Win :: Played on Thursday 23rd July 2015
After last year’s fiasco, it was a relief for the Knockers tourists that this year there were visible signs of an opposition on arriving at the ground. Fears of a repeat of LSA’s authoritarian fielding practice on the outfield slowly disappeared. Feeling a little worse for wear after the previous evening’s celebrations and a liquid tour of Cromer that afternoon, stand-in captain Young lost the toss and Knockers were in the field in this T20 encounter.
After a brief opening stint from Young, Matt Watts came on to bowl and delivered an excellent spell, using assistance from a green wicket to take 3 wickets – two clean bowled, one a high catch from LSA. He could have had a couple more but for the efforts of the Seldon brothers. First Stuart, standing halfway back to the boundary behind the stumps, failed to cling on to an edge behind. Then Paul decided that a miscued drive landing a couple of yards from LSA was his catch despite being significantly further away, and the ball dropped lamely between them. Rory Goodson huffed, puffed and spluttered his way in from the other end, commendably bowling a maiden in between some slightly less accurate bowling.
Knockers dominated the early overs, but this work was undone by some slightly less tidy work from then on. A lack of enthusiasm from certain senior bowlers meant that the ball was thrown to Watts (T). Figures of 2-0-28-0 fail to do justice to what was a disciplined display of slow-medium bowling. At the other end Charles Duke baited the opposition with a loose first over in order to provide the sucker punch in the second, taking two wickets as batsmen attempted to hit him into the next postcode.
Responsibility was given to Young and Turner to wrap up the innings, but unfortunately earlier bowling had allowed opposition batsmen to get their eye in and they took a liking to them. A few more dropped catches did not help the cause, with the Duke deciding at one point to take the catch and then generously place the ball on the ground. Cook seemed to be experiencing difficulties picking up the ball in the fading light, as balls whizzed narrowly past his face on a couple of occasions. Fortunately for Knockers the Cromer batsman in full flow managed to snap his Achilles tendon in trying to smash Turner into the sea and had to be carried off. In fact he was very nearly hit as he lay injured on the boundary by another six off Turner. A below par Knockers fielding effort allowed Cromer to 185 off their 20 overs.
Young, keen to assert himself in Captain Howe’s absence, raised eyebrows by opening the batting with the Duke alongside Seldon (P). A couple of lusty early blows from the Duke looked to vindicate his decision before he holed out at cover. Seldon had a brief scare at the other end as he was run out (possibly daydreaming about Hulk Hogan’s glory days in Wrestlemania X8) but was called back by the opposition as it was agreed the ball had gone dead. He did not look back from this point on, and for the second day in a row struck the ball to all parts of the ground in a fluent 88. His partnership with Watts (T) took Knockers to 150-1 before he was well held at slip.
At this stage Knockers were looking comfortable with 30 needed from the final 5 overs with wickets in hand. LSA replaced Seldon (P) and made a breezy 11 before hitting to long off. For the Knockers fan it was a rare sight to see LSA chance his arm and his average with such reckless abandon, particularly with Seldon (P) climbing the rankings at such a fast pace. Seldon (S) was next to the crease and the balance was still in Knockers’ favour with 13 required off 2 overs. However when Watts (T) was run out from the second ball of the over, the momentum began to shift. There was suddenly a disappearance of Knockers batsmen as certain senior players had decided on taking a curiously timed shower. This meant Young himself stepped up to the oche and subsequently failed to make contact with any of the remaining deliveries. The equation was suddenly 13 needed from the final over, with the pressure firmly on the shoulders of Knockers stalwart Stuart Seldon. Could he prevent Knockers from clutching defeat from the jaws of victory?
13 off 6 – a wide from the first ball.
12 off 6 – Seldon crunches a cover drive for a much-needed boundary.
8 off 5 – Seldon connects again but not with the same force. The ball trickles out to the fielder on the cover boundary. Who somehow outrageously lets the ball through his legs! Four more. Impetus back with Knockers.
4 off 4 – Seldon pushes a single.
3 off 3 – Young drops and runs. Another single.
2 off 2 – Seldon pierces the field for four, and the game is won.
Knockers certainly kept the game entertaining after seeming set on course for an easy victory. Stuart Seldon once again kept his nerve under pressure for Knockers and guided the ship home, after his brother had earlier set the foundation. With the Bradfield game rained off the following day, Knockers remained unbeaten on tour. The victory was celebrated by younger members of the squad (Goodson and Duke) in a Karaoke bar with a rendition of The Beach Boys ‘God Only Knows’, in a strange serenade to a bemused pair of Seldons, who were the only members of the audience.
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