Win :: Played on Sunday 14th July 2019
Knockers (249/8, 35 overs, Springett 95, Horner 82) Hadlow (158/7, 35 overs, Horner 3/24, Ziggy 2/10)
Great setting, great occasion as Tonbridge and Hadlow merged to get a side out, great overcast conditions to bowl first and, significantly, there was a TV in the pavilion. And fan fears about missing the big fixture were seemingly allayed with the Knockers in perfect sight from the Hadlow sofas.
Marsh maintained his 100% absence record from tosses as captain as Horner stepped in and lost, with the Knockers being put into bat. Clearly, some minds were elsewhere as, ‘we’ll catch the end of the chase’ seemingly the only rationale on a deadish track.
Springett and Horner set about their first games of the season with typical aplomb and made those of us who have been playing somewhat envious of their clean hitting. With 10 overs gone and a couple of chances missed, thoughts of a big total began to take shape. Ed and Seb turned up the gears and motored their ways beyond 50 and towards three figures. Ted was beginning to fear the impending post-century ‘I think you should retire now’ chat with Ed but a tidy piece of bowling cleaned him up on 95.
An equally challenging delivery did for Howe the very next ball and fears of momentum being wrested from us grew further as Callum opted for a carbon copy shot down the ground after hitting a boundary and was well caught in the deep. Scott appeared and left without troubling the scorebook before Snellers got involved with his usual spicy shot-making right from the off. He and Seb shared a 49-run partnership with clever manoeuvring around the crease creating run-scoring opportunities. Some much-needed impetus returned to the innings.
With the score passing 200, big shots came as we sought 50 more, and Horner fell after a strong and stable 82, with Seldon departing not long after, both caught towards the boundary. This gave us Gez and Luke to keep things ticking but the insanity of batting for Knockers at the death led to the easy run out of Gez and Ziggy then losing his bails. Luke was seeing the ball well though so Ted came in and all too happily fell over on his first run-scoring stroke, restricting the runs to just one, offering Luke more strike. The two stuck around for the final couple of overs, with some sumptuous shots from Luke taking us to 249. He finished another innings red so is currently on an average of infinity.
Tea was exceptional. Vegetarians had no option but to indulge in the hot dogs and assorted sandwiches while thoughts momentarily turned towards Djokovic vs Federer and whether the Swiss maestro could deliver aged 37; a dramatic few hours of sport lay in wait.
The opposition were 7/0 after 7. 12/1 after 10. Run rate wasn’t threatening. We reached the first drinks and a healthy rotation of bowlers kept the fielding side fresh.
After Jos Butter miscued out to deep point, Chris Woakes skied one to the keeper and Jofra got cleaned up, nerves were on tenterhooks as the men in blue limped their way towards an unlikely run chase. With no. 2-ranked ODI bowler Trent Boult and in-form Ferguson and Neesh to finish, very little hope was held for the chasing side. In one of the most darkly-hilarious moments in sport, which came amongst many, Boult kicking the rope for a 6 was reasonably significant. As for his final over, well run team.
Meanwhile, Gerald was rapidly securing himself MVP status with resolute bowling and fielding that consistently set the tone. Delightful to see he can put both ball and body on the line for the team. He might have been MOM had he been afforded more time with the bat but a risky late-innings spurt from Luke ran him out comfortably. The opposition runs ebbed and flowed but committed fielding and suspect shot selection meant the final score was never really in any doubt. Lando moon balls and Seb’s caught and bowleds ably assisted Gez’s heat down the slope with regular wickets denying many partnerships. The opposition 2 showed some gumption to stick around but eventually fell victim to Seb’s tricky lines.
Obviously, Stokes and Butler were elected as super batsmen, casually notching 3 runs off Boult’s first ball, before a well-executed Yorker limited boundary hitting. Stokes did manage to sweep the Kiwi hitman to the boundary, scraping his bat along turf and pad before making contact with the ball, demonstrating the muscular power sure to get you on tape outside several Bristolian night spots. Archer had taken intimidation tactics to new heights with his touchline warm ups. Buttler finished things off with a 4 and for the first time in what seemed like hours, the tide had turned in our favour.
Knockers surged through the next 10 balls.
A wide! What a moment. 2 runs next and 3 scored off the first ball, just like us. In what capacity would we see Jofra’s bottle? 6! 7 off 4. 5 off 3. 3 off 2. 2 off 1. 1 not good enough. Having misfielded earlier in the over, yeah decent nudge Roy.
Trialling the day/night format would probably work better if we source floodlights next time. With 11 overs remaining and no chance of an impending champagne over, you’d have forgiven the players for rushing through to the end. However, our competing spirits never tired, aptly demonstrated by top work from deep fielders Andrew and O’Sullivan, with the bruises on Callum’s hands a magnificent signpost of our perseverance to keep the game flowing. Ending on a high, Lando took a wicket with the final ball of the game.
Some great signs going forwards: Finn was back after long hiatus and took a catch (shock),
Ziggy was once again unlucky not to take more and our top order is looking steelier than ever.
>> Click Here for 2019 Home Page
158 - 7
Finn Kinsler O'Sullivan