Draw :: Played on Sunday 12th September 2004
On a blustery but sunny day down in Staplehurst, Knockers arrived with only a skeletal side of seven men, The days cricket was looking dubious not only from the threatening weather conditions but also due to the low number of Knockers having made the trip down. Fortunately, the team started to drip together as the late comers slowly arrived to the scene of the rest of the team taking to the field.
Opening the bowling on a good wicket was Lynden, who bowling into the breeze was able to swing the ball into the batsman to good effect picking up two early wickets with his fast opening spell. Accopmanying LSA from the othwer end was Grant Scandling, our new found sharp toothed South African all-rounder who bowled some very effective deliveries in an opening burst that finished 6-3-20-1. Unfortunately, Spencer Allen our self proffessed 'pace bowler, seemed to be becoming familiar to the opposition after bowling his fisrt 5 overs for only 19 runs and his last 3 were hit for 40. Including 24 from one over. Quickly we needed some help from another new player this season. the very promising Humphriss, with his deceptive 'slingy' action claiming 2 for 40 from his 5.2 overs. The bowling changes kept being rung with overs from Darry.E and Darry.A from either end. Also Seldon chipped in with a wicket from his one over and Druce-Smith claiming a wicket from his first over and unable to produce the same kind of delivery in the subsequent two finished with 1-14 from three.
Staplehurst kept their foot on the peddle and set a very copmetitive target of 223-8 aided by a century from their talented all-rounder and contributions from others all down the order.
Afetr tea, Knockers sent out two old campaigners in the shape of Styles and Seldon.P who got the innings of to a flyer with Seldon hitting 20 from the first over. They continued in this form hitting the bad ball but keeping the good deliveries out to build a good opening stand of 87, before Styles(30) was trapped lbw, but giving Knockers a good footing to which to chase down this total. Both Humphriss(8) and Druce-Smith(6) were unable to perform and it wasn't until Boreham came to the crease after Humphriss's dismissal that Seldon(57) had some copmany and the total started to look achievable. Boreham having to take on the Fast centurian all-rounder after he was brought on to tidy up the Knockers tail. Unforunately, Spencer Allen(7) and Miller(14) were unable to protect their Off stumps from the rampaging quick and were back in the pavillion cheaply. Boreham(56) pressing on the advantage with some brave batting, taking a couple of blows before being run out taking a third in the last few overs.
The task was left to Scott Landers and Grant Scandling to guide us to victory, but some clever bowling at the death prevented Knockers from snatching an exciting victory. The draw probably being a fair result.
Great cricket prevailed in contrast to a dull and moody September day as Staplehurst and Knockers CC played out an entertaining draw.
Fielding first with ten men, the Knockers opening bowlers, Captain Lynden Spencer-Allen (59-2) and new recruit, Grant Scandling (20-2) rifled through Staplehurst's top order. By the time the eleventh fielder appeared, the home side were 53-4. Spencer-Allen's pace was an abrupt awakening for the opening batsmen, his first spell of six overs producing two wickets for nineteen runs. Scandling matched his partner with a tight line and good variation in length, his two wickets costing only one more run in the same number of overs.
First change saw Joe Druce-Smith (14-1) and Edward Darry (46-0) come on with varying success. Druce-Smith peaked with his first ball, a tame looking straight delivery that foxed the batsman with its simplicity. E. Darry was never allowed to settle by chief Knockers nemesis, Watt. His bludgeoning century was of the stuff that fills a Sunday player with dread as he thrashed the ball away to all quarters.
Andy Darry (32-1) and another newcomer, Roger Humphriss (40-2), took over the bowling duties just as the rain interrupted play. A few hundred geese stirred themselves noisily into the air and any hope of completing the match seemed to be migrating with them. However, despite a later brief stoppage, between which A. Darry picked up a wicket by LBW, conditions improved and the game unfolded. Humphriss' slingshot bowling took two wickets in his five overs including a wonderful caught and bowled. Spencer-Allen returned for A. Darry and wished he hadn't until finally Paul Seldon (0-1) took up the mantle up and started with a wicket-maiden. Humphriss continued and removed Watt for his other wicket. A delicious tea then beckoned as the Knockers pondered on a plan to attack Staplehurst's 223 for 6.
After the break, Paul Seldon (57) and Paul Styles (30) opened the batting. Seldon, so often the linchpin of a Knocker's innings this term, immediately introduced the ball to its brief life of servitude, hitting four boundaries in the first over. His half century combined with Styles' gritty and determined knock gave the visitors a great platform. Humphriss (8) and Druce-Smithn (6) couldn't follow up the great start, but Oliver Boreham (56) stepped into the fray and two slightly fortuitous boundaries kick-started his obdurate innings. Staplehurst lost a man with an injured thumb just as Boreham was losing partners with Spencer-Allen (7) and Guthrie Miller (14) falling to deliveries that moved sharply onto the off stump.
Grant Scandling (14no) took no prisoners when he joined Boreham, a partnership that looked like a winner until Boreham was superbly run out by a fifty yard direct hit. Scott Landers (3no) and Scandling hit well from the last few deliveries but found the fielders too often as they almost teased out a lurking victory. In the end, just three runs short of victory and with two wickets in hand, the Knockers contributed well to a draw of good spirit and no little skill.
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