From my (limited) knowledge of cricket theory, a team consists usually of 5 batsmen, a wicket-keeper batsmen, a few all-rounder and 3 or so bowlers. However today the Knights were going against this theory with the team instead consisting of 2 batsmen, 3 or so all rounders, 4 bowlers, a specialist?….ok just a glove man and Ian Messenger (for comic value and sledging). Thus competitively this match against Overton II’s could prove a challenging fixture for the Knights. Setting up at the ground the Knights warm up routine consisted of enjoying Caramel ice creams from Nick (excellent way to enter the team), generally abusing Barber and discussing how Frank may be useful as an 11th man (dog) if were short.
With the ground safely prepared and Dan keeping a watchful eye on the chairs, as our usual Captain was getting lashed at a wedding, Dennis assumed the captaincy role. Aware that we now had someone with extensive cricket experience at the toss, the Knights seemed happy at the prospect of bowling first in the hope of restricting Overton to a low total.
So in the stifling heat and Barber already sweating it out under his helmet, Pete and Chris were to open the bowling looking to cause pressure from their pace attack. With a quick single from the opener, the second batsmen felt he needed to make a stand against Pete and attack him from the off. This strategy seemed ok until Pete’s 6th ball whereby a mistimed loft sent Dave into action; well.. I’m sure the avid readers of these reports are already aware of our top drawer quality, but this catch would have given Scotland’s new captain Kyle Coetzer something to think about… an excellent catch on the dive followed by a shout of “get in there” from Dave taking the first wicket and leaving Barber wondering if he’ll be able to retain the magic moment award for the third year.
With continued intensity from Pete and Chris, and the number 3 batting more sensibly, Overton managed to reach 31 off the first 10 Overs. With the temperature continuing to rise, and Ian Goozee’s tea towel cravat still damp from its pre-match soaking, he entered the attack to replace Chris before getting too hot. With Pete still pressuring the batsmen through an excellent display of pace (whilst also shaving the bail through a near miss), the batsmen looked to accelerate the run rate through Goozee which led to another lofted shot this time taken by Dan in a much more simple fashion (and without the need for benches or chairs).
Pete keeping the pressure with another excellently bowled wicket; at drinks off 15 Overs, Overton were now 53-3 with the Knights looking to really put the squeeze on the runs. Following drinks a short lull began forming with Batsmen starting to accumulate runs and Chris skilfully timing his slide over the ball allowing it to go for 4. At this point Pete readied himself for his last over and through a top demonstration of fitness coupled with a quick short delivery, this led to a solid catch from Dennis and the big wicket of the opposition’s number 3 whom had amassed 39 runs against us. A good effort by Pete whom yet again has saved himself from excessive banter and sledging from the match report…….but only time will tell for how long.
Pete now finishing his spell and probably needing a lie down, Sam entered the attack alongside new bowler Nick Franklin to keep the wickets tumbling. With Overton reaching 83-4 off 21 Overs, the concern was they were still in an excellent position to accelerate and possibly exceed the 200 run mark. Straight after drinks, Sam immediately got the measure of the batsmen and instantly a catching chance was offered to Chris, however unlike Dave, Chris made a somewhat ungracious dive landing in what looked like a painful fashion to the laughter of his caring brother Nick. However what this has solved through our multi-national team is the ongoing debate of whether Scotland or Wales produces the best cricketing talent.
Realising catches were not on the agenda (especially with Kev and Ian playfully squabbling in slips an Barber palming the ball down as opposed to taking catches), Sam now decided attacking the stumps was a better solution, and this came to great effect with 2 quick bowled wickets placing Overton at 87-6 and the Knights looking in control with the ball. 30 Overs in, excellent tight bowling from Nick and Sam, Overton only managed to reach 106-6. Overton needing to accelerate, it was key for the Knights to take another critical wicket to maintain the pressure. Again Sammy in excellent form delivered with another 2 quick bowled wickets. End of the over, Sammy hoping (begging) Nick to take the two wickets in an effort of jug avoidance, Nick through causing the ball to grip and turn into unplayable areas bowled batsmen 7 putting Overton at 108-9. The Knights filled with confidence and Sam promptly wiping out the number 11 and claiming his well deserved 5 wicket haul (and jug for the team), Overton finished on 113 and the teams escaped the sun into the leisure centre for Teas.
Following a delicious tea consisting of a gorgeous iced cake and a mean Swiss Roll, the Knights emerged with Dan and Dave ready to open the batting. With the bowlers using a typical regional 3 tactic of a long run up, pause at the crease and a medium paceish delivery, the Knights immediately surpassed the run rate, achieving 20 runs off the first 5 Overs. However in typical Knights Valley fashion this start was not to last with Dave unfortunately falling first for 3, although I’m sure the ball moved across the wicket, Stato does not take any responsibility for delivery inaccuracies due to only a sideline view as Dave reminded me following the apparent movement of the bowling last week.
Looking to continue building the runs, the Knights kept above the run rate reaching 35 by 10 Overs. Feeling a need for shots and getting lost in a flurry runs Dan unfortunately forgot which sport he was playing; obviously his golfing in the morning had an affect on his shot selection and what would have been an excellent pitch shot to the green instead led to an easy caught and bowled dismissing him for 21. Nick now at the crease and the Knights in a delicate position, the new batsmen now needed to hold their wickets and build a partnership… well Nick feeling full of energy instead decided that every shot was a worth a single. However although this certainly worked for him, this unfortunately led to Sammy being easily ran out with the Knights on 39-3. With Chris approaching the crease looking to rebuild the innings, the Knights were still confident a win was in our grasp…… well this was until 3 balls later whereby a mistimed shot dismissed Chris for a duck and now the Knights were seriously worried.
Pete at the crease, the Knights reliving Denmead and Lee frantically calling myself and Dan, obviously using the force (excessive alcohol) to sense our current plight. With Nick still looking for every single and Pete settling our worries with some well struck 4’s, the Knights reached 50 off 17 Overs. However with the fielding looking sharper and the heat possibly tiring the batsmen, Nick wasn’t able to keep his frantic running any longer, and was run out for 5. Dennis at the crease, and wickets certainly becoming an issue, Overton decided to tighten their bowling as well as the fielding. With Pete looking confident, the new bowler upped his game producing an excellent yorker which was deflected and kept our by Pete. However the bowler was not aware of this leading to a half hearted LBW shout with the Knights looking to Ian for a professionally assessed decision. Well Ian realising the gravity of this decision made his thought process verbal to both bowler and batsmen which was as follows “no no no no……. oh actually I think that was out off you go”, and with such professionalism Pete was dismissed. Miffed as Pete was he should realise by now that following being bowled by the wind against United Services, and given LBW by Marcus Fielder off the bat handle at Baddesley… at this standard anything that beats the bat or hits the pad is more than likely out.
Well with Pete out, this desperate situation now led to Barber approaching the crease for what was unfortunately probably going to be a long innings. 10 deliveries in, Overton shouting how the pressure was building and Dan grinning obviously knowing this was not the case; the scoreboard still ticked over albeit slowly. This was until Dennis lofted a catch bringing Ian to the crease with the Knights at 65-7. With runs still ticking slowly, the sidelines absolutely bored sh**less, Barber hit 3 scoring shots in a row stunning the scorers and showing he was hungry for runs. However this only lasted for another attacking shot before edging it to a nearby fielder. At this point feeling dishevelled I did not see the remainder of the match as I was inconsolable in the changing rooms… although I hear Kev edged (or did he?) the first ball to the keeper and Ian whom was probably ready for action never managed to get off the mark. Thus the Knights finished up on 73 all out, (well what a shower that was and we all thought Denmead was to be our worst score with the bat) and alcohol was definitely needed among the team.
At the pub the Knights reflected on the loss at hand until Chris found out the Cleveland was offering stress balls after purchasing 6 pints of Stowford Press Cider. Well this certainly turned the pub session into a more lengthy affair with Chris using his new stress ball to relax himself from his batting blip and Ian like Kev assuming position as pub storyteller through telling us about his adventures in Japan…. well all I can say is we were glad we didn’t ask about Thailand…. So an unfortunate day for the Knights but at least there were some positives to the match, and next week we look to challenge Compton & Chandlers Ford at our accursed old Winchester pitch.