Bagshot 3's V Finchampstead 5's
Drab end to entertaining match!
With Finch playing home games at St Neots School, we arrived to the rather pleasant surroundings with quirky undulating boundary, slick looking outfield and a strip prepared by Finch groundsman which had yielded 599 runs last time out. In perfect conditions, I won the toss and elected to bat. Matt Alexander was back after injury and A levels, and I asked him to open with his old bickering partner Matthew Funnell. Slightly unfair in hindsight as Matt had not seen a cricket ball since May apart from on the telly, and he was bowled by a jaffa from the young Finch opening bowler.
As it was a nice day on a perfect wicket, I had stuck myself at 3 in order to try and catch up with mini Growler who was ahead of his dad in league runs. Thankfully for a change, the conditions, small boundary, some wayward bowling and the odd good shot, Matthew and I put on 185 for the next wicket before I departed on 99, saving myself a bob or two as I was finally caught at mid on. Mini spud James White supported Matthew, who was now in full flow and playing some great shots, many of which he has been regaling family, friends and people at the bus stop over since, particularly his 6 over long on (yawn...).
James was run out, which brought together Mini G (Jack R) who put on a further solid and quickfire 68 before Jack (28) and then Matthew (77) went in quick succession. With a declaration in mind, Monty Nick Lynch and Sr. Achilles Nigel Rice put on a quickfire 37 to enable the skipper to declare on 320-5 after 45 overs. Extras were second top scorer (80...)
A nice tea in the plush school and we were out ready for action.
Jack and Chuckles resumed their opening attack, and bowled really well. Mini G was in aggressive mood (takes after his mother..), and both got an early wicket. With a run out as well, we were in the driving seat. However a roadblock with Finch's top scorer holding up one end and a debutante who had obviously played some reasonable cricket at the other, these two steadied things up until a few drops turned into a shower, and the shower turned into some serious rain. We went out after 25 mins rain break and we broke the partnership with a fine stumping from Achilles. Some interesting bowling from young Will Gardner, some scary bowling from Matt Alexander (I was standing at first slip and felt vulnerable - cries of "Are you Carey in disguise"), more rain breaks. To Finch's credit, we could have cancelled quite easily, but they were willing to carry on, partly due to their youngster (aged 13), wanting to get to his 50. In order to do this, I decided some more generous bowling was required. Call up THE WALL that is Santosh Mandal, who promptly bowled him when he was on 49! Shattered dreams and all that.... Monty bowled well, but with the game teetering towards a draw, it was the skipper who probably bowled one of his finest spells for Bagshot (maybe my only spell methinks, and it was only the last over) to ease their no3 to his 50.
Finch closed on 202-6.
A good performance, a game actually played in great spirit, and a result on this pitch is never going to be easy especially as I chose to bat first...
Up another place to 5th. We should have beaten all the teams above us, so hopefully we shall keep on rising up the table. More importantly, I am now about 20 odd runs ahead of mini G.