ANOTHER WIN, BUT CAN WE MAKE IT A BIT EASIER PLEASE?
Winterbourne again make hard work of a seemingly simple run chase, but get over the line as Mick Hunter bravely battled through injury to see them home to make it two wins in two matches
The day certainly started with a case of "do as I say and not as I do" as skipper, Joe Cunningham, rocked up at 1.55pm after a battle with his SatNav but hit his strides straight away by winning the toss and electing to bowl with overcast skies and a green top. And after just a single from Ganesh Sankaran's first over, Cunningham backed up his decision by trapping Linh in front with the fourth ball of a wicket maiden. Three balls later, Ganesh could have had the wicket of Cullen but debutant, Hiren Thakkar, took the first opportunity to show he was a true 'Bourne player by shelling a dolly at square leg. The very next delivery did bring a wicket as Ganesh made no mistake in taking a return catch to leave Over Wallop 2-2 from 2.2 overs.
Cunningham and Ganesh continued to apply pressure but couldn't follow up with further wickets and were let down by a few mistakes in the field, and with Francis looking strong down the ground a change to get a breakthrough was required. Martyn Nokes, last week's batting hero, tried but was unlucky as a spitter caught the edge but wasn't taken in what would have been an excellent take by Dan Marsh standing up to the stumps. At the other end, Thakkar was given the chance to show if his bowling was better than his catching and it only took two overs to get the much needed scalp of Francis for 21 by clean bowling him. R Macey hit a quick 11 but fell in Thakkar's next over, and he made it three in four overs by removing the remaining opening batsman, Cullen, for an obdurate 31. Thakkar's spell of 3-12 from 5 overs belied the fact it was his first game in five-and-a-half years and bodes well for the remainder of the season, particularly as he was hampered by sore legs from nets on Thursday - for those unaware, nets/training takes place every Thursday at 6pm at the club.
That excellent spell pulled the innings back from 55-2 to 70-5 and Thakkar could have had another as Matthew Shellum dropped a very easy chance but, as Cunningham brought himself back into the attack, Shellum took the chance to make amends next over by taking an infinitely harder chance that seemed to hang in the air for an eternity. Ganesh replaced the tiring Thakkar but Smith and J Macey looked to counter attack. After a couple of big shots though, Cunningham sent them both packing by playing a game of "you miss, I hit". Ian Hattersley came on once Ganesh had bowled his overs out with no further reward, and he continued his streak of claiming a wicket in every game this season (apparently) by bowling Bravery in his first over. With Cunningham unable to finish his 5-fer, another bowling change was required. Marsh asked if we had any spinners, to which the response was, "no". The closest we had was Ali Costley-White who, to his credit, has been practicing his off-spin in the nets - for those unaware, nets/training takes place every Thursday at 6pm at the club - and it paid dividends as he finally wrapped up the innings with his first legal delivery (we'll overlook the fact he over-stepped the line with his first ball...). 117 all out, but some of the fielding on display probably cost Winterbourne 20 runs or so. Some understanding could be given for the fact that the outfield wasn't the flat carpet at home but bodies need to get in the way of the ball one way or another especially, when fielding on less-than-perfect grounds we travel to away from home. Still, the advantage of bowling first meant that the batters could go out there knowing that there was no pressure on the scoring rate and that one or two good partnerships would win the game.
Dan Marsh returned to the top of the order with Matthew Shellum, but Ewens and Smith gave very little away early on and eventually prompted a mistake as Shellum played a loose shot to be caught for just 4, swiftly followed by Marsh hitting across the line to straight ball and being bowled for 1. 10-2 became 15-3 as Mick Hunter called Ali Costley-White for a run that was never there in a million years. It, unbelievably, got worse for Winterbourne as Hunter did further damage to the groin injury he picked up in the field going for that run and had to retire hurt just after hitting a no-ball for 4. Having been 12-3 last week, it was another terrible start that again was to put pressure on the middle and lower order batsmen.
Ali Judd, no stranger to coming into bat in a crisis, and Ganesh Sankaran set about rebuilding and put on a stubborn partnership of 28 but Judd was then caught for 10. Hiren Thakkar looked to smash everything back into Salisbury, but when he did finally connect with one he was caught well on the boundary. Ed Bartlett played a nice shot to get off the mark but fell for 3 and 'Bourne were 64-6. All was certainly not lost though, as Martyn "man for a crisis" Nokes strode to the crease. At the other end, Ganesh was finding his feet and building his first innings of substance this season and accelerated to 27. However, having seen off the dangerous Ewens, who finished with 1-20 from his 10, Ganesh was caught and bowled by Cullen to end a great knock given the circumstances. This prompted the return of the wounded Hunter, aided by his runner Bartlett - who needed a fair bit of help knowing what to do. 29 runs were needed, and the returning Smith was wayward in his first over back, which included a no-ball, five wides and a boundary, conceding fourteen and almost halving the runs required. Cullen finished a tidy spell but at the other end Hunter, able to simply focus on hitting the bad ball, ruthlessly punished anything from Smith that was loose and the victory was soon in the bag. Hunter, still barely capable of moving, finished on 28 not out. Nokes took more of a back-seat compared to last week ending unbeaten on 7, but just as valuable a knock as Winterbourne won by 3 wickets.
Two wins on the bounce has given the team breathing space from the teams at the foot of the table, and will hopefully breed confidence moving forward to next week's home game against Longparish III who sit between Winterbourne's last two victims, Over Wallop and Riverside, after this weekend's matches. Availability is good throughout the club this week too so it should be a strong line-up on display to try and make it three from three. I'd strongly urge all those that can make nets to get there this week though because, as fun as it is, we can't rely on Nokesy every week to dig the batsmen out of a hole!