K.V.C.C vs B&N.H.C.C
So the first league match of the year was upon us and waking up to Saturday morning, we found a beautifully sunny day, without a cloud in the sky. Now, with this being England, by 1 o’clock, the heavens opened and the match was in jeopardy. Arriving at the ground, we found a large puddle in the middle of the wicket and thanks to Dave and Frank (the dog) we managed to mop up the puddle with Franks blanket and allow the wicket to dry to an acceptable standard (it never did) and hope the rain would not hamper us again.
With the opposition arriving safely, the 2 skippers plodded out to the middle and decided that a game would go ahead and we would make the best of what we had. Skipper Payne won the toss and decided to bowl, only time would tell if this was a good call or not. It was decided that play would start at 3 on the button and a reduced amount of overs. 36.
A few showers later and at 3 o’clock, Pete took the new ball in hand and rifled down his first delivery of the day. The first few overs of the day proved that the knights could not afford to bowl anything short and when they did, it would be punished by J. Ahuji. The Basingstoke opener smashed away anything slightly short or on his legs and quickly brought up his 50. With messieurs Finlay, Fielder and Franklin all struggling with slippage and length in the wet, sloppy conditions and the batsman hitting runs far too fluently, it was decided that some slower bowling was in order. Pops Payne and Solider Boy McAdam were brought on to try and slow the run rate and maybe pick up a few wickets. The new bowlers did just that, both picking up their first 2 league wickets a piece for the club and showing a great level of control and stemming the flow of runs.
Now the weather was to play a massive part in the days play and play was interrupted 3 times during this first innings and tea was taken during one of these rain breaks.
With the openers removed the wickets would fall pretty regularly now, Sam taking a wicket and a truly epic run out throw from Chris Franklin. Chris’s brother Nick would then join the party in a big fashion. Coming on for the final 2 overs with 4 wickets still to take for maximum bowling points, Nick dazzled us with his pinpoint accuracy and monstrous turn………the first wicket he was to take was remarkable (and if it was me, I would be too embarrassed to claim it) a double bouncing, pea roller type thing and the laugh that accompanied it was equally as remarkable. In just 11 balls Nick took the final 4 wickets to ensure maximum bowling points for the Knights but Basingstoke had hit a good total of 171.
With yet another rain delay, the Basingstoke players were making noises about not wanting to play on as they felt the pitch and wicket had become to unsafe for their 4 younger team members and 2 of their team had refused to take to the field altogether. With Chris and Dave umpiring (not the two umpires you’d want to be up against in an argument) the away skipper tried to press home his reluctance for more play but it was to fall on deaf ears and after a meeting between Umpires and the 2 skippers and Payne reminding the away Skipper that his teams failure to reappear from the changing rooms would result in a forfeit and loss of points and with that they decided to play on and the old Duckworth/Lewis came out to playand a revised total of 163 in 34 overs was needed. Out marched openers Reese and Keyworth, ready to bite a big chunk out of the total made my Basingstoke. a good start was made and at 25 for 0 off of 7 overs another rain delay happened and things started to get tricky.
For a full game to count, the knights needed to bat for a minimum of 20 overs and this was looking a long way off with light not getting any better. A frantic phone call to Stato (Barber, in the library, in Sheffield) he informed us that the new total was 144 from 32 overs and the 20 over total was 97. So after a quick chat between the captains, a 20 over innings was half heartedly agreed upon and the players returned to the field. Just before the bowling resumed there were cries of ‘you can’t decide how many overs you play, it has to be 32 or nothing’. Now, no one really knew what was going on and the senior knights decided to go all out attack and try to get to 97 before the 20 over mark.
So play resumed and the first knights wicket to fall was Keyworth falling victim to a slower ball and finding himself in no mans land and stumped. 37-1 was a good start but it was to go wrong for a few moments with Skipper Paynes woes continuing and not troubling the scores, Dan Keller falling for 1 and Pete out for 2. A truly awful 3, 4 and 5 and then the loss of Reese falling for 19, let the knights deflated but this brought franklin and fielder to crease and the pair did a cracking job of chasing the runs. Fielder continuing his growing batting reputation and Franklin showing his batting power the 97 mark was reached by over 19. During the decisive 20th over it started to rain and the Basingstoke players were overly keen to come off. Persuaded to carry on and the thought of 97 off 20 seemingly forgotten about, the 144 target was now in sight. There was a blow to the knights in over 21 as Franklin shouldered arms to a wide that somehow turned back a mile, going for 23 and McAdam falling for just 6, the responsibility was to fall to Fielder to steer us home. Fielder ploughed on sterlingly but lost a bail by the finest of margins for 30. Matt trudged out looking for some runs and the father son pairing of Matt and Pops were at the crease. They had the scoreboard ticking over perfectly, frustrating the fielding team with singles galore and with 7 overs to go of the allotted 32 and only 25 runs needed, the knights with 1 wicket in hand were sitting pretty and could afford to be picky with scoring…….or could they, as during all this Pete had had his head buried in the league handbook and was beginning to question Statos mathematics (yes,I was surprised too) and after a call between the two, it was discovered the total that the Knights needed was in fact 153 and not 144. Not knowing what to do, keep quiet or make it known, word was given to Umpire Reese to inform the two Paynes about Statos mistake (he will never live this down, what are you studying chris?!) and to tell them to get a move on with the run rate that had now gone up to a run a ball from the final 6 overs……..this was to prove to be a bridge too far as the two Paynes had no choice but to hit out and pops fell for 14. Nick Franklin joined Matt at the crease and was in for all of 3 balls when Matt got caught on the boundary trying to go for the runs and the game was over.
A disappointing loss for the knights and a tough day. Never having been involved in a rain delayed match, this will be good experience for the knights moving forward. The dreaded soft, green and slow pitch came back to haunt us but there were some positives, namely the bowling performances of Pops, Dave and Nick and the batting of Chris, Sam and Matt. We look forward improving our rusty fielding and making up for this loss in the next few weeks!