Win :: Played on Sunday 15th September 2019
The last game of the 2019 season was upon us and it brought with it a few loose ends to tie up. The scorching September day saw a great contest between Knockers and Locksbottom as well as attempting to settle some internal battles. JT stood to bat at 4 needing 48 runs to best Kuts and avoid back to back season losses in total runs scored. Freddie Young and David Bowen entered the ground with 14 wickets apiece, both hungry to take home the Trounce Trophy with all its bragging rights at the AGM, come January. Bowen was also a mere 68 runs short of topping the seasons batting list too... The match was poised and the crowd gathered.
The toss was won and inevitably Knockers decided to bat on a green tinged wicket meaning they had batted first in 13 out of a possible 17 games this season with the captain not being involved in 3 out of the 4 fixtures where we bowled first.
Debutante Tiago Jahufer opened alongside our usual number 11 rock of a batsman in Finn Kinsler O'Sullivan who was used to terrorising openers not being one. Both stepped up and Knockers were 58 without loss until in the 13th over when Tiago was caught on the deep cover boundary by the man he had just hit out of the attack with some delightful footwork and in-to-out lofted driving. Finn played a great role in seeing off the new ball and accumulating a tidy 24 with some lovely timing and sensible play, before being undone in the final over of their other opener who cleaned him up after a miserly 7 overs on the trot taking only Finnís wicket for 9 runs.
After such a great platform was set you'd think we'd send in the cavalry but JT and Ziggy had their runs to get and batting at 3 and 4 after over a third of the overs had passed they had plenty of time. Neither one wanting to take any risks, Ziggy decided he'd try and run JT out after clearly having been slipped a tenner by the absent Kuts. Then no real chance was given away for the next 15 overs as both batsmen accumulated careful runs whilst doing their best to flatter the figures of the 13 year old bowling at them. With the total doubling since they arrived at the crease to 124 after now 28 overs out of a possible 35, Knockers looked a bit short of runs after the captain had asked for 210.
Luckily one of Freddie's ringers in the form of Louis Cox, again Kuts must have got to him too, triggered JT on 28 off 34 balls and he was visibly distraught trying to think of an excuse to why he couldn't make it to the AGM this coming January to face the music. The same bowler then struck two balls later to remove Ziggy on 39 off 55 balls leaving the big hitting Young and in-form Anand (two big sixes last week as well as being his first ever) at the crease to try and squeeze the last 6 overs for all they had to give. Cue Anand being bowled by the same bowler who did for Ziggy and JT with a ball so loopy he had time to play 4 shots before the death rattle sounded and the best hope for 200+ was back in the shed.
Only 5.4 overs remained and with 132 on the board some striking and hard running was required on a very hot and sticky day. Just about sober now the captain sends himself in for one last swing and together with some creative shot play by Young they put on 57 runs in 4.9 overs of hard hitting and harder running. Marsh got 39 from 17 balls with just one dot and Young ending on 19 from 18, but obviously lasted to get a not out. In the final over Marsh dragged on and Goodson, the immovable man with his connoisseurís off-stump guard and charge down the wicket with bat and pad together technique, finished off the innings with 1 N.O.
A remarkable finish with knockers ending on 194-6 off 35 overs. Bring on the baguette lunch everyone had been eyeing up! Great spread and all the favorites which were feasted on and due to Marsh dropping some coronation chicken out of his heavily laden french bread a little puppy came to play. The owner, who the lads were convinced was using a well trained puppy to look naughty in order to strike up conversation with a sweaty bunch of Knockers with below average chat, came jogging over in a sporting outfit leaving little to the imagination. Heart rates risen and words failing them the giggling knockers managed to get the dog away from the captainís ankles and back with the fair haired jogger. Gutted she had not bagged a cricketer for a boyfriend she 'accidentally' released the hound again, all 10 inches of fluffy white boisterousness came bounding back with the bountiful owner in pursuit. Realising these elite athletes were either unable to talk to her through fear or thought themselves way out of her league to give her any attention, she finally put the pup on the leash permanently and said her begrudging farewells. What Guido would have paid to be present was the thought on the minds of the mighty KCC as they took to the field.
Goodson, the ever present opening option in the captainís abundant army of attacking bowlers took the cherry which was still in very good shape. Rory made use of it straight away, nipping, shaping and frankly conjuring the ball to do everything but find an edge or a stump. He ended with figures of 7-1-20-0 with his last over going for a streaky 7 runs, very well bowled and deserved more. Louis Cox was at the uphill end or The Unrelenting Spin Attack End where between 4 spinners the end was held the entire innings. Cox bowled 23 dots out of his 30 balls and 2 more balls went for singles, however the remaining 5 all went to the ropes and left him wicket-less (bar that of JT which saw him a tenner richer, thanks Kuts) and going for 22 from his 5 top overs.
Bleasey, after not batting despite a Knockers average of over 100 had a chance to bowl. As he was nursing a swollen ankle he opted to not bowl off his usual 30 yard run-up but instead bowl left arm orthodox, through the wicket to a right-hand bat (witchcraft). Taking a leaf from Cox's book he bowled many dots but those sorcerous balls which didn't find the spot were sent back to the shadow lands of Asshai (GOT reference) and he also left the attack wicket-less.
Three strike bowlers used with no rewards and the opening pair were looking steadily on track after 15 overs and 75 on the board. Naturally, the captain turned to the only man who can bowl someone round their legs as a seamer, via their bat and clipping their shoulder before hitting the stumps whilst they try and slog sweep. I, of course, am talking about Neil Dave, the man who is so sharp he has two first names (Pronounced Davť). This brought a hard hitting number 3 to the crease and along with it licence to slog, this saw an end to Neil who had done his job and was put back in the captain's locker should another partnership-breaking wicket be required.
It was time for Young and boy did he bring the heat with the number 3 not being able to pick him and skying one to Tiago and started to walk off, but thanks to Ziggy slipping him a tenner, Tiago, who looked so set with the rest of the field on their way in to celebrate, shelled the attempt and looked utterly shocked at himself. No matter as moments later Young deceived him again and a very well held catch was taken by JT at backwards point, diving forward and the bat could not believe that's the one we had caught!
A couple of drops saw the remaining opener continuing to accumulate runs and go past 50 runs, he looked to be putting the game to bed if he stayed at the crease. Marsh brought himself on and after two miserly overs of his spell decided to bowl shorter and proceeded to launch the game towards the oppositions favour by giving away 14 runs in his 3rd over all through the fine leg or 3rd man regions. He had a talking to by F.Young and with a comical field of a fine leg, backstop, 3rd man, slip, gully and backward point, he then bowled 3 good length balls and finally got the key man with a full straight yorker and split the woodwork.
Ziggy then replaced Young up the hill and Finn replaced Marsh down it. The battle was far from over as Young, with two wickets in his spell, had a convincing lead in the wicket column over Bowen. Ziggy proceeded to bowl his rip-snorting leg-break with great ease and control, he gets a deserved break-through leaving him 1 to tie and 2 for glory and after missing out on the top runs spot he was pumped. A 15 year old girl comes to the crease and after a great bowling display she was full of confidence, but after an over of Ziggy she missed a sharper ball and Ziggy celebrated like he had just won the world cup alongside fellow ginger Stokesy! This prompted the oppo captain to come out and bring the game to Finn at the other end who came back beautifully after struggling with the slope and bowled the captain after he has hit some tidy looking boundaries which brought the game right into the balance. A few heart in mouth moments including over throws and Marsh nonchalantly no-look tossing the ball to where he thought Freddie was but instead giving away more runs and tainting Young's economy rate. Finally Knockers wrapped up the match with Young bowling the last over with a chance to take the outright lead in season wickets but instead bowled the last set for just the 4 runs. Top-drawer performances all round and a pleasure to end the season on a high.
The Knockers Curry is coming up on the 11th October in Brick Lane, London, then onto the AGM and winter nets. It has been a genuine pleasure leading you reprobates onto the field on some glorious days this summer and I hope you all took something away from the season. 19 fixtures (including the 2 cancellations), 12 wins and 5 loses. 70.5% win ratio is a sterling effort in my opinion and every game played in a sporting, friendly and inclusive manner.
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188 - 9
Finn Kinsler O'Sullivan