Lose :: Played on Sunday 5th September 2004
In the heart of A. A. Milne country the Knockers saw a seemingly good chance of victory pooh-poohed by the Hatcherís Steve Pollard.
After winning the toss, Coleman Hatchís skipper surprisingly elected to field on an unseasonably hot September afternoon. Knockers opened with their captain, Guthrie Miller and after a long illness ridden absence, the returning Guy Howe. They initially paid respect to the wicket, which appeared sound, then brought up a partnership of over seventy at a jaunty pace. Miller was caught at the second time of asking for 27 and Howe followed soon after when he was bowled.
Into the fray stepped Martin Gough who was joined by Joe Druce-Smith. Gough could have batted another hour after his temperate 82 and not offered up his wicket. By the end of the match, Knockersí hindsight would ask only that he might have batted for another four overs to have improved their chance of a draw.
Despite a period of tired looking shots being dropped at least four times, Druce-Smith went beyond an accomplished fifty. He was finally dismissed by a strangely late decision to bring Pollard - a most able bowler - into the attack.
Scott Landers didnít trouble the scorer much when he top edged a cut into the hands of the growing presence of Pollard at square. Dan Turner followed and hit an almighty six before the Knockers declared on 228.
On a day of strange decisions, this did not seem to be one of them. Those in the Knockers team that had any interest, believed that the final twenty overs would start at 6pm. Given a half an hour delay at the start, the declaration allowed enough time for tea and a decent amount of time to get some cricket in before the late summer sun disappeared over the horizon. The Hatcherís on the other hand, took the last twenty overs to be from 6:30pm. In the end they only needed eighteen of them.
Turner opened the bowling with new recruit Michael H-T. The Hatch's openers, although uncomfortable with Turnerís pace, used it when possible to reach the boundaries that were hard to defend as all but one side of the ground sloped downwards of the strip. H-T bowled a tight line and varied his length to cause doubt, but not wickets at the other end.
First change saw Ken Cowan start an epic spell, near the start of which he removed the leg side bail of the Hatcher's opener. A. Darry took over from a tiring H-T, but found little in an unhelpful wicket. E. Darry stepped in for his father and combined with Cowan to apply pressure on the run-rate. Cowan struck first with an LBW and within a few overs E. Darry tempted out a large scoop of a shot, which Miller caught with aplomb, running to a deep mid-on position.
Throughout all this, Pollard gave nothing away and his last partner joined in the boundary fun, despite a few play-and-misses. Pollardís 146 not out was muscular but well controlled. Only a late glance off the returning A Darry to a slip that wasnít there offered the Knockers any hope. Steve Trounce had come and gone quickly and a last returning effort by Turner could not stop defeat creeping in along with the lengthening shadows from Ashdown Forest across the ground.
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