And so it was on Saturday when the chaos of weekend cricket’s availability resulted in a random team winning at against Sandridge 2nd team.
It was always going to take individuals and the team to play to the their best potential to win before we set off, however the rain delays conspired to rob Hertford of 4 overs at the end of our innings with two set batsmen already scoring at about 8 -10 an over and later in the bar we discovered a couple of the oppos players played the majority of the season in their 1XI. This was a hard earned and much deserved win by a rain adjusted 28 runs.
The spine of the batting, which justified Nick’s decision to bat first, was centred around Steve Page’s and Andre Rideout’s batting at 1 and 3 respectively. They put on over a 100 partnership at a fair lick. Especially impressive as Steve only risked (back pain) playing in the morning as we were one short. In true “sick note” style another injury (his calf) resulted in Nick returning to the crease as a runner half-way through his innings. Both initially hit straight and long but then responded to oppos fielding positions by hitting “round the clock”. Steve perished as a “six” got caught in the wind and was caught in the deep, Andre similarly fell trying the keep the scoring rate up. This brought Pete Amos and Flynn Ruskin together in the death batting partnership.
As mentioned in previous reports we knew Flynn had the skills for batting and his time would come. That time was on Saturday. He took his time at first with dots and ones as all new batsmen had to in order to get used to a true but slow and low wicket. He then started pushing the good balls for one, and the bad ones were duly despatched, including his first senior six. He also turned several ones into twos by taking on fielders’ arms… nothing more demoralising for a fielding team. He formed a partnership with the evergreen Pete Amos, making a very welcome return to 4s cricket that build on the established platform. They were both cruelly cut short in mid-flow as a squall blew through and the covers ended Hertford’s innings on 226 for 3 in 41.4 overs.
Further rain during tea meant further delay to the start of Sandridge’s innings as the squeegee was set to work on the standing water on the covers. The rain adjusted target was 212 off 39 overs.
The Rideout’s showed off their all-round abilities during Sandridge’s reply. First George combined with Flynn to produce a lively opening spell and restrict the oppos openers to 36 off the first 10 overs, before returning to keeping duties as he continues to invent the new keeper-bowler position. Then Rideout senior, Andre, combined with Stuart McIntrye to continue the squeeze on the batting with his left arm over the wicket.
With the run rate climbing, the Sandridge batsmen were forced to take increasing risks with their running and their stokes. This is where the next element of our win was played out: our fielding. First Isaac Medcalf calmly ran out the first opener as both batsmen found themselves at the same end; Dan Morgan made a tough catch look ridiculously easy as a full toss was melted in his general direction; Nick Horton took a “hard to judge” catch at mid-off and Stuart McIntyre took an absolute steepler in the deep after another ”six” got caught in the wind.
All this left the game finely balanced with Sandridge needing 8 an over with 7 overs left, it just needed one/two big overs for the oppo, and they could have hit the cruise control button and strolled to victory. However, the last element of the win came together with Isaac Medcalf and Ted Ridoutt combining at the death to take 4 wickets between then and restricting the oppo to the extent that nearly 30 were needed off the last over. Also noted: we allowed no 2s to fielders in the deep.
Worth mentioning Ted Ridoutt, as this was his debut for the Saturday senior team and as well as taking 3-14 his fielding was exceptional with many sliding stops on the boundary combined with a “big arm” saving an estimated 10-15 runs depending which impressed senior player was estimating.
Lastly, this report uses the word “combined” many times because it is combinations of individuals that win cricket games. Cricket is a game of pairs whether in batting or bowling, thus was proved on Saturday.