Saturday 29th June, Englefield (away)
Penn & Tylers Green 208 for 9 (52 overs) Royce 40
Englefield 204 all out (47.3 overs) Morris 6-53
Match won, 30 points.
After two weeks off due to rain, Penn & Tylers Green 2nd XI re-acquainted themselves with Englefield, this time in the delightful setting of Englefield Park (just off junction 12 of the M4). A round trip of some 70 miles didn’t dampen spirits, and with a super game of cricket in-between all the driving it made for a great day’s entertainment, in glorious June sunshine.
Simon Mason cleverly lost the toss so all the discussions around shall we bat first were totally irrelevant, much like his innings. Having asked us to bat first we got off to another solid start, with Bentley and Royce ticking along nicely, almost purring at times. No real alarm bells were rung, other than the annoying iPhone in the away changing room that kept going off every 10 minutes, but listening to Ian Holford whinge about the pitch, the outfield, the tea we hadn’t had yet soon made us miss that annoying tinny sound.
Bentley was first to go after he and Royce had put on a decent opening partnership, Chris Mason then went in and tapped it around a bit. Royce fell for a well made 40 and George Walker went in, fresh from another round the world trip – clearly no plans to get a job it would seem. Wickets fell at regular intervals, but the middle order contributed almost nothing (S Mason 1, S Powell 2) so the bulk of the runs late on came from Danny Graham, Ian Holford and Jeff Morris, all of whom batted properly, putting the bad balls away, keeping the good ones out and watching the ball onto the bat. So, at tea we had made 208 for 9. Probably a little below par given one very short boundary, but we felt we had a decent chance of bowling them out for less than we’d got, which as I understand it, would have given us a win.
Morris and Scott started with the old ball, and a wide long hop in the first over from Morris prompted a tame poke to Scott at point. 1 for 1 off 1. Nice start that. Their captain came in at 3 and took forever to take guard, look around, scratch a line in the pitch. They moved along safely enough and soon had 40 on the board so the new ball was taken and given to D Graham. Good pace (he always bowls with the wind behind) but no real threat. Powell bowled well enough and soon had their captain out again (that’s now twice in 2 games). Their Sri Lankan opener was in no trouble at all, and after he’d had a well earned drink in the 8th over he looked well set to bat all afternoon. “Bloody hell mate, you’ve been out here 5 minutes!” Holford helpfully advised him. He might well well have been out there all afternoon too, had he not cockily tried to back up too far. Walker had other ideas though and when the ball was hit towards him, our Sri Lankan took a wander at the non strikers end, thought about a run, then turned back to make his ground but was run out by a direct hit!! Great fielding and very very funny. That’s out old friend J 60 for 2.
Some good tight bowling in the middle overs from Morris and Powell and some good fielding began to up their required run rate. Carpenter sent their number 4 back to the hutch as he looked like he was getting going, and we were well in the game. 60 for 2 became 103 for 3, then Nelson struck nicely to make it 111 for 4. Powell was taken off after 13 overs and Carpenter came back on to replace him. Bit unfair on JC as he’d had little warning and their keeper came in and soon dispatched what were mostly fairly good balls over mid wicket and wide mid on for four 6’s in the space of a couple of overs. Having put on over 50 almost from nowhere, and despite a couple more wickets to Morris, they only needed another 23 to win with 4 wickets in hand about 5 overs to go. Oh dear, we could well lose this from what was a very winnable position.
Thankfully, the Sri Lankan keeper having got to 40 off about 18 balls, for some unknown reason thought the reverse pull was the shot to play to Morris’s quicker ball and he was hit half way up right in front of middle stump! Gone!! 186 for 7, but their big boned number 6 was still in and it was really too close to call. Morris teased out another wicket a few balls later, a soft dismissal really and they were 187 for 8. Still 22 needed off 4 overs. Great end to a proper game of cricket this. Some decent hitting, a few shots that didn’t quite go to hand and they had the 200 up with 2 wickets in hand and just 6 runs needed. This would have to be some finish and my goodness me it was. Scott taking another wicket in his final over to finish with figures of 1-38 and they were 203 for 9. Still 6 needed and 7 balls to go. Dot ball to finish the 47th over.
Morris had to produce. But could he hold his nerve? Would he sling one down the leg side and offer them some hope? No he wouldn’t. The final over of the game went dot ball, 1 run and then a full quicker straight one right in front of all three stumps and a huge shout for LBW!! It was their umpire so what would he decide?? Well, of course he gave it, and from side on it looked about halfway up. So, they were all out for 204, and fell 5 runs short. We took the last 4 wickets for 18 runs. Morris finishing with figures of 6 for 53 (his 50th career five fer we were told with much relish).
Man of the match probably should have been Jeff. But I’d say it was their umpire, who was impeccable throughout, gave great decisions for both sides, and was a true gentleman (as he had been at our place a few weeks earlier). Steady was his usual excellent and delightful self of course, and was sporting a lovely pair of grey and green Nike trainers. That sort of game, and the honesty and integrity shown by both umpires along with how well we stuck at it right to the end, restores ones faith in human nature. As does winning a bloody great game of cricket!
Until next time.
Stephen J PowellShare