2 wins on the bounce, a feat not achieved by the 2nds since the Summer of 2014.
Losing the toss, we were predictably put into bat. Elliot and I were watchful for the opening overs as the pitch offered something for the bowlers but we pounced on a few bad balls and I felt as though if batsman stuck around, there were runs to be had. With 17 on the board, I sadly chopped a wide one onto my stumps and Sprulesy edged behind for a duck to leave us 19-2 against a pretty ordinary bowling attack.
Albert added a few but he was soon bowled and Stimmo came to the crease with us in a little bit of bother. Once he had survived his first 10 balls in which he was nearly bowled about 5 times, he started to take the attack to Waltham and soon, we were motoring. At the other end, Els continued to play the anchor role, rotating the strike and punishing any bad balls. Deciding to set himself a challenge of clearing the longest boundary at the ground, he did manage to clear the ropes twice over Cow towards the 3’s/4’s pavilion.
At the other end, Stimmo played some lovely clips off his legs over midwicket and suddenly, the GT Waltham fielders looked a bit dejected. Els reached a well-made and important 50 and soon after, thanks largely to some good chipping, Club Hero Stimmo also passed 50. Their partnership of 105 was critical to us posting a defendable total and both of them batted maturely and impressively to take us to 143. If they had fallen cheaply, it could have been a completely different story!
Soon though, Els and Stimmo had both been caught looking to push us along but with 5 wickets in hand at 158-5 and 7 overs remaining, I was sure we would post 200+. However, the boys coming in found it difficult to score runs and find the boundary and so we stuttered our way to 185-9 off our 45. This was a good solid total on a lively pitch but I felt slightly disappointed we had not managed to get over 200.
A pumped up Shammi and a relaxed Albert opened the bowling for us and their opening spell coupled with our increasingly impressive fielding was where we won the match. Shammi found some early movement but at the other end, Albert bowled a diamond spell of 10-7-4-1, the one wicket a well taken catch by Matt ‘Safe Hands’ Earing at gully.
Shammi bowled a tight line to keep the Gt Waltham batsmen behind the rate but they were still only one wicket down until I, a revitalised fielder (not my words) swept round from mid-off and like Poseidon launching his trident, my heat-seeking missile of a throw ripped a stump out of the ground (Definitely not my words) to leave them 2 down. Shammi was then rewarded for his work with an LBW and they were quickly 41-3.
Walker and Sean came on and replaced them and were quickly rewarded for bowling a good line and length. Waring took a caught behind off Sean and Walker kept it tight to further heap the pressure on Gt Waltham. As the run rate continued to increase, Clout freed his arms and I bought myself on to try and stem the flow of runs/get him out.
We did well in this period to keep him off of strike and apart from one terrible over where I went for about 15, I kept it tight and was rewarded with a wicket, Snelly taking the catch at cover. Shammi came back on to finish his overs and had another caught behind to leave them 115-6 with Clout still going hard at the other end.
As he started to run out of partners and the rate increased, he looked to free his arms at everything and eventually, he mistimed a hook into the leg side off Walker and Matt took a great, important catch running in from cow corner. This effectively finished off their chances of chasing it down and in the search for max bowling points, Walker picked up his 2nd getting their number 9 LBW and Sean got his second with Elliot taking the catch at cover. We tried for the last few overs but couldn’t get the final wicket and Gt Waltham ended up 40 runs short of our total for the loss of 9 wickets.
Another great performance from all and one that should definitely give us confidence going forward. We have easily been the better fielding team in every game we’ve played so far and we’ve been taking our catches too which is a massive improvement! Men of the Match though are Els and Stimmo for their really important partnership which came at the perfect time and helped set up the win!
Next week we have Rayleigh 2nds away, let’s keep this run going!