231/3 dec - 205/9
Full Time
Match drawn

Match Report

An unresponsive roller saw the Stowting fixture rescheduled to Belmont, where an excellent game ended in a crescendo of excitement with fielders clustered around the bat with a sniff of last ball victory in the air.  Asked to bat first, the Straggler openers, James Leggett and Will Fenwick, set to the task with careful efficiency, blocking the good balls, and making the most of the bad.  Will was particularly hard on anything short, hit with vigour towards mid-wicket, and James lofted one huge six into the long grass.  All was going to plan until the intervention of umpire Benny, who failed to spot the inside edge, and raised the finger to James on 49.  This brought the Master Brewer to the crease, with a mere 65 required for 5,000 career runs. Jonathan set off with gusto, peppering the boundary with long irons, and clearly intent on the task in hand.  However, having also scored 49, he found himself becalmed with Will hogging the strike.  Both then fell in the same over, as a young spin bowler got their measure and enticed them into identical shots to be caught at cow corner, a partnership of 119, and Will out for 88.  His charge for the batting award is very much alive.  Tom Tribe and Benny arrived at the crease to push the score on to a declaration at 231 for 3, non-playing skipper, Seb out in the middle as umpire.

The Stowting innings was one of high excitement, with batters of all ages and varying firepower putting the Stragglers under considerable pressure. Angus Balfour was asked to open uphill to complete his hat-trick (having taken the last two wickets in the Inter-Straggler game of a fortnight ago). Unfortunately, he was a little short and the ball was punched through the off-side for a boundary.  Coming down the hill was Straggler debutant, Ed Mayall.  Ed had not played cricket for three years and undergone reconstructive surgery on his shoulder in the interim.  On-field skipper, Will F, had decided that the ideal therapy for a shoulder in recovery was a long spell with the ball.  It took a couple of overs to get line and length in order, but from then on Ed bowled with considerable pace and style.  Stowting were progressing well with the bat, and it need something exceptional to separate the openers, which was duly provided by Tom Tribe’s flat throw from the boundary for the run out (69 for 1).  With fellow debutant, Albie Tremlett (1 for 15) inducing a false shot, and then James Pollington holding a hard-hit chance in the covers off the almost entirely lame Archie Barwell (1 for 10) to remove the other opener for 62, the game seemed to be under control. However, the fall of the 4th wicket brought some more power to the crease, and the Chairman quickly developed a crick in his neck watching the ball fly back over his head.  James Pollington was introduced to inject some pace and did a good line in sound effects in the delivery stride, but the game was slipping away from the Stragglers.  Tom Tribe came on to spin the ball, and then reverted to pace, but the runs were still flowing briskly enough.  With all other options exhausted, Will took the view that Ed’s shoulder needed another few rotations to prove itself, and he came back for a fine spell of fast bowling to remove both of the set batters and then take two more to finish with 4 for 45 from 10 overs.  All four of Ed’s wickets clipped the off stump, seriously impressive control.  The Stowting innings had faltered from 175 for 4 to 201 for 8, with 10 balls left and the young tail at the crease.  The Rumley brothers had faced the Stragglers earlier in the week at Nonington, and now the younger, Charlie, managed to keep Ed’s final balls at bay, with one lovely late cut between the senior Straggler fielders in the cordon.  Final over to be bowled by Tom, two wickets required for victory, fielders round the bat, Pollers, lurking under Benny’s lid, was almost holding Charlie Rumley’s hand.  The fourth ball is hit in the air, Pollers, like a meerkat on speed, waves furiously at the ball before grabbing it safely, and then can’t decide on an appropriate celebration.  Surely a last-minute victory was not possible?  The last two balls were kept out by a batter who had seen it all before, and the game ended in the best of draws, with Stowting on 205 for 9. Jonathan moves on to Torry Hill with just 16 required….


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