Knights Valley vs Liphook & Ripsley III Match Report

So albeit a yellow rain warning for the south; the Knights were to travel to West Sussex for their next “Hampshire” Cricket League fixture against Liphook & Ripsley 3rds. Arriving at the Cleveland, readying ourselves for what was most likely to be a long drive for another thrashing or abandoned match; the Knights were insulted at the usual car park being invaded by wedding guests at the nearby church. This irritated Dave so much that he even shouted “don’t do it” in earshot of the Groom…. so on that awkward note the Knights decided it best to leave for the ground. After a long drive and Dan most likely losing some of his hearing from the deafening music from in-car DJ Pete, most of the Knights arrived on time.

Following a pitch inspection resulting in an assessment of short boundaries and a rock-hard surface, it was good to see Lee lose the toss meaning the Knights had to field first. With the Knights preparing themselves, a situation was beginning to unfold…. Ian (as usual) had yet to arrive with what he had described to be a cross between a sexual athlete and David Gower’s cousin. A short call found him to be down in Cocking (only Ian would find himself lost in such an aptly named village), and after Chris almost rerouting him to Kent… the Knights faced the real possibility of starting the match with only 9 men. However through coaxing his built-in Sat-Nav, (which knowing Ian I’m sure was installed with a provocative voice), he arrived at the ground just in time to sledge the team and slightly assault Franklin before the start.

Now thanks to Barber intelligently leaving the Scorebook in the back of his car, and forgetting to photograph the opposition’s book, this part of the report can only be done from the realms of my memory. Starting up, Pete opened with Chris for the usual pace attack; unlike last week the Knights quickly struck with Chris’s second over taking a fine glove through to Barber. With the scorers realising that this could be an active innings, they decided to make notes on the bowlers in order to easily differentiate them; thus for the purpose of the match report I find it only fair to continue this. So with Pot Belly continuing with his pace attack including lofting the ball over the batsmen and Barber’s head, as well as some more quick edges; the scoreboard began to quickly increase. With Ian’s sexual athlete (ie. ex Swan Green player Mike), playing a vital role in slips, Chubby Barrel Chest continued the pressure up the hill (even assisted with a powerful and painful piece of knee fielding from Matt).

Unfortunately at this point the weather hit and a rain delay ensued. However contrary to what was thought in the changing rooms, the Innings quickly resumed after only 10 minutes. With Barrel Chest being saved for a few Overs later on, Nick ie. Slightly Chubby (we’ll shorten it to Chubs for now) entered into the attack.  Donning a West Indies shirt, the opposition were unsure of how fiendish the bowling would be, and this was reflected by the slight reduction in run rate. However it was Pot Belly whom was next to strike, with a well-planned over foxing the batsmen, the sixth ball saw the number 3 bowled for only 8 runs. With Pete now finishing his bowling spell, it was Sam who entered the attack next and through using some extra pace to take advantage of the bounce, the Knights maintained pressure on Liphook’s batsmen. With Nick bowling the dangerous remaining opener through the usual unplayable straight delivery, it was agreed a bowling change was needed for the new batsmen. To this effect Ian (the butler) entered into the attack which certainly stirred up a batsmen/bowler dual. With the batsmen trying the straight drive leading to Ian taking one to the shoulder and another to the foot causing him to fall; it was clear a response was to come from the big man. Well the Butler certainly gave this a good try through awkwardly hitting the batsmen and then almost achieving a stumping… if only DRS was available in Regional 3, maybe a suggestion for the next HCL AGM?

With Sammy using an excellent (as always) delivery to dismiss batsmen 4 for 38, the Knights then realised that amidst the banter, the bowling Overs had slightly been miscalculated. Thus our esteemed Captain decided that this would be the time to bring himself on to bowl. Taking on a challenging opposition in poor conditions, our Captain decided that his pace would be the best pick of the bowlers, well with the fielders moving out it was clear I was not the only nervous Knight behind the stumps. However, simple as his bowling was, it was not a complete disgrace with a savage short ball hitting Barber, and a couple of edges leading to some dramatic flying dives from Pete and Dan in slips.

With Lee deciding to continue his spell, a proper bowler in the form of Chubs (Nick) entered back into the attack and was immediately effective with a stumping shortly followed by another batsmen out LBW. However with Lee still allowing the batsmen to help themselves to more runs, as the Innings was drawing to a close, both Sammy and Barrel Chest returned to try and gain quick wickets before the end. Mr. Cansfield at number 7 certainly realised the need for more runs onto the score, and looked for big shots against Sammy. Going for a maximum Mike ran in for the catch; well fortunately (although not gracefully) Mike was an athlete of sorts and after tripping over, he recovered himself well to take the catch one handed.

With Sammy bowling the next batsmen for a golden and Chris also bowling batsmen 8 on the next over, the final wicket partnership managed to survive to the end of Innings and Liphook finished on 206-9. Following an excellent Tea consisting of an array of homemade cakes, sandwiches and Jam doughnuts; with steam coming from the changing rooms having everyone worried what Ian was up to (although it was actually Matt in the shower), the Knights prepared for the next Innings.

With Barber assuming position in the Scorehut to find a fellow scoring buddy from the opposition. This week it was Dan and Matt to open the batting, and the Knights were slightly nervous of another sub 100 sham of a batting display. A steady start and the Knights reached 22 off the first 5 Overs. Typically however the Knights needed to create anxiety for their batting display and Matt was soon after caught for 9 runs. Still steadily ticking and Barber having all sorts of philosophical debates with the scorers such as why byes are triangles and how best to mark and record runs from wides/no balls, the Knights reached 33 off 10 Overs. With Liphook now looking for a new tactic, a short pace delivery walloped Dave straight in the ribs. However little did they know of Dave’s Scottish army background, so this was little than a wee graze for him.  Soon after however Dan seemed slightly too keen for runs before thinking better of it, although this left Dave stranded halfway down the wicket for a simple run out (it seems running out batsmen is becoming a unique skill for our openers).

46-2 and Liphook employing a slow bowler, it was crucial for Chris to assess the bowling and play himself in. Naturally this instantly led to a couple of top edged shots expertly placed between the fielders. With Dan still batting sensibly and Chris now fully using his chubby barrel-chest, the Knights began to rocket along, quickly surpassing the 53 of last week. Through many powerful 4’s from Chris (including a 4 he had to run), it was Dan next to fall after a truly sterling performance scoring 45. Pete now at the crease would he now use his head to play himself in and steadily support Franklin…… oh of course not and 4 balls later, he was dismissed for 3 going for a big heave for 4.

As Lee “the looker” approached the crease, Franklin at this point had quickly surpassed 50 as he single handily played the bowling with distain whilst outscoring our entire team total from the previous week. However with the weather darkening, the storm approaching (and Ian doing a rain-dance of sorts), Chris was dismissed through struggling to see the ball brining debutant Mike to the crease. With Barber now trying to calculate the rain affected target whilst padding up at the same time, Lee and Mike held their wickets surpassing 160 after 28 Overs.

Unfortunately after Lee tactically hit the ball into the hedge, the storm ensued and the Innings was curtailed; however due to Franklin’s smash and bash performance, the Knights won on run rate securing much needed points to guarantee safety from relegation for the following season. With the Knights impressed at Barber’s ability to calculate a win (so much so that Matt even felt the need for a playful swat), everyone began the long journey back to the Cleveland. Due to not reaching the pub till gone 9, entertainment was limited; however the Knights did take the time to find out more of Ian’s past whilst enjoying 3 jugs of beer from Chris and the salted nuts provided to Barber. A sterling performance and a much needed win, and following Chris’s 3 jugs of beer we certainly hope he does this well more often. Next week we host Overton III at Knightwood so hopefully we will take this confidence forward into the next fixture.

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