bowling by the openers backed up by tight fielding in the unrelenting heat. As was necessary in such conditions, bowlers had to be rotated frequently to abate fatigue; and first changers James ‘Dr Death’ Ward and skipper Joe ‘Captain Carrot’ Cunningham took to the task with eager determination. Sadly Riverside’s obturate opener K Cowell and his fresh partner A Reperia took to their bowling in similar fashion; tackling the initial setback with aggressive heaving coupled with numerous dances with death as they lead a chance’d life on the wicket, lucky not to be caught from the onslaught of sliced clubs or run out from suicidal calls that greeted the change of bowling; steering them to 77-4 soon after the first of three drinks breaks. With the first change going luckless; the ball was thrown to Martyn ‘Golden Boy’ Nokes and immediately rewarded the decision with two wickets in his first over; first removing A Reperia caught well in the deep by J Cunningham departing for 31, then clean bowling M Soulby for a golden quack to reduce Riverside to 82-6 from 20 overs. Despite noteworthy resistance by the incredibly fortunate opener K Cowell along with brief partners L Scott and your typical loudmouth keeper D Price; Winterbourne shuffled their deck astutely and were rewarded with two wickets for Ian Hattersley, having K Cowell caught behind for 69 and Ganesh returning to complete an impressive five-for, returning figures of 10-1-27-5, bowling L Scott for 13 before Joe was eventually rewarded for his persistence by having D Price finally caught at deep cover by Mike Turner at the second time of asking to end Riverside’s innings with overs to spare setting a modest 177 runs to win.
With both teams taking shelter from the punishing sun inside the pavilion, much discussion was made during tea of the importance to learn from the opposition’s mistakes and show due application and discipline with the top order, keep wickets in hand and all being well cruise to what should have been a straightforward victory. Alas, and despite a considerably strengthened line up on paper, this was not to be. To start, Matt ‘SheSellsSeaShells’ Shellum was bowled off of the pads by A Reperia for 6 in the sixth over, struggling to dispatch Reperia’s awkward, stuttering, slinging deliveries. Sadly, Ganesh too struggled with Reperia for all of one ball, being pinned on the back pad in front of the timbers to be dismissed for a golden quack. Mick then fell the next over, caught for 4 off the bowling of B Price to leave Winterbourne 12-3 off just 7 overs. Dan ‘Major Pain’ Marsh was joined at the crease by Ali ‘RollTheDice’ Judd, eager to display his proud New Balance Bat’s true power and potential. Things started well, with a number of confident boosting drives and pulls bringing some parity to the innings. Things then started to go less well as Dan was caught skewing off the splice of the bat, spooning one to the covers to fall for 12 off the bowling of M Soulry. Ali ‘HazeyHeaver’ Costley-White was unable to learn from Dan’s mistake and fell in similar fashion for 13, caught in the covers off of the fortunate M Soulby to leave Winterbourne in peril at 61-5 off of 19 overs, seemingly making a right old hash of things for rather frustratingly not the first time this season! Despite some glorious drives of defiance from A Judd, things got from bad to worse as M Soulby continued to inexplicably encourage poor shots, claiming the wicket of M Turner for 2 soon followed by the unfortunate A Judd for an impressive 38, caught behind off a fierce bouncer from the speedy spitters of S Deverdi. At 91-7 at 24 overs it seemed all hope was lost. However the now infamous Winterbourne tail chose this moment to wag with emphatic audacity, with both J Ward and J Cunningham choosing not to die wondering, having multiple darts at anything wide with varying degrees of success before departing for a valuable 22 and 15 runs respectively. This still left a daunting 53 runs still required to win as Martyn ‘KeptItHiddenInHisLockerAllTheseYears’ Nokes was joined at the crease by last man Ian Hattersley. What followed can only be described as the perfect example of farming the strike as M Nokes determinately blocked, drove and spanked his way through both the part time bowlers and, most impressively, against the returning opening bowlers whilst showing absolutely zero faith in his batting partner, calmly turning down multiple available singles to keep himself in the action. As the runs continued to flow, despair from the sidelines turned into disbelief as the boundary was found with regularity courtesy of the middle of Martyn’s bat. With only 5 runs needed off the last 3 overs, the packed audience had begun to dare to dream, and it was as such that the chanceless Nokes, images of eternal glory firmly in sight, had a mad dash at a wide one - spooning it miles in the air. It was the simplest catch to the covers there has ever been. The game was over, it had been a noble effort - in vain. No. It’s shelled. Heart’s in Mouth’s across the county. Today, fortune favoured the brave as Martyn created the fairytale ending to his one man mission by clouting over a despairing diving hand at mid on to seal the win in style. In fact, it must be noted that Ian provided the perfect foil to Martyn’s Sobers-esque display, showing solid technique in his defensive prods to any occasional ball he happened to face; contributing a hearty 0 to what was ultimately a spectacular tenth wicket partnership of 53 runs to win the see saw encounter for Winterbourne II’s.
Written Ali Costley-White
Edited Ali Judd