By Dan Riley
What have rain and wasps got in common? Correct, they're always there in the summer when you least want them. It was chucking it down early on but Keggy had got to the club at 5am, to get the covers on so that the 44 players arriving later could play: top effort for which we are all extremely grateful.
Of the 11 arriving to play for the 2s, Alex Nash was debuting and Jake Liddel, finished with school for the summer, was looking to cement his spot. Luke had completed turkey twizzling so he was back to open in place of Griff. The beauty of having a strong squad was evident again especially as the likes of Bobby, Spavo, Reg and Joe Killoran were all playing on the back pitch for the 3s. Toft were ecstatic to see Bobby on the other pitch.
The rain stopped and the coin came down on the right side for Dan Riley who elected (after much consternation) to bowl. Must win or collect pitiful points. Toft won the first game of the season but since then, things have gone the way of the 2s but revenge would be good. Sam Mallows opened up the bowling with Matty Brayne and the pitch immediately behaved and seemed flat. Brayno, who is bowling really well with the new ball, snared Nightingale courtesy of a sharp slip catch from Robin Fisher. Nigel Muirhead then flicked a leading edge to Luke Ramsay who gobbled up the chance and things were going to plan but then Toft rallied through Craig and Bones and at 100 for 2 at drinks, the batting chase was looming larger and larger.
Then Robin Fisher and the skipper combined with the ball and via the edge with Dan snaffling 2 slip catches in an over (one caught flush in the...midriff!) to remove Bones and Rawufi before Luke took the second of three good catches at mid-off from Dan send Craig back to the shed for an excellent 55. Game well and true on.
There was still a lot of work to be done but the fielding was excellent, notably Wiggy, Metcalf and Noah who stopped everything aimed their way. Nashy was excellent behind the stumps too which allowed the bowlers to squeeze as the slow bowlers combined to bowl Toft out in the 47th over with Andy Metcalf taking a world class catch at short cover before Dan and Luke took their 3rd each. Great effort from all 5 bowlers and all 11 fielders. 148 was below par but would still require careful chasing. Rob Fisher 5 for 26 took the bowling honours.
Spirits were high at tea and rightly so as momentum was definitely with the home side. Cue dramatic batting collapse to 15 for 3. Luke got a good one, Andy Metcalf too and Dil run out by Noah. Sold down the river in fact as Noah smacked the ball to mid-on and shouted yes. Pressure even more firmly attached to Noah and the fielders let him know.
Talent in sport is vital to succeed but it can be infuriating for those watching on when it is not fully used. Noah is a talented batsman make no mistake but pressure can do funny things: this was a tough test for the youngster to show his true colours. Together with the equally excellent Alex Nash, they built the reply piece by piece, run by run. Noah hit the experienced Muirhead out of the attack, bouncing a venomous 6 off the Killoran's house. His power is scary for one so young and he hit gaps, pierced the field and ran well with Nashy. They won the game. Comfortably in the end. Their partnership broken at 141 with Nashy out for a superb 31 ending a superb partnership of well above 100. True grit and determination and all
credit to him having played in the first team all season: the perfect repost.
Jake and Noah finished things off. Noah 92 not out. Superb batting and test passed with flying colours.
MotM - Noah for his superb innings.
DotD - Jake for his ability to look like he is always running in treacle.