Newport Gentleman Match Report

With the weather staying dry on the Bank Holiday morning, we all made our way down to Hursley Park for an annual fixture with the Newport Gentleman. Since breaking away from Baddesley, this fixture has always been interesting due to some mixed opinions from the players. With 10 men ready to begin (with Jason still travelling back from Reading in a half sloshed state), Roy won the toss and we were fielding first. Pre-match tactics was very much on how to fill out the 40 Overs due to most of our bowlers unable to play.

So to begin, Chris and Cameron looked to open the bowling and take quick wickets to set us on our way. The Newport Gents to this extent opened with Merv and Deano (so we suspected one would be quick).  With Merv steadily starting with a single, Deano now took the strike. With his new (from the bootsale) Matrix bat at the ready, and with the extra stickers to increase its value, he managed to see off the first over from Chris. With Cam taking next over and Merv hitting another single, Deano took strike again; with his blood boiling from our Baddesley break-away he now looked to smack us round the park…. however he unfortunately missed a straight one and was bowled for 0.

Now Amjad (Lee’s hero) approached the crease and most of us knew that this was to bring an increased challenge.  With Chris and Cam still steadily bowling (including Cam trying the 4 wides and then a peach tactic), Lee thought that a change would be the key to the next wicket. Next the best of indoor now came to the outdoor track, Dave took the next over and by placing it in good areas his first over only went for 1 (plus a couple of byes). At the other end, Cameron’s dad Ian now entered the game and decided to teach his son how it’s done with a well (slowly) bowled Maiden first up. With Ian and Dave frustrating the batsmen, on the 14th over Merv went for the big shot only to Bowled round his legs by Ian for 16, placing the score on 44-2.

With Jim now approaching the crease and both surgeons being out in the middle there was a worry that the Newport Gents would be seriously looking to accelerate their run rate.  However by continuing their steady bowling the Newport only managed to amass 57 runs by drinks. As Jason had now arrived (without being breathalysed), Lee decided to enter him into the attack partnered by Chris’s brother Nick. With Amjad and Jim batting confidently we knew a wicket soon was crucial. However at the 23rd over, now that Jason’s Alka-Seltzer had done its job, a good in-swinging delivery saw Jim Bowled for 9 putting the score at 69-3.

With Nathan now in to bat and Alex now joining me in slips to keep my company, the innings resumed. However after a couple of Byes and a missed edge from me (with Cameron saving the boundaries) Alex was unfortunately removed and Dennis replaced him.  In an effort to return Alex to slips, it was crucial that no more chances went past and with Nick placing the ball in good areas, Amjad was caught behind on an unfortunate 49 with Newport on 107-4 off 30 Overs. With Fisher next in and Nathan still showing that he was yet to learn the defensive, Jason and Nick continued to keep up the pressure. This almost resulted in another Wicket with Fisher trying an ambitious single which when called back left him falling back onto the wicket. With Fisher on the ground and shouts for Dave to throw in to me, he left his bat on the ground and scrabbled and dived across the line in a rather muddy fashion.

As Chris was now looking to come back on, he decided that throwing banter at Nathan was the way forward, and didn’t this start a battle of batsmen vs bowler. With Chris putting some extra pace on the ball, he kept Nathan restricted and was very unfortunate not to get his wicket. With Matt supporting well and following Dave and Ian’s trait, we now reached the last over with Nathan to take strike.  Dennis feeling it was his fatherly duty to protect his kids decided to take the potentially punishing final over. However through his good bowling, Nathan only amassed a single and Fisher lofted a nice catch to Lee. With 1 ball to go, Mark Hannah at the crease, we knew this would probably go for runs as he picked Chris as his fielder for a quick 2 to finish the innings at 139-5.

After the plethora of egg and tuna sandwiches at Tea, we now looked to knock off what seemed to be the same score of last year. So, a low score to chase, plenty of time where have we seen this before. With Dennis, Dave and Cameron as the first 3, with their batting power we looked in great shape to knock off the score. So without fail after 5 Overs we didn’t have to wait long to realise our worries being at 16-2; Dave unfortunately being LBW and then Cameron missing the straight one. So with Lee at the crease a partnership began to form. However then came the rain, but would we come off, certainly not as the Umpires felt that we may not win on Duckworth/Lewis and that continuing to bat would be favourable (well at least Roy agreed saying that the ball would skid on nicely; certainly those who played Calmore last year would disagree). With Chris making good conversation with the relatives of the Gents, Dennis unfortunately not favouring the rainy conditions was bowled with the score at 23-3.

So with a worry of the >100 total Alex now approached the crease and did a good job of seeing off Newport Gent’s new Asian pace bowler. Lee however decided he was going to play smartly and looked to whack a beamer for 4, unfortunately this was caught but being a no ball all was well… or was it, it wasn’t called no ball, the umpires weren’t sure and the Newport kept very quiet. Thus this was given as a wicket and Lee walked out for 11. Some would say that being Knights Valley captain he should have known that with our umpiring you cannot hit extras or let the ball hit your pads; others (Dave) said that it was an awful shot that should have gone for 4 and thus it deserved to be given out. This now meant Chris had to pad up and as he was now bored with the relatives conversation he promptly told them to be quiet as he left.

With Matt now at the crease the score was looking delicate (more so with Alex being unfortunately bowled for 4), however he made a positive start with Chris Franklin and at 42-5 we were really hoping they could both get us to the 100 runs mark. With both looking in good form it was unfortunately Chris who was out for 21 and the score was now reduced for 74-6 as the darkness began to set in. With Amjad and Fisher now tying the batsmen up with spin, we were looking delicate on batting, runs, wickets… basically things just becoming a bit of a mess and Dave already raiding the bar for beer. Fortunately though both Matt and Nick remained strong at the crease and put on a crucial 30 run partnership before Nick was unfortunately bowled for 4.

There is only so much stress a man can take, and with Matt batting for 20+ overs, against Amjad, the poor light, the pouring rain at times, with wickets falling and almost being beheaded by a straight drive from Chris…. as Barber approached the crease and began killing the run rate it was all too much for him and he was caught on 35…but was a very admirable innings which certainly revived the match. With Jason (and the 2 slowest batsmen in the club) now in, the steady 4 an over started became a mountain and before long the rate became over 5. With shouts from the sidelines to hurry up and the fielding side become increasingly bored, Amjad decided he’d had enough of this and promptly bowled Chris out for 3.

With Ian now in and saying he was going to sort Amjad out, the scorebook certainly seems to reflect he was taking no messing with a quick 4 runs off 8 deliveries. Why I didn’t see this? Well it’s a rare feat for me to be bowled and there was a need for composure time in the changing rooms (yes, there may have been tears).  End of the day (or evening given the darkness)  we were 20 runs short which was unfortunate given the weather and Lee’s shocking shot selection…oh sorry meant the uncalled no ball. Still a good match and we certainly look forward to next year.

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August 18th vs RAM Starting XI

Hi Everyone

Home match for the final game of the season so please look to arrive just after 1:00.

Thanks

  1. Pete Finlay
  2. Steve Reese
  3. Dennis Payne
  4. Kev Finlay
  5. Cameron Messenger
  6. Dave McAdam
  7. Alex Messenger
  8. Jason Maker
  9. Chris Barber
  10. Chris Franklin
  11. Sam Fielder

Rested/Away:

  1. Toby Shefford
  2. Lee Payne
  3. Matt Payne
  4. Adam Sillence

Good luck to everyone and if we manage to come away with 22+ points then we should be guaranteed promotion into Regional 2 next year.

United Services III Match Report

Meeting at the Cleveland for our last away game of the season and happy to find a postcode which did exist in the handbook, we began the long journey to Portsmouth for what would have to be a win if our promotion hopes were to stay alive. As we approached the entrance to the ground, we were greeted by a locked gate and an intercom; this proved to be a formidable challenge for the Knights and to this extent Sam and Jason decided that forming a roadblock in protest was necessary. With the intercom not working and the armed guards obviously still at the Olympics, Kev decided to put an end to this by shouting across the pitch and asking if we could get in or if not where we were meant to go?

Now that we were directed to the other ground at Clarence pier (nicely unconfirmed by the opposition Captain) we drove to the seafront to find a football, rugby and cricket pitch; however it appeared that they were often used simultaneously by all the long grass and painted lines still present. So with an astro turf wicket, short boundaries (or at least I think that was the correct line), long grass and enough birds and feathers to show that this pitch doubled as an Attenborough documentary location, Pete approached the middle with the Captain for the toss.

With us losing the toss and going in to bat first, we looked to at least surpass our 74 against Denmead and build ourselves a good platform to defend. Unfortunately the nerves already began early when our first wicket fell at 7 and Matt unfortunately being dismissed for a Duck. With Sam still looking to build a steady innings, Steve approached the crease and decided to stop all our batting tension by prolifically hitting almost every ball for runs. With the fielding side struggling (helped by Chris trying to psych them out with his comments as well as showing his disgust for Vans trainers), Sam and Steve managed to put on 101 runs before the next wicket fell. At 108-2, we seemed to put our batting issues to rest and were now in a strong position to hit a big total. However the Payne’s still thought we needed some more incentives to bat well and 10 runs later, Lee was dismissed for 6.

With Pete looking to hit a steady Captains innings, he thought that whacking the bowler for 6’s and 4’s would be the best idea (well it certainly was working for Steve). Both began scoring runs until Steve got himself caught equalling the club record of 79 (and now realising the importance of mentally counting what total you’re on), at 159 Chris Franklin now approached the middle and I think it was safe to say that any runs in the next partnership would come quite quickly…. and we were not wrong, 6 overs later, 44 on the score and Pete was unfortunately bowled and the Captains innings finished on 37.

With Chris Barber now in at 203 with 10 overs to go, there was a concern that Lee’s recommended target of 220 was now in jeopardy. However the other Chris realised this as well and certainly helped himself to the strike as much as possible to keep the runs flowing. So with this good use of tactics Chris managed to also level himself with Steve on 79 however his not out now makes him the club record holder for highest batting score. Furthermore, finishing our innings on 278-5 beat our previous club total record of 261-7 (which was scored against Cadnam III last year).  So now at teas and with the highest total we’ve ever scored, surely after last week this was going to be a certain win………..

So onto the bowling, after a very tactical discussion, Pete decided this game would be won on boundaries and thus set a deep field to account for this. With Pete and Chris this time opening the bowling, the batsmen immediately went on the attack and made a quick start. However Chris this time had first blood and a good delivery bowled their opener for 24 and with so many runs to chase this increased the pressure on the opposition. With the number 3 approaching the crease and Pete beginning to find a rhythm, a top bouncer caused a glove hit to me for a finger tip catch (proving Lee’s whining for why I needed to get new gloves with more grip).

Now with the youngsters in, it was looking promising that we would now defend the total. As the bowling continued to restrict the batsmen, further helped by good spells from Sam and Adam (as well as some mysteriously high scoring Maidens), we reached the drinks with the score just below 100. As the opposition obviously lacked 2 people who could score, our book was not completed properly thus making it difficult to be sure on when wickets fell. However this didn’t stop Kev who from a deceptively slow ball enticed the batsmen into hitting it into Finlay territory for a good catch.

In order to be victorious the opposition recognised that it would take more than their high scoring Maidens and instead decided to take some more risky runs. However this was well spotted by Toby who with a quick an accurate throw (with a surprise and accurate stumping from Chris unlike last week) managed to achieve his first run out and got the remaining and dangerous opener out for 43. With another youngster approaching the crease (who managed to rile our bowlers into competing for the wicket), it was Jason who managed to strike by bowling him out for 6. As the batting order was obviously going in reverse of age, a 12 year old now approached the crease with still somewhere over 100 runs still needed.  However Jason had also noticed Kev’s method of bowling and also lured the other batsmen into whacking it to Pete and this followed by another top catch dismissed the number 3 for 24.

With only 4 wickets needed for max points and the game looking in hand for us (or at least what I can tell from the blank scorebook next to me), Pete returned into the bowling attack looking for blood (ahem wickets) partnered by Adam. With the younger Gadd showing a solid technique, the overs kept passing without any wickets falling, until Adam struck with a top swing delivery to bowl out the youngster for 12. With everyone in elation with our performance so far (apart from Lee moaning about his batting, the party he was missing and Kev not helping him with his groin injury), Adam continued his pressure with the ball and managed an excellent caught and bowled against batsmen 8 who was dismissed for 17.

2 Wickets to go and only a few overs remaining for the last bowling point; and Chris entered back into the game by bowling batsmen 9 out for 4 and batsmen 11 entered and the last wicket was all on the last ball. Unfortunately this was missed by keeping Chris and went for 4 leg byes (although if it was an edge I think I may have been Taxiing back). A top performance with the opposition only making 183, club records all round and Chris Franklin rightly earning the Man of the Match trophy. With such a good win and the season climax against Ram next week, another win would now take us up to Regional 2 so COME ON THE KNIGHTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Denmead II Match Report

Approaching the 8th match of the Season, we were now to host Denmead II at home. Ahead of the final 2 challenging fixtures against United Services and RAM; if we were to get promoted then winning this match would be crucial. However, watching the weather on the morning of the match we were pleasantly surprised to hear that the game was on (well, until we found out that we were playing because the Council needed money). Knowing how to reach the ground this week, we arrived in good time for a pitch inspection and general warm ups. Fortunately the pitch was in good condition and the Denmead captain agreed with this and decided to bat first.

Considering our good record of bowling first, we were also satisfied with this decision and prepared ourselves for the crucial match ahead. Pete (finally) decided it might be a good idea to open from the top end and Sam was more than happy to take 2nd over coming up the hill. With both Pete and Sam seeming to be on good form, we made a steady start with the opening batsmen only able to score at a rate of 2 an over. This however only lasted until the 2nd batsmen took the strike against Pete; it was clear he had not faced the many painful net sessions like ourselves and was completely beaten for pace and Bowled for 7.

With Batsmen 3 at the crease, obviously an experienced player, he saw an easy 4 opportunity through frustratingly edging the ball through slips. With Sam still starving the runs and Pete bowling in good form (and even pushing Kev back to avoid another Hamble incident), the next wicket fell in the 11th over with bails yet again flying through the air. At 27-2, Demead were now in a delicate position as batsmen 4 came to the crease. After the first ball beat him for pace and their Umpire saying “welcome to the game” it appeared the next wicket was not far away. Again Pete capitalised on this again with a bodyline delivery creating a quick edge and good catch from Chris (although the catch was more to avoid that of a hospital trip from either the ball or Pete attacking in an uncontrollable rage).

With Batsmen 5 walking in and the bowling now changing to Chris and Kev, it was critical that we kept starving Denmead of runs whilst taking their wickets. This was until the 18th over where Chris Franklin managed to get the batsmen to top edge a well watched catch to Jason. With Denmead on 49-4 and Batsmen 6 deciding that a helmet may be a good idea, Kev looked to keep the pressure on with his 2nd over. Fortunately he was successful at this and demonstrated his athleticism with a first class diving Caught and Bowled. This top wicket now reduced the batting side to 51-5 and the Knights looked in good shape to restrict the opposition to a low score.

Looking forward to drinks on the next over, Chris kept the pressure on batting side and like Pete fired through a speedier delivery to bowl Batsmen 7 for only 4 runs and at drinks, the opposition were 67-6. With the new Batsmen deciding a no fear approach to batting would be best, he adopted a quicker scoring rate and even managed a reverse sweep against Kev (which almost went for 4 due to Lee being taken by complete surprise).  Fortunately however the other batsmen was now quite so skilled and instead flicked what seemed to be a slow and nervous (to watch) catch from Lee.

With the tail now in to bat and Denmead looking unlikely to make 100 runs. Chris knew that a fiendish delivery could outfox the batsmen; and didn’t he do just that. Through running in too quick, bowling a straight slower ball and then diving onto the ground with sound effects, the batsmen was beaten all ends up and the 8th wicket fell. An excellent delivery showing an element of skill unmatched by the other bowlers of the team.  At 81-8, Pete returned to look for some serious wickets and the first delivery saw the batsmen absolutely cream one to Jason. Although a drop (though would have been difficult at that speed) Jason did perform an excellent nuts defence and at least saved the 4 runs and demonstrating reactions I wish I had in the earlier net sessions. However the next delivery saw the batsmen charge down the wicket to Pete and getting himself bowled in the process, and this was then shortly followed up by the stumps of the number 11 flying out also rewarding Pete with a 6 wicket haul.

At 81 all out, there was an air of confidence at teas that we could claim the win we were looking for. As Cameron was mortally wounded from his top fielding stop on the first over and only 81 to score; it was decided to rearrange the batting order to allow others a chance ahead of the tougher remaining fixtures. With Dennis and Dave opening the batting, it was important to put on a steady 82 partnership to claim the maximum points for the day. However this tactic only lasted till the 5th over whereby we were on 14-2 with both Dennis and promoted Alex returning back to the pavilion.

Following this tentative start, Lee now approached the crease looking to perform a Captains innings. However the partnership soon finished when Dave was caught with the score on 22-3. Faith was now in Chris Barber for the slow steady innings he usually plays; unfortunately, batting like an absolute tool  he was out in 3 balls for 0 and the score was now 24-4 (although at least I looked solid according to Cam). With Jason now in at 6 and Dennis now assuming the position as the Club Medic (always wondered who it was), we were trying to reduce the pain in Cam’s thumb so that he would be able to bat.

With the run rate slowing and the wickets still falling; the next victim was Lee only for 7 runs and now the Knights felt nervous about reaching the challenging total of 81. Pete now approached the crease and looked to carry on his good bowling form with a solid battings innings. This looked good with his solidly hit 4 but also like the others he did not last long and was out 2 balls later. At 28-6 and Steve and Matt now offering their full support of the situation on the phone, Cameron now came in at 8 to try and facilitate a solid partnership. This was looking good until Jason fell with the score on 42. With Sam Fielder now at the crease the immense pain then overcame Cameron who lost his wicket on 43-8. Looking as if a shocking loss was now on the cards, it now all rested on Chris and Sam to try and take us home. Fortunately they both agreed with this and upped their game for the occasion and began to build a solid partnership.

With 8 runs to go and Lee pooping it, the rest of us nervously watched hoping that we were going to scrape through. However the ended when Chris was caught on 17 and now Kev with nerves of steel as if he was about to storm a crack den, he marched out to the crease looking to save the team.  The pitch unfortunately decided not to be favourable to us and a low delivery took his wicket with us being all out on 74 (however well done for Sam for his solid 13 not out). With promotion all but gone and the matches post mortem being discussed over 2 jugs of beer, we now look to put up a good fight against United Services and Ram in order to hold our mid-table position.

August 11th Starting XI vs United Services III

Hi Everyone

Playing Away this week so please look to meet at the car park for 12:30. Also we are on an Artificial Wicket this week so please do not bring spikes.

Thanks

  1. Lee Payne
  2. Pete Finlay
  3. Steve Reese
  4. Matt Payne
  5. Sam Fielder
  6. Adam Sillence
  7. Jason Maker
  8. Chris Franklin
  9. Chris Barber
  10. Kev Finlay
  11. Toby Shefford

Rested/Away

  1. Cameron Messenger
  2. Alex Messenger
  3. Dennis Payne
  4. Dave McAdam

If anyone is now unavailable for the match, then please let me know asap!

August 4th Starting XI vs Denmead II

Hi Everyone

Home match this week so please aim to be at the ground for 1:15.

Thanks

  1. Lee Payne
  2. Pete Finlay
  3. Dennis Payne
  4. Kev Finlay
  5. Chris Barber
  6. Jason Maker
  7. Cameron Messenger
  8. Alex Messenger
  9. Dave McAdam
  10. Sam Fielder
  11. Chris Franklin

Rested/Away

  1. Steve Reese
  2. Matt Payne
  3. Toby Shefford
  4. Adam Sillence

If anyone is now unavailable for the match, then please let me know asap!