Lose :: Played on Sunday 18th June 2006
For whom the bell tolls? The ring of the bells from the Hanoverian church that overlooked the match could scarcely be blamed for calling in the Knocker's top order too early - it would have had to sound as an alarm bell to keep up! Southborough CC's ground, squeezed between a main road and a more clerical way of life, saw the Knocker's fly by with the traffic and the home side give thanks above for a plague of wickets upon their opponents.
A healthy travelling line-up started with the bat. Stuart Seldon (0) was bowled first ball which just seemed the last thing that might happen at the start of play. Another in form man, Simon Slater (7) took his place as his partner, Paul Styles (12) watched on. It settled down a little with both batsmen pinned to their respective ends. Slater was then out caught at mid-on and still a sense of purpose was missing as Paul Seldon (4) wandered out. P. Seldon's first ball was despatched for four and his teammates relaxed a little believing the game to have finally started properly. Unfortunately, he never added to the boundary being bowled soon after. Joe Druce-Smith (3) was in danger of being timed out in the changing room, such was the disarray of the visitor's start.
Styles was destined to be the anchor man, until a ball that was destined to strike his stumps did so despite at least two attempts at keeping it out. The Knockers were in trouble and Landers (3) could hardly have expected a worse situation to play his first game of the season. Druce-Smith and he got through first-change without troubling the scorer much, perhaps a more considered approach would help amid the chaos. Unfortunately, a ponderous chase for a second run saw Landers fall well short of the crease and captain for the day, Lynden Spencer-Allen (26), was to have his mettle tested.
He lost Druce-Smith to a late uppish shot to mid-off and was joined by Geoff Smith (18), who was sitting at home at the start of play, unaware that he was expected to play. At 38 - 6, he'd be forgiven for wishing that he had stayed there. The partnership made it a contest when the two of them doubled the score, at one point seeing off 5 intensive maiden overs in a row. Spencer-Allen fell first after a solid cut to deep mid-off was snaffled by the stationary fielder. His innings included a lovely straight six. Hugh Rumary (2) was bowled soon after and several big hits for Ben Rumary (13) were then stifled by the loss of Smith when he was caught. Ken Cowan (1) defended his wicket admirably in the hope that B. Rumary's hitting might continue, but an almighty heave left his stumps exposed and the innings came to a close at 106.
Three figures had seemed improbable at one stage, but even a relatively strong bowling line-up would struggle to defend that total on a calm wicket. P. Seldon (4-28) began a 12 over session that offered the greatest hope while Spender-Allen (0-27) opened at the other end in the first of his two spells. P. Seldon struck quite early when he clean bowled one of the openers. The next partnership saw the home side get into the thirties with apparent ease despite Ken Cowan's (0-21) healthy LBW shouts after he replaced Spencer-Allen.
P. Seldon continued to tie down an end taking three more wickets, including a tidy low catch by Smith. Slater (1-19) joined in at the other end with a wicket before Spencer-Allen returned for an aggressive but fruitless second spell. The spectating Guy Howe disappeared to print up the "I saw Landers catch" T-Shirts when he caught a straight-forward chance to remove the host's main scorer at mid-on from B. Rumary (1-7) after the bowler had taken over from P. Seldon. H. Rumary (0-3) then had the dubious honour of seeing the home team over the line with 13 overs and four wickets to spare in his only over. High expectations at the start of play were squashed and then jumped on. The bowlers made Southborough play for the runs, but the batting lacked true focus until too late. Ask not for whom the bell tolls. On this day, Knocker, it tolls for thee.
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