With a rare spell of dry weather this Summer, we were all happy to hear that our fifth match of the season would be on. Upon arrival at our home ground, Lee and Pete decided that today we should mimic a professional side by doing a professional warm-up. Some of us at the sound of this initially had the fear at laps of the pitch; however fortunately this was not the case and instead it was focused on fielding and bowling. This certainly gave a hint to the opposition what our intentions were from the toss (and also on who couldn’t catch!!!); however instead of doing a warm-up themselves, our opponent’s preparations included discussing their next strike, stamp prices or something more ridiculous than Consignia to call themselves.
As the Captains approached the middle for the toss and Lee again revealed his magic to win it; we elected a bowl (quelle-surprise) and continued our pre-match preparations whilst the opposition batsmen readied themselves. Same as last week, Pete and Sam were to open the bowling, with Pete (feeling he needed the challenge) deciding to take the first over going up the hill. The opening batsmen made a very steady start with only 31 runs being taken off the first 10 Overs (helped along by Adams weak bladder causing us to have only 10 men for 1 of the Overs). Following almost losing a pavilion window from a 6 off Sam; Lee decided that a change in bowling tact was needed to get the breakthrough. To this extent Kev and Cameron now entered the attack. The effectiveness of this decision was soon realised when the first opening batsmen gave a thick edge to Chris (ahem.. Barber) off Cameron’s bowling now putting the score at 38-1 off 13 Overs.
With the Number 3 approaching the crease and the realisation that the 2 best batsmen in their team may be both in the middle, it was key to keep up the pressure. As both batsmen started to settle, the team’s Number 2 decided another 6 was necessary, however this was slightly mistimed and Alex capitalised on this by taking a very solid catch near the boundary to now place the score at 50-2 with a second wicket for Cameron. As the Number 4 began his innings against Kev, it was clear he closely observed our pre-match warm-up and aimed edges past Lee to get off the mark. As these frustrations continued, we reached the drinks break with the opposition poised at 73-2 off 21 Overs.
With the worry that the opposition were in a very good position to push to 150-200 runs (similar to Ampfield last year), yet another change in bowling attack saw Pete return for his second spell with Adam starting his first at the other end. This proved to be immediately effective with Pete finding a new level of pace and wiping the Number 3’s stumps out to take a crucial wicket at 77-3. With Pete and Adam both bowling solid lines and restricting runs, this caused increasing pressure on the batsmen who only managed to advance their score to 88 at 30 Overs. These frustrations (and Adams swing) then got the better of Batsmen 4 who got bowled for 18 reducing the Pompey Posties to 87-4. With a sudden burst of initiative from both Captains, Kev now returned into the attack and tore through Batsmen 6 and 7 in 1 Over!!! With the score on 95-6 after 32 Overs, the Knights now began to feel that we had a good hold on the first innings.
With Kev continuing his spell and Sam now entering the attack, the aim was very much to bowl out the tail and claim the maximum for bowling points. However the Number 8 demonstrated that the only cricket shot you need is the sweep, and through many mistimed shots, the opposition’s run rate began to accelerate. Batsmen 5 liking the look of this tactic also tried to accelerate, however this was to his downfall as he chipped up an easy catch to Chris (which almost got called as Lee’s or Kev’s when the hesitation hit) earning Sam another wicket. At 40 Overs the score was 132-7 and there was pressure to keep the opposition to below 150. With a good run out on the 41st Over and Stevo bowling a delivery to make his fellow spinner Vettori proud (followed up by a rare and surprising stumping from Chris) in the 42nd, the opposition finished their innings at 144-9.
Following a well made tea from Kev (including some very nice homemade muffins and marble cake), we prepared ourselves to chase the exact same total as Vospers earlier in the season. For the second match running, Cameron and Dave opened the batting and looked to put on a solid partnership with Matt, Lee and Pete padded up ready to support. With the opposition realising that they would most likely need to win the match on wickets as opposed to runs, they decided to open the attack by bowling pies. These were easily despatched by Cameron and Dave, who made an explosive start to the innings and took the score to 46 off 10 Overs. With all the opposition just bowling wicket to wicket medium pace, this allowed Cam and Dave’s strong partnership to continue and by drinks break we were now at 91-0.
As whispers spread of a possible 146-0 whitewash, the atmosphere was soon changed by the comedy from Pete’s near vandalism of the sightscreen and also a strange atmospheric phenomenon which instead turned out to be just Jason’s sun blocking fuzzy hair as he arrived to watch the conclusion of the match. Still approaching the win, the mini-dramas continued with Cam suffering from a cramp causing a short injury break. With Matt looking eager to go in (following his 20 Over practice with Charlie) and Dave proving why National Service should be made compulsory again, Cameron decided to delicately continue. With the bowling never really improving, Cameron and Dave managed to accomplish the feat of a 146-0 whopping and hitting 68 and 75 respectively. With the Knights elated by this win (and the promise of a double jug later) it was agreed the Man of the Match out of fairness was to be given to Kev for his very tidy and effective bowling performance. Retaining our promotion spot (and avoiding the after match riot from the sounds in the other changing room), we now look ahead to our next match against Denmead where we look to support Pete in his first match as the main Captain.