Win :: Played on Sunday 9th September 2018
A sun soaked day of cricket unfolded at the bustling ground of Staplehurst, the bar was flowing and the crowds were in, ready for what was to be a great game of cricket.
With only 9 men after some late drop-outs knockers found their way to bat first which has become somewhat of a norm for Captain Marsh, despite conditions favouring the bowlers yet again. 35 over format.
In go the two Eds, who are the front runners for the most runs this season, a partnership the Captain thought would bring the best out of each other. They got us off to a flyer as Springett found boundaries in a controlled fashion by finding gaps and allowing the pacey outfield to do the rest. Ed Marsh (16) kept the score ticking at the other end and unfortunately mistimed a pull shot to a quicker short ball and was caught by square leg running across to a mid wicket position to take a good catch.
At 66-1 from 10 overs Knockers were in great shape and had a strong but short batting line-up.to follow. Then Springett fell for 53 middling one to a 3/4 length mid off rather frustratingly as he was motoring along. Last weeks' top run scorer Ziggy (D.Bowen) decided to leave an off-spinner allowing his off-stump to get pinned back after a confident start. Akhil Anand was also bowled shortly after leaving Callum McCulloch and Ollie Marsh at the crease to cement an innings and prevent the overs from being wasted,. Despite only being 4 down we only had 9 men and 12 overs left to play. Callum played a very mature innings reaching 37 with 6 fours to his name which helped swing the game back towards Knockers. Callum was then bowled playing one of his across the line slog shots we have seen him put away constantly this season but alas this innings came to a close for him before he could cause some real carnage.
This brought all-rounder Christian 'my round' Kutner to the middle and a flurry of sensational batting saw Marsh and Kutner put together a partnership of 49 with Kuts scoring 20 and unfortunately miss-hit one back at the bowler. However the bowler dropped the chance and in the heat of the moment Kuts' initial reaction was to then run at him in the hope of rubbing salt into the wounds and getting a cheeky single too! However the bowler had time to get up, dust himself off and order Kuts a pint so it would be waiting for him at the pavilion when eventually he ran him out with Kuts having only made it halfway down the wicket. Hector Agnew put of a great display in the final few balls scoring a quick 10 not out out alongside Ollie's 42 not out as Knockers finished on 189-6 from their 35 overs.
A sublime tea ensued with the England Vs India Test on the big projector as all enjoyed a great spread. Knockers feeling they had put together a pretty comfortable total to defend.
Then the Agnew show began. Hector opened from the terrace end and boy did the crowd get what they paid for, with the currency being time out of their hard earned day off. Hector opened up alongside Will Pierce who both got swung at by some aggressive left handed openers who got Staplehurst to 31-0 off 2.5 overs. Then Hector dug deep and removed their captain for 10 who looked like he could have taken the game to us if he had been in for even 5 more overs at the rate he was going. Hector bowled all 7 of his overs bagging a 5 wicket haul with all 5 being clean bowled which was testament to his control of the swinging ball.
Kutner replaced the hard working Pierce who was playing his first game for the season. The battle then commenced, with a shortage of fielders Captain Marsh opted for a deep 3rd man and no slips to provide cover but put pressure on his bowlers to hit wood to get their wickets. Kutner bowled a very tight spell, bowling all 7 overs for just 29 runs and picked up a very well deserved wicket with the last ball of his spell. After hitting the fourth stump line and inducing countless plays and misses he finally got his man and I would say he would have taken many a batsman down with the bowling he provided. Akhil backed up Kuts with some very tidy off-spin and has become a favourite of Captain Marsh to speed through overs for not many runs and put the scoreboard pressure on the batting side. He got his just desserts too, forcing a top edge to fall safely to Ollie Marsh at short extra cover.
Ziggy and Ed Marsh then mopped up the tail with 2 for Ziggy who is impressing with his controlled flight and leg spin. One wicket for Ed Marsh with some great pace and attacking lines while always keeping the crowd happy with some inventive slower balls.
An excellent team performance which seems to be happening time and time again and is something I will never get bored of that's for sure. It was a pleasure to play alongside these Gentlemen in a well battled and mature performance with only 9 men. Bring on next week.
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