Wet. Very, very wet on the way to the ground on Saturday morning and it had been overnight. This came as no surprise to Scribe who had been fanatically studying the forecast all week. Indeed, noting the forecast Scribe was keen to get to the ground to ensure at least a T20 match would be completed should there be any opportunity.
The number to keep in mind was 78. That was the number of points required from the remaining 3 games for Nomads to win the league at the start of play, though any Horsham dropped would also come off that tally.
No Jimmy A, no Huge Hugh this week meant a return for the now healthy Horse and a call up for seam support of the Honey Monster to replace Simmo who was probably doing unspeakable things in Malia(rrrrr).
Thankfully the rain stopped and Brian did a top job getting the ground ready for a(n hour) late 12:30 start.
Jez would brilliantly lose the toss and the ‘bourne self-inserted.
Carlo came down the hill, though this spell was to prove somewhat fruitless, and the BMH opened up it.
Twas to be the BMH who got the first breakthrough, the young Wells playing one a little loosely aerial to point where the skipper snaffled in an ugly manner. Though in truth we were mightily disappointed not to have had him run out 3 balls earlier.
The Honey Monster struck a couple of overs into his spell, his late in-ducker too much for the ‘bourne number 3 who
surrendered his bat to Mighty Kernan the Barbarian
shouldered arms to one that took the top of off. This lead to that very pleasing jog-through-finger-wagging celebration from Big-O complete with tongue-out-the-side-of-the-mouth. If you know what I mean, you’re probably smiling at the thought of it.
Next up Faithy who found the edge of Callum Jackson’s bat with a ruler straight delivery in the corridor, making a very enjoyable grab for Scribe.
But though each of the up the hillers had taken 1 wicket, none would get more and it was to become pretty hard work out there. This was mainly due to a fabulous knock from the ‘bourne skipper Tommo who went to a chanceless 50, but he was well supported by Jamie Goddard and together they put on 90.
The partnership was finally broken with the joint clutches of Kashy down the hill and Carlo now up the hill. Carlo, having been a whisker away with a yorker that Tommo somehow dug out and ran for 4 to fine leg, got one to jag into the pads and back onto the stumps. It saw Tommo depart on 80 and it was one of the best knocks we’ve seen against us this year.
Carlo then quickly removed Garnett with a fabulous away seamer that took a fine edge and the ‘bourne were now 162/5.
It should have been not much more than that for 6, but for a calamitous brain-melt from Owen at mid-off. Not sure exactly what happened, but a very generous catch somehow completely missed the spam mits and went away for 4. The number 8 would then cut loose, quickly notching 18 before Kashy got him trapped lb.
Carlo then got his 3rd and final with Matt Green yorked before a loose final over from Kashy saw about 15 runs and a wicket come off it. The wicket was an absolutely sparkling catch from Ollie Gatts at long on, the ball continuously leaving him in the wind, he pouched it with ease and with it claimed our 7th and 8th points.
So the ‘bourne pulled up on 230/8. That was more runs than we’d have liked, but the main problem was that they played rather well and the pitch looked a pretty good one to bat on.
As we went in to an excellent pasta feast tea, Scribe started re-calculating things. The rumour was that Horsham were involved in a T20 and would therefore get 16 if they won, but the clouds were a-gathering to the West and it looked like we might be destined for just 10.
That said, any more points than the 8 we had were a long way away at the start and when Faithy played a really poor shot to get caught at mid-off, Horse faced an unbelievably unpleasant 4 balls culminating in an absolute snorter that ripped up into the gloves and OG eventually succumbed after riding his luck a bit for 18, the task looked positively heavy and the black clouds increasingly welcome.
A quick mention for poor Horse. He has a mild phobia of batting on the SCMG’s north ground and the deliveries he received certainly didn’t help this condition. Sadly he was just to get some really nasty stuff on a deck that actually played well for the game. After all 460+ runs for 13 wickets tells a story. But sadly that’s cricket.
But despite our troubled start, in our favour was the fact that the two in the middle, LGoW and Wakers, had just put on big runs against Brighton and were both in excellent form. Also it could be argued that Eastbourne, without Mo Akram and Ed Giddins, were stronger in the batting department than bowling, though you may not have thought so for the middle overs of Paulson’s excellent first spell. The boys settled in and got on with the task.
Scribe watched the radar and a bank of rain swept across the country diagonally. By 17:00 it must have obliterated Horsham, sadly the news came back that they’d managed to win the T20 and get the 16 points already, meaning if it hit us there would be a 6 point deficit.
The boys kept trundling and were soon both into their 30s, the Eastbourne field permanently with numerous sweepers meant rotating the strike was very easy.
Then the bank of rain finally arrived… only it didn’t. It seemed to split either side of us. In Hurstpierpoint they were hurriedly building arks, but at the ground there was scarcely a drop. At this point Scribe stopped calculating and started getting violently nervous. After waiting anxiously by the covers, Scribe found some solace between Brian “Big Hit” Wakeford and Lord (Snr) and Lady Green. Somehow it was comforting to be embedded amongst the genetic source material of this crucial partnership. Though not comfortable enough to stop Scribe’s incessant pacing that was to rile the locally parked chairman of Brighton and Hove who looked on, kindly supporting the heroes.
LGoW and Wakers kept plodding on and then the sun came out and we needed just above 6 an over with 7 wickets in hand in the last 20 and the boys both went to their 50s.
Sadly Wakeford was caught for 55 when he absolutely smashed one straight back at Tommo. He didn’t have to move, but twas a genuinely handy grab that, I’m sure he was relieved it didn’t clip the end of a finger on the way in.
The loss of the wicket with still 6s required could have been more problematic had Azbo not maintained the rage with a quick 24, but also Eastbourne may well have helped by keeping all but three fielders out with no catchers. This was an interesting tactic from the off, but once there were 10+ overs left and we only needed 6s, giving us 2 or 3 free runs an over seemed generous. Particularly once Jez happily cleared the ropes with a stonking straight drive off the opening seamer at one point and 5 wides at another disappeared over the keeper bringing the required rate below 6s.
It was a pretty handy looking yorker that did for young Azbo Phillips, but that was no consolation for consistently the MNM Engine Room’s angriest outsman. That is some achievement too, there’s some genuine rage in any a jilted MNM Engine Roomsman.
The BMH went and stroked it around and got 8 off 6 balls though I think one of his 2s was courtesy of a Kernanesque horror drop at cover as the ball went softly through the hands on a mis-timed shot.
It was left to Captain Colossus Lord Green of Woodmancote to complete the fairytale ending. A rare bad ball hip line full toss was sent into the car park to complete the victory, LGoW’s first Nomadic ton and to gain 12 points on the day on Horsham.
Great, great win that. And a truly fabulous knock from the skip, as well as Wakeford, good support from Azbo and useful runs from OG.
Getting the full game in was extremely fortunate, but in truth it only partially paid back the misfortune the heroes have previously suffered with 4 abandoned, none with the opportunity of a T20 16 pointer, compared to Horsham’s 3 rained off with 2 T20s. So we didn’t feel too guilty. Remember that 78? That reduced to 36, but actually 35 as tied points will mean Nomads win on number of wins.
Eastbourne are now in deep trouble heading into the last game and it seems they are too strong a side to be in that situation, particularly batting wise and in their captain Tommo they have the league’s top run getter. Hard to fathom really, though one wonders if the guys are enjoying their cricket there and if that’s a factor, particularly after they disappeared for a 45 minute post game debrief.
Anyway. We are. And were to return on Sunday to do it all again…