Win :: Played on Sunday 2nd September 2012
The name Linton Park often sends a chill down a Knockers player's spine, but it was not the case today. With a total of 16 players present between the two sides at the toss, a shorter game and a larger tea helping for Cookie both seemed on the cards. Linton Park promptly elected to bat, and it was to Captain Watts' dismay to learn that neither side had wicket-keeping kit. Of course, Knockers would have had kit - and indeed a wicket-keeper - had Tom Cobb managed to make it out of bed and to the ground. Unfortunately he was too cosy snuggled up with Andy Roberts for this to be a possibility. The day was saved by Ed 'Terry' Marsh revealing that he had a pair of gloves. We soon discovered however that these gloves were designed for a rather smaller hand-span, and could only be described as glorified gardening gloves. But they had to do - for both sides.
Knockers began brightly with Tom Jenner (1-10) and Ed Marsh (1-15) bowling excellent spells of outswing and inswing respectively. Marsh hit the deck hard and was rewarded with the first wicket as the Linton Park opener sliced an attempted drive to Matt Watts at point, who took a well-judged catch running backwards. Jenner beat the bat relentlessly and finally made the break-through with a ball which, starting on middle and leg stump, swung away to clip the top of the off peg. The two openers were ably replaced by Ollie Marsh (0-15) and Matt Watts (1-20) who bowled with control and consistency. On another day 'Omar' Marsh could have had a handful of wickets, but today had to settle with the pleasing personal accolade of not bowling a wide. Matt Watts broke a solid 3rd wicket partnership through some tight, accurate bowling, eventually leading to an edge behind which was snapped up by his older, more attractive brother behind the stumps.
After the hard work by the seamers it was time for the spin duo of Freddie Young (2-16) and Guy Howe (1-20) to settle in. Young took a wicket with the third ball of his spell, enticing a mis-timed drive which failed to beat Lynden Spencer-Allen at cover, who leapt like the proverbial salmon to claim the catch. It seemed LSA had recovered well from the injury which had forced him to retire hurt on 60no last week at Eridge. At the other end Guido bowled with his typical guile and general unpredictability, and would later claim the sixth wicket as he lured an unsuspecting batsman from the safety of his crease to have him stumped.
In the meantime the captain had turned to Paul Cook in attempt to dismiss the Linton Park captain, who was proving resilient. With metronomic accuracy, the bearded Cook hit a length in the corridor of uncertainty. It took him just three balls to remove the skipper, who could only edge a ball which hit the seam to a rejuvenated Paul Seldon who (in a Cookie-like manner) wildly threw out his right hand to (in a less-Cookie-like manner) cling on to the chance, in what was surely the champagne moment of the day. So troubled were Linton park by this fine spell of seam bowling, the next batsman promptly ran himself out and could be heard muttering frenziedly as he left the pitch. The damage had been done, and Youngy wrapped up the final wicket with the first ball of his second spell, to cap off what had been a superb all-round bowling performance from Knockers.
The tea interval was blessed with the appearance of Stuart Seldon who regaled us with many interesting and enlightening stories from his year Down Under. Indeed, Stuart drew out quite a fan club, with many Knockers players coming down to see 'Prowler' back in the UK.
Having enjoyed a pleasant but rather overly-mustarded Watts tea, the players took to the field once more, with Knockers needing a mere 130 runs for victory. Although it is worth pointing out that Knockers were dismissed for 43 against this very opposition only 3 years ago. Paul Seldon (16) opened up in typical rampaging fashion, powerfully driving anything in the arc, until he was undone by some uneven bounce, causing the ball to hit the splice of the bat and loop up to cover. At the other end Matt Watts (22) bravely saw off the opening bowlers using his bat, legs and whatever other members of his body he could get in the way. After a couple of nice slapped cover drives he perished softly to a full toss which he hit straight to cover. Knockers had no reason to fear, however, as this reunited the heroes of Eridge, Guy and Lynden, at the wicket. Guy (20) played a solid, flawless innings (his own words), looking to pick up on anything short. His running between the wickets was also exemplary, putting pressure on the fielders at every opportunity. Guy met an untimely end as he feathered one behind, and there was a gasp of disappointment from onlooking supporters. Lynden (28no) and Watts (29no) steadied the ship and took Knockers home to a well-deserved victory, with some particularly measured batting as both looked to nurture their averages for the final season standings.
All in all, a good day's work and a good win against what has been a bogey team for Knockers in the past. Reunited under the guiding light of Master Seldon, the future can only be bright for this Knockers side.
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