4s narrowly defeated in nail-biting final over
By Jon Kuhrt
Toby Gadd scores 82 and great bowling from Mano and Bellwood in epic match
The last 3 matches that Addiscombe 4s have played against Old Wimbledonians have all gone right down to the wire. And this match was probably better than any of them.
It was great to welcome back Mano who was prepared to drive back to New Malden where 2 weeks ago his car has broken down. Also, Toby Gadd and Tom Smith came in to the team which strengthened our batting considerably.
And it was particularly special to welcome back former Addiscombe enfant terrible, Andrew ‘Bellboy’ Bellwood, back into the team after an absence of at least a decade. Yes, he arrived late: ‘I forgot my boots didn’t I’. Yes, he brought along his legendary neon pink leopard-skin jockstrap. And yes, his first act was to push Stevie Hasler over whilst he was kneeling down getting his pads on. As Steve recovered from his capsized position, his weary ‘Welcome back Bell’ said it all. (Rumours have it that Roger Hurrion got his MBE mainly for keeping Bell on the straight and narrow as his Primary School teacher. )
We lost the toss and OW put us in on a wet track. Toby Gadd and Hasler opened the batting. They were solid and Toby started to play some great shots. Hasler just remained solid. After 15 overs we were on 36 and Stevie was caught for 4 and young Tom Smith came out. The scoring rate increased and over the next 14 overs, Toby and Tom took the score to 92, with some cracking drives and sensible shots. Toby got a great applause as he reached an excellent fifty.
The wicket was not at all easy and we felt that 150 would be a very good score. Tom was caught by first slip for 32 and Jon Kuhrt came in at 4 with 11 overs left. Toby carried on hitting the ball sweetly and placing it well as the opening bowlers came back on. We ran hard and pressed OW who made a few mistakes under pressure. Within sight of a century, Toby miscued a full toss and was caught and bowled for a great 82.
Our East London import, Giles Fouhy, was unlucky with a good delivery which sneaked through his defence and Bellboy came in at 6. Jon and he relived the 80s with some decent shots and cheeky scampering between the wickets. Jon ended 33 not out and Bell 9 not out as we closed the innings with 167. OW had bowled well and only conceded 6 extras - but we were very happy with that score.
Mano and 4th XI ‘Aussie Pro’ Chris Allen opened the bowling and both got an early wicket each by bowling the two openers. A couple of well-organised colts then pushed the bowling around, scoring slowly but taking the score to 60-2. Tom Smith and Bell came on, with Bell keeping things tight but Tom bowling a bit short. Danny Sampson came on to replace Tom and did excellently, keeping the ball up and earning a breakthrough with a catch at mid-off by the skipper.
Danny Kuhrt had an over before drinks which did not go well with his best ball being hit for 6. But he also had OW’s powerful number 5 dropped at mid-off. It turned out to be a key moment.
After drinks, Jon brought himself onto bowl and Mano returned. It worked as Mano got an immediate wicket and bowled out his spell for an excellent 8 overs to get 2-18. Jon’s off spin was bouncing in the right places and he got a couple of wickets as the game ebbed and flowed. The problem was their number 5 who hit the ball hard and defended well. He hit Jon for 12 in his 6th over. Chris Allen came back on and so did Bell as we sought wickets.
With them 6 down, the number 5 skied one off Bell which went high and back over the Skipper’s head - he ran back but dropped the catch. It was another key moment.
Next over, Joe Murphy held a great pressure catch at mid-off of Bell and then with 7 runs needed off two overs, their number 5 inexplicably swung at one early and Bell got him out for an excellent 78. With only 2 leg-byes coming off that over, Bell had bowled an incredible double wicket-maiden in the penultimate over. OW were 8 down with 5 needed off the last over.
Tom Smith bowled it with a lively crowd watching as the OW 1st XI game had already ended. Sadly for us, OW’s number 8 did well and connected with two shots which won the game for them.
It was an epic match – played in a great spirit. If there is ever a good way to lose a match, this was it. Well done to the colts Danny K, Danny S and Joe M who all fielded excellently and all chipped in to help with scoring and drinks and thanks to those who umpired.
Who knows, matches like this may even lure Bell out of retirement for good?