This game only went ahead thanks to the super efforts of a few to undo the rain damage. So first things first, thanks so much to Jamie, Matty G and Ronnie for their efforts Thursday and Friday in clearing all the standing water.
Ironically despite the game nearly being off due to the rain of the previous few days, it was to be a day of glorious sunshine. This was helping dry the pitch and wicket nicely for the scheduled start time. It did inevitably throw up a split difference of opinion within the team on what to do should we win the toss. So, 'lose the toss' was the call and a challenge I had no trouble obliging too given my early lack of toss winning success!
Over Peover were today's oppo and looking at their final placement in the league last season we felt they were a team that could be our neck of the table later in the season so saw this as an early 6-pointer in achieving our season goal of simply staying up. Having won the toss they put us in to bat.
With no target to chase it was thought that 140 would be a hard total to get second time around. This was based on being a touch above the low average scores so far throughout the league in similar consistent challenging condition.
We began superbly. Nick Jones continued his excellent progress. Settling nicely Wedgey's patience was rewarded when he got bowled a couple of bad balls which he ensured got the treatment. He hit 4 quick 6's one of which cleared the marquee; another which he nearly knocked Kibbo out of his beer throne (a fine was later issued for missing him!!). Once again, given the conditions, Wedge and Dave gave us a solid opening foundation of 34 before Wedgey was bowled for 30 of those runs. Great progress from our keeper/batsman whom i'm sure will be looking to further progress these excellent substantial starts into big milestone scores.
Unfortunately another wicket followed in quick suit, the continued curse of the dreaded number 3! Ronnie Gambles, arriving at the crease to replace Wedgey was sent back 1st ball; trapped LBW.
Jamie Hackett went in at his accustomed number 4 on the back of some great hitting in the nets on Tuesday and a good starter vs Groves. This effort paid off as he took charge of the situation and partnership with Dave. Together they put on 20 before Dave was caught for a battling 9. Dave's frustration needn't get the better of him in the tough condition. Later in the season he will get value for his good shots and he played an important role in hanging around to let others build around him.
It's worth noting that our infamous dodgey bounce wicket began to show signs of it's 2012 reappearance. A few sharpe risers mixed with the odd low one. To be fair to Dave it was this that inevitably was his undoing as he was out to a good length ball that he gloved at chin level to the cordon.
Dave's departure brought the in form Danny Develing to the crease. Last season Danny was batting lower and not bowling but he has found a rejuvenation within at number 5. He continued his good work supporting Jamie who was going very well. After picking off some short stuff to the leg side boundary, Jamie was then bowled for 36; inclusive of 4 4's. Another progressive score building upon the good work of last week. Again, i'm sure it wont be long until his starts move into big scores.
Rollin came to the crease to FINALLY get his leg out the way....and this time get bowled for a duck. Never mind Rol, the battle is with the mind now. But after Growler had dispatched his 4th 4 of the innings he too got caught on the crease with a straight one; departing LBW for 25. Another good middle order knock to move beyond the 50's from next time. After that came a quick death of an innings with 9, 10 and Jack all offering The Red Arrows....sorry Ducks. And that was befitting of the recent weather as plenty of ducks were seen flying overhead, as well as 5 appearing in the book. We finished on 113 and gave them 5 overs.
Now, time for the champagne moment, and who'd thought it could be this...TEA! What a tea! All laid out, plenty of it and much better quality...shout out for the Tikka Sandwiches, but always good to see chips too lol. In fact a couple of their players offered praise for a great tea so all in all, excellent!
Then for our response with the ball. Fears were we were short of runs but we had still posted a score to defend; a score not too far off what we won by vs The Groves the previous week. It was there for the taking.
Peover started very well, batting solidly and patiently. Kieron, given the new ball for the first time this season, bowled very well. Bowling a tight line and length he came up across a patient opening pair. As usual Ray bowled economically at the bottom end getting the odd one to pop, keeping the batsmen honest. But to his own admition Razor, hampered with his ongoing tight groin, struggled to bowl the consistent wicket taking balls. And with him saying he didn't bowl well; 0-4 off 7 aint half bad! Keiron finished on 0-14 off 6. So a tight pressure building start. It was the introduction of Jammo that really started to get the break throughs. His style of bowling...pace off, up and down straight, allowed him to get every ounce out of the wicket. Jammo broke through the opening stand after sending both openers back. One to a smart catch out of the sun (second time round) from Matty G at Deep Square and the other out clean bowled. This is where Peovers number 3 came in an asserted some authority. After claiming his initial 2 wickets for very few runs Jamie was hit for 3 6's in 3 overs. Their number 3 was dispatching the bad ball which helped release intermittent bouts of pressure. I came on for Jammo and broke through the left handers defence bowling him but like Jamie my breakthrough came at the cost of a couple of 4-balls that just helped the score tick on whilst the wickets would fall. Garret had replaced Peely and was unable to bridge the gap in his unavailability the week previous to his 3 wickets the week prior to that. The 4-ball also a factor in his spell. This lead to Growler coming on in search of the first wicket from the bottom end. Growler bowled superbly well. Just back of a length allowing the wicket to assist. But the rub of the green deserted Growls mighty efforts and fell with them. This started with the free scoring number 3 being dropped by Matty G as he ran in from the boundary; an effort that to be fair many wouldn't have even got to. The second was their number 5 whom had started to get into a bit of a grove. Luke the unfortunate one to drop him off Growler at mid off. Jammo came back on at the top for me and the pitch once again assisted, pea roll bowling the in form number 3 out for 47. A massive breakthrough but seemingly too late. Jammo threw it all in at the end and despite Ronnie coming on and bowling tight Peover got over the line with a tidy pull shot for 4.
I think in conclusion we predicted 140 would be tough and the 30 runs short seemed to suggest that was right reflecting on the pace of the runs chase. We may not have given the extra 5 overs in getting those runs so they may have found that tough. Ifs and buts I know. Our wicket made its debut today too and they bowled on it very well. But we did post a score all the same and simply didn't bowl them out. Wickets actually came quite timely but unfortunately the pressure didn't build from these wickets due to too many 4-balls bowled. We've taken some spectacular catches early doors and it didn't go for us in that department either. From ball 1 to the final ball we should look to keep low, ready and expect every ball to come to each of us. No excuses as the wicket played inconsistent in both innings.
Not our day, as a team and individuals didn't have the rub of the green for our deepest efforts. Lets not forget they had a job to do too and I think they did it well.
We are 5th of 12 and I think that is an outstanding effort after 4 scheduled games. I just hope that win, lose or draw...we do so as a united team and keep the spirit high we have shown in the first few games.
Man of the Match: Jamie 'Unit' Hackett
For a solid 36 contribution with the bat and 3 key wickets Jammo is MoM. Having him back reinforcing the mid-order contribution and offering the option with the ball has been important the past couple of games. Well in and keep it going Unit.