Shades of Roy Orbison (one for the teenagers, folks) as ‘it’s over, it’s over, it’s o-o-o-o-ver …’.
And funny how we held back the best game of the season for the last day, neither side with anything to lose, as we were bound to finish mid-table, and CCs were already down.
Comeback Kid Andrew Shoreman was back in the ranks, and young Aman Gogna filled the final batting slot, and these two helped us prosper and haul ourselves over the 200 mark. It proved enough, in the end, as all our bowlers got a workout and everyone chipped in.
No X so Ahsan opened with Bobby, and everyone else was bumped up one, which meant Neil moving from his number beloved no.4 slot, but our middle order was strong and as above got us into the rarefied atmosphere of 200+.
If Andrew was the star man, he had able lieutenants in Charlie, Krunal and Aman. Charlie looked in great nick with his rasping square cuts speeding away, while Kru determined to use the overs which he had available to him. Both perished LB after looking to be booked in for long ones, for 35 and 25.
Andrew and Aman took us away from the danger zone of 104-5 and 114-6 – Andrew DP-ing away like billy-oh, exclusively on the man’s side, all of his runs coming in the arc between straight mid-on and backward square leg. Who cares, the bowling fed his strengths, and Aman joined in with some big hits, although he was dropped on the boundary, and the AA partnership was helped by a plethora of wides, no balls and byes. Decent player, that Extras.
202 it was in our 45 as Rudra was run out trying to sneak one last single, but we fancied we had enough.
Perhaps unwisely opting to take the wind behind him (which didn’t help the ball swing one millimetre) Steve opened up, along with Rudra. A few rustic shots got the board moving although the bat was beaten fairly often as well. At last Steve negated the lack of swing by going wide and pitching it up – the right-handed opener nicked, and Neil took a lovely catch two-handed at first slip. After 6 runs in 2 balls no.3 was gone too, dragging a slower ball on, so SL took his jumper and retired, job done, two of the top three back in’t hutch. Immediately Rudy got in on the act by castling the Jack Leach lookalike, and Neil pinned the dangerman Kiwi in front so that the scoreboard read a sickly 38-4.
Then, mirroring TMCC’s innings, the middle order dug in, and rallied round. Nicky P (later to be crowned 3s Bowler of the Year) got to work on a very dry pitch and teased out no.5 for 19. The best batting of CCs innings was next up, with Nicky attacking at one end but offering up the odd four-ball, Charlie was unable to repeat his heroics last time out at MPB, while Kru whistled through his overs and kept it tight.
Always seeming a little behind the required rate, CCs needed 46 from the last 30 balls, though the relative absence of wickets worried the TMCC boys a bit. When Rudy in his second spell went for 4 and 6 the faint-hearted were concerned, but showing lessons learned from an earlier seasonal last match (Watton at Stone, anyone?) Rudy yorked the big fella doing the hitting. Then Sathees, held back for the old ball he loves so much, bowled a nice quick spell in the fading light and bowled no.10 neck and crop. Finally with no choice but to swing for the hills the keeper who had pretty much kept them in touch, got a big nick to a rapid Rudy delivery and Ahsan did the necessary. 189 all out in 43.2 overs gave us a great game of cricket and a late finish on a night when we needed to rush back for awards and stuff.
Steve 2-15, Rudy 3-38, Neil 1-22, Nikeal 2-31, Kru 1-29 and Sathees 1-31, the wickets were genuinely shared around.
Neil deservedly took Batsman and Player of the Year, for his 469 runs and 24 wickets; Nikeal, Bowler; Andrew, Champagne Moment for his maiden 50 (51* which put us in a position to win the game!).
Lots of meaningful contributions from Charlie, Krunal, Arjun, Ahsan, Eklavya, and many others, and some exciting young talent getting exposure to senior cricket have put the 3s in a great place, even if some old codger reckons he’s hung up his boots!