Win :: Played on Sunday 14th August 2016
As noted songsmith and social observer Michael Ball once sang, love changes everything. Guido's return as a serious cricketer and captain may have been pipped to the post for MOTM by Seb's influence on the game, but the feminine influence on our skipper's game brought with it inspiration for all ten Knockers present for this delightful win in a 40 over format.
Batting first after winning the toss, Knockers sent Seb Horner and new Knocker, Harry Robinson in. Harry was looking in great nick until Pooley's consistently good away movement accounted for his off stump. On trundled Lando and ten overs later he was bowled playing back having tried to bring the run rate into negative equity. Seb was keeping us in it and when Cobb sauntered out and started smashing the bowling around it looked like our game had finally started. He was dropped once and finally fell when an uppish drive went to mid off. Just shy of the half-way stage we were now nearer 100 runs on a ground where high scores are not generally known.
Enter Captain Howe. His mother and girlfriend, both present, agog, his fellow Knockers willing him on. One stout forward defensive. Two! Three! Four! Then a casual flick off a good length ball for six over square leg. Then another boundary, then two hard run twos. Kirsty, possessing the appropriate number of senses, limbs and teeth, was breathless in her admiration. Could this be the one? Mistaking her tears of pride for those of upset, Guido's gentlemanly mind was clearly on where his handkerchief might be as he got bowled. Though a mature summer's day with such affection it was as spring again.
Knockers then fitted in a collapse. Mitchell survived a strong LBW shout, only to spoon the ball to midwicket three balls later for nought. New Knocker and beard enthusiast, Will Griffiths was bowled and Gez suffered the same fate with Hancock doing the damage. The seventeen runs accumulated while this was happening all came off of Seb's breezy batting. He was timing the ball wonderfully and while he was in we still looked in the game despite having only two wickets in hand as he brought up his fifty.
Will Smith returneth. Will Smith can batteth! He added twenty with aggressive strokes while Seb continued his steadying influence until he chased an extremely wide one straight to midwicket. Tremors came in last man, shaped up nicely and the pair added 37 for the last wicket and had us back in the game finishing on 197 when Will was caught.
Tea was taken. Guido reposted Lando's comparison of his first ball duck on tour with the chap in the Shining who gets killed instantly following an epic journey to try to save the day. 'I'd rather be out first ball than to come in at, say, number three and get a miserable seven.' I got eight actually.
We had something to defend and Harry's testing seam went about defending it first over, bowling Eridge's M. Pooley, who had earlier kept wicket with aplomb. WIll Smith was Harry's partner and following four-years in a Knockers-free wilderness, added to his excellent cameo with the bat with a demonstration in how to pin down an end with line and length. After ten overs Eridge had matched Knockers start of three an over until Harry removed the other opener to bring out the Eridge skipper.
Forbes has often been the backbone of any Eridge innings and he saw off our openers, lost another partner to Cobb (once he had switched from wide seam to nippy turn), and timed the ball excellently until Cobb got him to nick one to Calver, who held on to the important one at least. Seb Horner kept it very tight at the other end and the run rate was getting away from the home side as Knockers' fielding with Gez and Guido setting the example was on song.
With their skipper out of the way, we then enjoyed the return of Guido's golden arm. Something of a partnership formed for Eridge and our skipper's rippers broke it up. The LBW decision appeared a tad generous but it did give merit to an excellent spell and was followed by a regulation catch at cover by Harry Robinson. Mitchell had replaced Cobb and pinned the truculent Goldsmith back until he eventually trod on his wicket.
Lando was brought on and picked up his second-ever Knockers wicket as an extremely slow ball actually span past the bat for quick-hands Calver to clatter the stumps. Horner came back and got the wicket that sealed his best man performance and Robinson completed a fine day's work bowling their last man with spin. A collectively good performance.
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