Win :: Played on Sunday 4th August 2019
A new fixture in the form of Farningham CC for Knockers and on an overcast yet hot day with a dusty track the 10 men were keen for a solid day of cricket whilst listening to England bowlers (not) roll the Aussies. Alas only one game was full of quality and it wasn’t located in Edgbaston.
The number of players present at the toss was 7 due to a myriad of reasons including bad train service, shoddy alarm clocks and pregnant women… This didn’t phase ‘Captain Bat First’ and sure enough the toss was won and an opening pair was selected with the rest to fall into place depending on arrival times of our team. A 40 over game was agreed and Farningham took to the field with 9 plus O. Marsh as a sub fielder, due to two late morning dropoutts.
E. Springett (73) & S. Landers (12) were a formidable opening partnership, frustrating the oppo for the first quarter of our overs. They well and truly saw off the new ball, which looked like a dog’s chew toy after this period of play. Scott had used his first life and looked to capitalise by hitting some hefty straight boundaries but unfortunately got caught at long on trying to do the same again in true Roy fashion.
Not knowing what a par score here was in 40 overs and with the pitch favouring the batsman, the two Ed’s got stuck in and looked very comfortable whilst remaining conservative to allow a flurry at the end and set themselves for big scores. The opening spinner was bowling short, opening up the leg side and Ted Marsh (17) managed to crack one at square leg where his brother was fielding as a sub fielder. The ball kicked over his hand into his forearm and deflected just below the eye, luckily only a shiner, causing him to leave the field only to be replaced by an eager Scott who had only just departed! A bowling change saw Ted chip one that stuck in the pitch back to the bowler and he knew he’d missed out on an opportunity to go big.
Ziggy (17) played another one of his trademark innings of digging in and getting a start with two boundaries, then getting out to a spinner. Springett fell after a well fought innings, including 10 fours and a six, to another spinner as the oppo realised seam wasn’t getting them anywhere against him. O.Boreham (2) came crashing in looking to move the strike rate along and made nearly every ball a Yorker with his aggressive footwork before it did for him and one snuck under the bat to hit the woodwork.
These two quick wickets left John Mitchell (11) and Paul Seldon (47) at the crease as Paul had demoted himself down the order after being late. He quickly made amends however as he, in classic Snellers fashion, sent the ball all over the park with controlled yet hard hitting stokes. John smashed the leather off one to claim four runs through mid-wicket but then fell as he miss-timed one in the air to mid-on.
This brought O. Marsh (26) to the crease with 7 overs left and the score on 161, Paul and Ollie decided 220 was the target and proceeded to swing hard and push runs on ones that didn’t find the boundary. Runs came fluidly with a couple of big sixes for Marsh and some lovely strokes by Paul scoring at 10 an over meant the target was fast approaching. However the canny opposition captain brought himself on to take some pace off the ball and as Paul tried to push a single to get Marsh on strike against the moon balls, while he took on the quick offy next over, he unfortunately charged down the wicket and let one slip through and was stumped.
Kutner (0) strolls out with 1.5 overs left and has his sights on the square pavilion boundary and first ball hits it as clean as you like, a one knee down sweep in true Kutner style. He gets a bit too much loft and a well held catch right on the ropes in front of the crowd meant he had to stroll straight back off again!
So with one wicket left to get and 1.4 overs remaining Akhil (5) heads to the middle to join O.Marsh and I think everyone knew what was coming here, big swings and a ‘run it anyway’ attitude. Marsh hits a 4 to finish the over after two singles were taken. First ball of the last over and Akhil swings hard against the quick offy and the ball beats both bat and gloves and goes away for 2 byes, next ball the same again but the keeper was there but drops the ball as he was standing up, sparking Marsh who was already halfway down the track to call Akhil through for another bye. A big heave to the long boundary and 3 more to the total followed by some high pressure running to cause over-throws and 3 more to the score. Last ball and the bat is beaten, but with the team score always in mind and never his average Akhil tries a quick run but the keeper held on and stumped him. 224 all out which apparently was par.
A pleased knockers took on the next challenge of teas which included some home-made marinated chicken skewers, sandwiches and plenty of naughty treats.
O.Marsh and A.Anand were given no rest after their high energy finish and opened the bowling keeping it very tight and leaving the oppo 27-0 after 10 overs with their opening pair having to battle through the relentless seam & spin combination attack. Marsh (5-3-5-0) decided, after no luck with a couple of good LBW shouts and a dropped catch at mid-on, that this spell was to be fruitless. Unfortunately for the opposition, E.Marsh replaced him, meaning no let up for the batsman as a variety of paced balls continued to beat the bat and strike the pads to no avail. Springett had a crack up the hill to replace Akhil and was frustrated similarly to those before him. Who was going to spark this attack? 17 overs in and 80 on the board with no loss, Captain O.Marsh turned to the Starman, David Bowie himself in the form of Ziggy who, first ball against the dangerous Freedman, got the breakthrough! Caught very, very well on the run by Springett at mid-off, but who ended up catching it nearly at extra cover. The skyward miss-hit felt like a real team wicket as everyone had worked hard to keep a clearly skilled batsman contained and this brought only his second error in the innings which was snapped up. Ed then picked up a well-deserved wicket after some close LBW shouts and ended his spell there (5-0-17-1). The momentum was with Knockers here as the run rate was up at 6.75 and then Ziggy blew away the other opener with some fine flight bringing a caught behind on the 4th juggle by Boreham and then a few balls later Ziggy turned the ball square allowing some very tidy glovework by Boreham, whipping the bails off before the bat came back down. Enter S.Landers (4-0-19-1) who controlled the flight as well as Ziggy (all those nets together!) beat the bat on every ball then a frustrated shot brought a dolly catch to point where Akhil was all too happy to swallow it whole to bring another Landers wicket (4 for the season, with an 5th still under review), he ruined a chance at his first maiden with a wide on the last ball but followed it up with another superb nut.
After his 4 overs, Scott made way for our hungry all-rounder who has the same spirit, intent and balance to his game as the Legendary Freddie Flintoff, I am of course talking about John “Professor Woodworm” Mitchell. He had an up and down two overs going for the same runs as his predecessor, Scott but in half the overs, finishing with a ripper caught behind by Boreham and ending with figures of 2-0-19-1, never in doubt. Snellers risked five penalty runs sprinting on to the field back from a break in the pav, but with his trousers around his ankles and a push of the ball over the boundary was enough to amuse even the sternest umpire into ignoring not asking for permission to return.
Finally Kutner and Akhil take over and dry up the runs, Akhil ending with 8-2-47-0 as he toiled and morphed into his alter ego, bowling dynamic medium pace which if you didn’t see the colossal run up would be exactly the same pace as his off-break quicker balls, a top effort. Kuts brought the pace back as their smallest and youngest (probably 15) was at the crease and he proceeded to pepper him and make it very hard to score, especially with the occasional decapitator being launched down the track. He got his just deserves and picked up 1 and held the downhill end tightly until the end (4-0-23-1). O.Marsh swapped ends and bowled the final 2 up the hill, Boreham announced he wasn’t going to take anymore seam today and Marsh obliged and bowled some off-spin. Plenty of spin with little guarantee where it would go. A two and four singles from the over as miss timed shots and frantic running ensued. A close game with the Chasing team falling 15 short of a win.
A 50th Cap for Ollie Marsh was a proud moment for the Captain and Ed Springett passing 1500 runs for the club was another milestone. These achievements along with the win were celebrated in the very well stocked bar, bringing comments along the lines of “we should get taxis next year” as we hope to be invited back next summer. On to Four Elms, a big fixture with already so much history despite it only being the third time the teams meet.
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