Hollybank vs. Knights Valley
July 2nd AWAY
The 3rd game for the Knights was away to Hollybank CC. A blustery day, with the sun in and out from the clouds, the skipper kp went out to do the toss with his opposite number. A call of heads from kp would prove to be wrong and Hollybank decided to bat, although kp would have bowled, so this could be considered a win.
With a number of influential players away (Pete, Adam, Kev, Chris, Toby, Alex) the Knights had welcomed 2 new players to the team, Sam Whieldon, who would keep wicket, and Aaron Holes who would bowl. Also back from his holidays and making his first league appearance this season, was elder statesman pops and not forgetting Chris Franklin back for also his first appearance of the season.
After the now customary huddle, current player of the year Sam Fielder was to bowl the first ball of the day, with Franklin opening from the other end. From the outset it was clear that the Hollybank captain and opener C.Wells would be a key batsman for his team. He played with controlled aggression while his partner thrashed his bat at everything and after 5 over’s Hollybank moved to 25 for 0. Messrs Fielder and Franklin were bowling good lines but the Hollybank openers were hitting boundaries from anything slightly down leg or slightly too short and after 10 over’s Hollybank had moved to 45 and the Knights needed a break through. It came in the 11 over, a good catch from M Payne off Fielders bowling and the knights were now looking to step up the pressure and get stuck into the opposition. Franklin having bowled 5 for 18, signalled for a rest and the skipper brought on A. Holes for a spell, unfortunately Holes had a loose first over going for 15. His next 3 over’s would be much improved and they would go for just 11 and he was unlucky as he had a couple of drops off his bowling, that would have seen an impressive take by the stand in keeper Whieldon and a good catch by McAdam, and this would have given a nice boost to his confidence. Fielder bowled a cracking opening spell of 8 over’s, 1 for 37. His replacement was J. Maker and he was to pick up where Fielder had left off. Bowling excellent line and lengths, Maker would pick up his first wicket with is 2nd over. Over 20 would see the introduction of Cameron Messenger, taking over from an unlucky Holes. Messengers first over was excellent, quick and full and with an equally impressive 6 more balls from maker, there was a much-needed 2 maidens in a row for the knights meaning Hollybank had reached 96 for 2 at drinks.
The first over after drinks was too, unfortunately, prove to be decisive. Messenger carrying on his spell had Hollybank captain Wells in all sorts of trouble. With Wells on 47, he played a defensive nudge too hard and the red ball went, looping, straight to M.Payne in the covers. Having to dive forward slightly, the ball was in his large hands but somehow popped out again and the chance was to go begging. Wells would go on to hit 120 no and with every boundary he would go on to hit, the anguish would show on Payne more and more. Wells would also prove to be Hollybanks only trump card and (hindsight is a wonderful thing) had he have been dismissed, the home side would have struggled to make 150. After this messenger did get a wicket, with the returning Pops making an unbelievable diving to his left catch in the slips, defying his age and generally showing the others how to do it and as is normal now when pops takes a catch, the other KV players questioning what happened to the catching abilities of sons Matt and Lee! An unlucky Messenger would go on to have a couple more drops off his bowling. Reese would bowl 4 overs of spin and with a well set Wells hitting any slightly short balls to the boundary, Reese did beat the bat a number of times. A special mention of the stand in Keeper Whieldon, who would take 2 good catches and keep well in his first ever 42 over match.
The wickets would fall pretty quickly now, but Wells was the thorn in the Knights side as he hit boundary after boundary and after the regulation 42 over’s Hollybank would hit 224 for 8 with the bowling figures
Having a well earned spot of tea, the Knights felt confident that the runs could be chased down and a solid opening partnership would be key.
Messenger and M. Payne would get the Knights innings under way. A solid start by the openers would see the required run rate of 5.333333333333 matched and an untroubled start saw the Knights reach the 10 over mark on 46 for 0, 1 ahead of Hollybank at this same stage. Messenger and Payne hitting some fine shots and some excellent running between the wickets, undoubtedly a fine opening partnership is beging to establish. In the 14 over, there was a blow to the Knights as Messenger was given out on 27, caught behind. Replays and hot spot would show the ball hit his pad and Umpire pops had some explaining to do! Well, Cam said it hit his pad, not the first time a fellow Knight umpiring, had given out a team mate under suspicious circumstances!
This would bring D. McAdam to the crease and looking to get in amongst the runs. A confident McAdam sent a crunching hook shot, which was destined for a six, but was excellently caught on the boundary and he had to walk for 0. This brought Skipper Payne to the crease and full of nerves due to a previous weeks 0, quickly got off the mark with a single. The 2 younger Payne’s were looking comfortable but were never really able to keep up with the run rate, mainly due to Hollybanks N. Wood who would bowl an unbelievable spell of 10 over’s, 6 maidens, 1 wicket for 8 runs and at drinks the Knights were now 16 behind the mark set by Hollybank.
Over 22 would see the Knights give a collective groan as a slow, loopy bowler, G. Grier was brought on, yes guys it was a girl, and the opposition sticking 6 on the boundary, singles would be all the was mostly scored off the bowling. Again, this bowling would be destructive to the Knights with M. Payne being bowled going after one and his replacement S. Reese falling victim to the loopy pies LBW (maker was umpiring so draw your own conclusions!), after looking like putting on a good partnership with the skipper, having got to 8 runs quickly and making up some of the difference. Coming in at 6 was D. Payne, who also struggled with the slow deliveries. Skipper Payne didn’t have so many problems and managed to hit a couple of boundaries. Having got to over 29 now 28 runs behind the run rate, it was time to put the foot on the gas. Pops took this a little too literally, and with skipper Payne having made his way to 32 and starting to hit some more expansive shots, pops at the non strikers end, strangely called for a suicide single and the skipper with no chance, was gone. After a few heated words from son to father, Franklin came to the crime scene and played a wonderful innings. 110 needed from 12 over’s was always a big task but one that was set about eagerly by the remaining Knights. With another batsman, Pops, falling to the slow bowling of Girl bowler Grier, again trying to hit out hard, Fielder came out with nothing to loose and had a cracking go at getting the runs. Franklin and Fielder hit boundaries galore. Unfortunately it was too little too late and Franklin fell on 24 bringing Holes to have a thrash. Holes fell for 7 and Wheldon was left with 3 balls to score 28 runs. Not even Barber could work that out and the Knights fell short of the total.
A good game, played in good spirit was lost on the day, with the Knights looking back on agonising drop catches. Catches really do win matches and although this will go down in the record books as a loss, with so many players away, the Knights put up a battling display and can feel proud of their efforts and probably, could and should have won this one.
Man of the match went to S. Fielder for an excellent bowling display and for a quick knock of 30.