Streat and Nomad 4s produced a thriller under the beautiful South Downs which went right through to the last over. It was the sort of cricket match that paying guests would have been talking about for ages and would have felt thoroughly entertained. However, for the Nomads it was heartbreak as James Porter dived to make the winning catch. Streat dancing with delight!
Both teams went into the game knowing that the outcome was going to be important to their Div 9 promotion hopes. It was 2nd v 3rd at pretty Middleton Manor 1pm start time 40 overs each. However, a sharp rainstorm had 22 players sitting in the pavilion for an hour which thankfully passed over allowing 36 overs a side. Nomads won the toss and elected to field.
There was nothing to suggest the excitement to come as Streat openers James Porter and Nigel Butler set out to blunt the Nomads attack. An intriguing battle ensued for 10 overs as singles were pushed against the accurate Short and Hick onslaught. Dominic Fifield looked to get on with things scoring a rapid 21 batting at three. The game was smouldering along nicely as Graham Hart added zest to the engine room. He and the opener up the anti with an increasing number of boundaries including a gorgeous straight drive for 6. Streat will owe much to the pair as they made a very telling partnership of 138. Both players making a game changing 70 runs each.
Nomads stuck to their task well in the field with no dropped catches or indeed midfields. There was a little flurry of late wickets but Streat had batted very sensibly and should have been very satisfied with 196 for 6 off 36 overs.
Mike and Tate strode out to the middle in confident mood, the Nomads looking to chase down a much-needed victory. However, it was Streat legend of 25 years, Richard Berrick who stole the early limelight with two early wickets. Chris Foulerton is in good form for the hosts, and he was soon claiming the important scalp of Gary Hector. The Nomads having that sinking feeling 34 for 3.
Young Charlie Davies steadied the ship with a nice 25 off 31 balls and in the process taking the score past 50. However, our ‘occasional’ 4s star Julian Musto playing just his 2nd game of the season was at it again at number 6. He quickly found his stride. In the most entertaining passage of play he struck no less than three 6s, including one into the Hall gardens (which I missed sorry Julian). He has this amazing hand eye coordination together with untold power. He just flashes the blade hard and connects!!! With his departure on 38 he and Luke had taken Nomads to the bring of success 165 for 6. The skipper added typical swashbuckling acceleration with a nice 26 runs as Nomads closed in.
Nomads Mom Luke Griffiiths held the game in his hands with a brilliant knock of 80 off 72 including 12 boundaries. The ground locked in nervous energy saw Streat edge back into things as three quick went for just 10 runs. For Streat the champagne moment arrived when Richard Gill fired to Griffiths who edged for keeper Gill to pick up a brilliant catch, que wild celebration amongst the hosts.
It was heartbreak for the Nomads as James Porter dived to take the last catch of the day. The Nomads dangling just two runs short of victory.
Skipper Stephen Oliver said ‘ it was a good one for the crowd, you cant knock the game. It’s just frustrating that we couldn’t score two more runs. Luke came in a with the inns of his life and nearly got us over the line. I am totally gutted that we haven’t won this!’ See full interview on the whattsapp site.
Luke said ‘I liked my new 400 quid bat (I didn’t pay that)! It was nice to hit some cover drives today along the deck. But I am gutted not to see this through. It’s a difficult one to take at this time!’ Going forward he suggested ‘the 4s are a quality team and should be playing in a higher division. I want to play in the remaining games and help us secure that promotion spot!’ Please see full interview on the Whattsapp site.
Bowman said ‘ sport ahhhh it can give and take in equal measures and that’s why we love it so much. It’s a cliche but sometimes you learn a lot more about yourselves in a defeat like this rather than the win. Our youngsters Tate, Charlie and Lewis, all highly skilled and very competitive will be pretty distraught this morning after this loss but guys use this experience when you go back out there again. You lads all have a massive future here at the Nomads and we are very proud of you. Huge congrats to Luke who is the Nomads Man of the Match. Many thanks to Streat for hosting at your wonderful ground it was brilliant to catch up with so many of you guys. Its great to see that Streat are flourishing. I am sure you are all still celebrating! Good luck for the remainder of the season’
Our Skipper Stephen gives his take on events.
WHAT A GAME
Well, I am sure that is the headline that Cobo will use. Looking at my heart rate graph the following day, it was clearly a game with immense tension, even if just watching from the side.
We arrived at Streat (eventually, apparently the satnav post code is unreliable!) and watched the rain fall. A classic 4th team side, 5 “experienced” players; 3 under 14. Luke Griffiths had been out until 5am and was sweating profusely before we started. Finally, the coin toss – PNCC won. We decided on a reduced game. 35 overs a side, I suggested. The opposition skipper was adamant that 36 overs was right and had his team ready. So we played 36 overs.
We started neat and tidy. Tate took the positive decision and stood up to the stumps and was very tidy to the bowling of Mal and Darren. We had a couple of wickets 16-1, then 48-2 the game was well poised. Credit then to the Streat batters who gave us little chance and continued to accumulate. However bigger credit to us for our bowling and fielding. Without putting everybody on the edge, we kept the boundaries down and the score advanced mainly in singles. Charlie bowled with great speed and was clearly too quick for the opener who still managed to survive. But unfortunately, our bowling consisted solely of “pace on” bowling and the batters were able to remain at the crease.
As we approached the final few overs, the game remained finally poised. At 180-2 Streat continued to press every single. We remained calm and in a final flurry secured 4 more wickets including 2 run-outs. The final score was 196-6 (a target of a run a ball and within the ability of the side). We had given 4 wides and the byes count was well down -congratulations to bowlers and wicket keeper.
After tea, Streat bowlers were definitely more “pace off”. Mike and Tate perished quickly to swing in humid conditions. At 17-2 the game was decisively against us. Charlie and Gary added valuable runs, but ultimately provided too many chances and we were 53-4. Luke Griffiths and Julian entered the fray. Julian hit an enormous 6 off his back foot (cleared a 20 foot hedge on a long boundary) but then “tweaked” his groin whist taking singles, Freeze gel applied he then succumbed trying in best Ben Stokes fashion to find the boundary again. He had scored 38 and we had got to 110-5.
Luke played with increasing confidence, ran well and started to hit the ball confidently. The skipper added an individual 24 before LBW (quite rightly!) intervened, we were 165-6. The target remained a resolute run a ball. After a couple of 2 quick wickets were 175-8. Luke and Lewis Cox (u13) at the crease. Lewis played a single past the crowded in-field, rejected the 2 and put Luke on strike. Luke then found acceleration 182-8 and after 3 consecutive 4’s the ball was there again, Luke played and snicked it to the wicket keeper. A brilliant 80 runs executed in confident style with hard hitting. 194-9 and 3 required from 7 balls. Last over, a wide. Then Lewis hit, connected, but a tumbling catch at mid-off meant the run would not count. We were an agonizing 2 runs short.
PS – I am still feeling raw about the “what-if” as I write this the following morning. But it was in many ways cricket at its finest. Any result possible right to the very end, tension building and great cricket from both sides. The Nomads team played together brilliantly with the youth and less experienced players making fantastic individual contributions.