Lose :: Played on Sunday 11th August 2019
An overcast summer's day saw the unusual sight of 11 knockers, all on time, at the ground and raring to go for a thirty-five over match - although it quickly became clear that in reality it was only 10 1/2 as Snellers disappeared off to the dressing room for a lie-down. Ed strode confidently to the middle, trying to emulate his brother's long running success in the toss. Sadly not today, although the oppo decided to field - so usual service was resumed. Knockers took up comfortable positions outside the pavilion, while Kuts, on finding himself not in the top six to bat, headed straight to the bar. The revised opening pair of Marsh and Horner headed to the middle to face a decent spell of opening bowling from both ends which kept the scoring in the first few overs low. Just as runs starting to flow, Marsh (5) holed out swinging at a good ball. This brought Kieran Ratcliffe to the crease, channelling the spirit of KP circa Ashes 2005. The pair then set about building a solid foundation of runs with Ratcliffe in particular scoring fluently.
The first change of bowling saw the pair face loopy but full and accurate deliveries which proved hard to get off the square and from the other end darts off a short run. However, runs gradually started to flow. Seb’s demise, LBW for a well batted 28 as the second wicket partnership was heading into the 90’s was the first of 3 wickets to fall in 4 overs. Next to return was Ziggy (2), who never quite settled to the slower deliveries and chipped one back to the bowler and then Snellers (1) came and went in quick succession. In came JT, who looked in good touch and batting with a sense of urgency befitting a man desperate to avoid drinking once more from Kuts’ cup of sweaty betty’s at the next AGM. Kieran’s excellent knock finally ended caught and bowled for 61 with Knockers 115 for 5. Mitchell came to the crease eager to do the Knockers support proud and notch up his 50 for the season in one innings. He and JT set about the task slowly, settling in and playing the occasional loose balls on offer - until the slow right-armer, in the last over of his 7 over spell snared his third Knocker, JT for 13.
Next up was Kuts (14) who immediately set about the new spinner, sweeping successive balls to the square leg boundary for four. Having played himself in and gaining confidence, Mitchell (9) seized on a short wide one, but got a little over excited and only succeeded in looping it to first slip. Kut’s swashbuckling innings ended shortly after, given LBW by umpire Ziggy, a decision that was still being ‘discussed’ over drinks after the close-of-play. The rest of the tail all followed fairly quickly, Backx (4) offering too much of his stumps and Knight (2) swinging and missing at one that went on to clip the top of off. All this left Freddie stranded on 3 with the cheeky grin of a man who's average is looking good for the season and 3 overs unused.
Tea was undoubtedly a high point, with comments of ‘one of the best I can remember’ being made. However, no quantity of cured hams, mini sausages, pickles, ice cream, donuts, not even the chilli-filled Yorkshire puddings could dull the feeling that the batting performance was a few runs short of where it needed to be to make life easy. Refreshed, the Knockers took to the field with a vigour that only a good tea and fine ale can provide, still hopefully that with a strong bowling attack featuring a pair of quality seemers and an array of options for spin, a win was on the cards.
Ed and Kuts opened brightly. Kuts found good lines but was made to work hard coming up the hill until he got one to nip back and rearrange the opener's leg stump in a superb wicket maiden - one down in the 6th over with 28 on the board. The new pair set about working steadily towards the Knocker’s score. Feeling the need for wickets, the captain started exploring the spin options, Freddie (5-0-15-0), Ziggy (4-0-36-0) and Seb (4-0-30-1) all taking turns. Although wickets looked possible nothing quite fell to hand. Meanwhile, their aussie left hander started to accelerate the scoring with some big hitting including a mammoth 6 over long on into the junior school playground next door. Another big 6 over cow corner brought drinks while a search team scoured the nearby field with the score 103 for 1 off 19 overs.
Finally, in the 22nd over their big hitter struck out, lobbing a quality ball from Seb straight to John at mid-wicket. With words of encouragement from Snellers - ‘I told the bat not to worry, I had my money on the ball’ - a feeling spread through the knockers that this could be the turning point. Sure enough, in the next over Ed, continually troubling the batsman in this his second spell, struck with an LBW decision to send the new bat straight back to the pavilion. Inevitably, however, this was too little too late and the 3rd wicket pair kept a steady run rate against JT (1-0-8-0) and new Knockers Knight (1-0-11-0) and Backx (2-0-16-0) to get the hosts over the line with 4 overs to spare and claim the win by 7 wickets.
Although the result might not have been all that was hoped for, the camaraderie of Knockers old and new and a good game played in the right spirit proved a highly satisfying way to spend a Sunday afternoon
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