Draw :: Played on Sunday 23rd August 2009
With England pickpocketing the Ashes in the background this draw took on a slightly surreal atmosphere when in fact a wicket or six runs in the final over could have made for an exciting win for either side. Captain Guthrie Miller played a large part in this actually turning into a game at all.
Nine (eventually ten) man Ightham were put into field first and the visitors relaxed as Stuart Seldon (0) took stance. The first ball came and pitched awkwardly off the track to hit the off-stump and send the Knockers leading run getter back to the pavilion. Our opener was the first of five wickets for Benwer. All-rounder Edward Darry (17) was promoted up the order to number two. Some say in an effort to "normalise" his average for the season...
He and Geoff Smith (8) calmed matters before the latter was given LBW and Tom Cobb (23) stepped in to the fray. Both Darry and Cobb got started but when Benwer took his third wicket with another deceptive delivery to bowl Darry it became clear that this was not a walk in the park. Cobb was caught at mid off and then Paul Cook (1) and Grant Sykes (2) came and went to catches which the home team never faltered in taking.
Things turned a bit frantic in the dressing room after the scorer casually wondered who was in next only to find that he, the unchanged and unready Scott Landers (14) was that very man. A rapid change resulted in him taking his place at the crease with his trousers on inside-out. As he and Dan Turner fell, both bowled, the score was looking a very unhealthy 93-8.
In stepped Guthrie Miller (50no) and alongside Adam Tozzi (39) they put on a record-breaking stand of 91 for the 9th wicket. Where there had been hesitancy before, Miller hit sixes, where there had been a lack of surety before, Tozzi played with composure. A fairly tame prod from Tozzi to mid wicket came as a surprise when the hundred partnership seemed inevitable.
Ken Cowan hit a boundary and then had his legside bail nicked off to end the Knockers innings with enough time for four overs before tea. Ightham negotiated them without too much damage. Dan Turner (10/3/18/2) opened matters for the visitors and bowled sharply off a knee injury enforced short run-up. Tom Cobb (10/0/42/1) played his foil and runs were hard to come by for the home team before tea.
Following some serious cheese and onion sandwiches Edward Darry (10/2/39/1) suffered the indignity of having his bowling dropped four times twice by his own hands, although one of which would have been deemed difficult by anyone except perhaps his own father. He also had Ightam's most dangerous batsman, Moody, playing onto his own stumps only for the celebration to be muted by the early shout of "no-ball". Ken Cowan (6/0/24/1) got a nick at the other end for glovesman Stuart Seldon to sharply take behind.
The Knockers were grateful to Turner for removing the danger man, Moody for 43 when a Tom Cobb catch slowed a rapid run-rate. Guthrie Miller (6/1/28/3) had turned the game with the bat and he was about to do so with the ball. His three wickets came as he teased out awkward shots and mis-judgment from the Ightam batsmen. He trapped Ightham's other main scorer, Davis for 43. Tozzi (4/1/21/0) injected pace into the attack but still the home side crept towards the total losing wickets to Miller and Turner along the way.
And so down to the last over. Six to win for Igtham and the single wicket needed for a Knockers victory. With the advantage of the sun directly behind his arm, Darry took up the mantle. Ball was not to beat bat though and a maiden over left Igtham on 189. The sides ambled off to enjoy a real victory down the pub. Well done Mr Strauss.
Man of the match: Gups' unbeaten half century and 3 wicket haul at an uncertain time made this a match.
Champagne moment: Landers ignoring an unseen (and incorrect) LBW decision and carrying on batting much to the bowler's chagrin.
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