4th team report vs Streat & Westmeston by Stephen Oliver.
Another last ball thriller…
There are several traditions and truisms about being Captain of this team. The most glaring is that following a fine batting performance last week, the 2 top scoring batsmen were in other teams – but rarely are they replaced in the other direction! A consequence is that getting a team together can sometimes be an exercise in creativity. However, Luke Owen again played a blinder and produced an entourage including Bara, a women’s hockey international and otherwise his “Mrs”. Decorating in their new house would be taking a break this weekend!
At the behest of the opposition skipper, a late start and 36 over game was chosen to avoid the forecast showers at 1pm. Of course, it was dry at 1pm and raining at 3pm, but the sledging by the opposition entertainingly aimed at their own captain!
Nomads (unusually!) lost the toss and were asked to bat. On realising that the run scorers from the prior week were missing, the Captain was left to put on his own pads and lead from the front – a very non-traditional approach. Having seen his opening partner fall almost immediately, the makeshift opener then shared a 10 over spell with great support from Prem. Batting through the rain they built a partnership. The scorebook will show that Prem had an extended innings to score 0, but that is just the way cricket goes sometimes. Time at the crease is important and from 0 for 1 wicket, we advanced to 45 off 10 overs and into the realms of respectability and momentum.
At this juncture, the umpire opted to “help” the captain by re-setting his guard at the crease, the very next ball being pouched by deep mid-on (clearly a result of the adjusted position!). Enter our new players, Ben and Dan Trigwell. They set about building a partnership of good shots and resolute determination that kept momentum flowing to 120.
Baz Noorzi left the dressing room in no doubt about his intentions with 6 boundaries in a cameo 32 with both Jonah and Luke both adding useful runs. Darren finished with 2 consecutive well hit boundaries. We had achieved 194.
In response, we kept our bowling much straighter than in recent matches but did not hit consistent lengths. The upside of this approach is that sometimes the edge is induced from the variety and Carter did exactly that for the opening bats at a cost of 30 runs. Baz repeated the trick from the other end with Jonah taking a smart and stinging catch at slip.
At 100 for 5 with 16 overs to go, Jonah and Darren Hick operating in tandem, the confidence was high. Then a sixth wicket fell. But Streat kept coming with a partnership from their number 6 and 8 bats. They kept the run rate at the required 8 an over and found gaps in the field. The momentum was building in their favour.
Last 4 overs and who would be the death bowlers for Nomads? Step forward Luke and Danny Poynting. Cramping the batsmen just enough, so that the run rate was edging higher, they slowed the momentum. 11 runs required off the final over, with the field entirely spread on the boundary could we hold our nerve.
A boundary past Jonah unsettled Nomads, but then Luke used his pace in the field to deceive the batsmen and create a run out. Danny kept control, although a highish full toss might have tempted umpires in some teams, we had done enough. Batted first and won.
WE had demonstrated a total team victory. The margin of victory meant that every run Bara has saved in the field (and she did) was critical, Carter was a ball magnet and Prem grew in confidence on the boundary, again saving critical runs. Our batting had been consistent accumulation, the bowlers reacted positively to the pressure. Good catches from Ben, Dan and Jonah meant that we took our chances. Even the Captain held a couple. As a team we worked together and won together.