Knights Valley vs Overton III Match Report

This week the Knights were back home at Knightwood to challenge Overton again; with a very close match against Overton II, the Knights were hoping that revenge could be sought with a convincing win today over Overton III’s. Arriving at the ground early, Pete and I were very happy to see the opposition hadn’t arrived yet, and thus unlike Odiham whom were already practicing at this point a few weeks ago, it looked unlikely we were going to be battered. Beginning to set the ground up with Vice-captain Steve, the dreaded fiendish ordeal of recent weeks presented itself again…. correctly setting up the Scoreboard.  With Chris and Nick now arriving to help, 5 Knights worked on figuring out where the bolts go, which side the legs screw in, where the broken bolt goes and Pete being a … ahem using a spanner for about 10 minutes tightening one nut (next time we’re bringing power tools). With master Carpenter Matt now arriving dressed in a “Rocky” T-shirt (obviously having the eye of the Tiger of Mr. Balboa for his performance today), the audit of the scoreboard showed that the legs yet again were bolted the wrong way round, and with that the board was finally ready (sort of) for another match.

With the Knights now milling round the wicket for a pitch inspection, there was a clear indecision of whether to bat or bowl first and thus the conversation quickly turned to football. Ian now arriving with his usual team greeting “Hello my dears”, and Matt (Rocky) standing on his own to psych himself up for the game ahead; the opposition began to arrive and the Knights readied themselves for the match. Although with some of the opposition still yet to arrive, the Knights had to contain their excitement for another 15 minutes. However this was too much for Chris who instead wetted himself down his shorts for Ian to complement him on his knee reaching girth (of course this was the real reason why Dave seemed happy at the possibility of showering with Chris in the dark at Tichborne).

So with Lee winning the toss and electing to bowl, Pete and Chris yet again were to open the bowling in an effort of using their pace attack for quick wickets. With Pete attacking the batsmen and Chris varying his pace and length, the Knights made a steady start with Overton only reaching 15 off the first 5 Overs. With some lofted shots, misfields and a drop from Barber (clearly going to be one of those days), the openers began forming a solid partnership. Chris however recognised the importance of breaking this partnership and an excellent delivery presented a catching opportunity for Lee. Well with Lee failing to follow Nasser’s catching lesson and instead leaving a gap between his hands, the Batsmen used up a life and the Knight’s frustrations heightened. To this extent Chris realised a new tactic was needed and through a close caught and bowled chance, instead this ended on him using his full 16 stone to step on the ball and collapse into the wicket. Although injuring himself slightly, this tactic probably did change the shape of the ball and caused undulations in the pitch for the upcoming spinners.

With the Knights still hunting for the first wicket, it was time for a bowling change, and dual spinners Sammy and Nick now entered into the attack. An excellent start by the new bowlers and Overton had only amassed 34 runs by the first drinks break at 14 Overs. 17 off the 15th Over (nicely bowled Nick), Overton amassing a 50 partnership for the 1st wicket and the match certainly now looked ominous. With Kev eagerly watching from the sidelines as 12th man (whilst training his muscles continuously moving the sightscreen), it was Nick who finally found the breakthrough with a quick edge missing Barber (standard) and instead going straight into the hands of Denis. With the remaining opener and batsmen 3 showing resilience, Overton continued amassing runs (helped along by some growling misfields by Chris). As Sammy’s spin kept the batsmen tied down, instead Nick was targeted for runs; thus at this point Nick’s youth was replaced for the experience of Pops (Denis).

24 Overs in and Overton only on 90, the Knights still felt in control of the run rate, however with 9 wickets remaining it was crucial to begin making inroads into their batting line up. Sammy certainly recognised this and by creating pressure all through his spell, finally caused batsmen 3 to slice the ball in Lee’s direction. Well there was certainly an air of nerves and anxiety watching Lee get into position and fortunately this time he held the catch dismissing the batsmen for 29 (Nasser can finally sleep easy). 92-2 and a new batsmen at the crease, to get off the mark it was clear Overton’s number 4 was not afraid of the big shots and launched the ball of Denis’s bowling. However big Ian was waiting for the catch, well looking at his face of shock as the ball hurtled towards him, the Knights all fell silent. With what can be described as the felling of an Oak tree, Ian (somehow) managed to grasp one hand onto the ball and remain hold of it even after hitting the ground…. the Knights were so surprised that the ground erupted as everyone basically piled onto Ian in celebration.

As 30 Overs approached, Sammy appeared to bowl expensively as the Scoreboard total raced along; however at 30 Overs in an unprecedented feat, Sam bowled so well that he even managed to reverse the score as Overton’s total reduced from 127 to 110. This reverse in score caused pressure for the remaining opener whom after making an excellent 55, now succumbed to the pressure and lofted a shot to Sammy for a well watched catch. 122-4 and it was now down to Franklin and Pete again to close out the innings. With Batsmen 5 showing why defensive shots are not required, focus was on the youngling at the crease for the next wicket. As Ian had ran out of conversation topics through chatting up the young Umpires all day (and we all thought club policeman Kev was focused on the match), Chris was next to strike in the wicket tally. As the young batsmen skyed the ball, being only a few paces in front of Barber surely this was to finally be his moment of glory to actually move for a catch. However Pete was not confident in Barber’s glove-work and instead called it for himself…**k.

Batsmen 7 now at the middle decided to take an interesting tactic against Pete taking basically a 4 foot guard outside the crease. With the first ball sailing for 4 and Denis looking at me to stand up for the stumping (f*** that), Pete certainly delivered a reply through a savage quick bouncer cracking the batsmen in the side of the helmet. With the next delivery bowling the batsmen out and another youngling at the crease, Overton were now 142-6 off 37 Overs. With number 5 at the crease teeing off, Chris realised another moment of brilliance was needed to take the remaining wickets. To this extent a slower short ball had the batsmen diving the cover out of fear, followed up by an excellently pitched delivery creating a bottom edge missed by Barber (standard again).  This missed edge now placed the youngest youngling of the opposition on strike and through a lofted shot, pressure was on Matt to run in for the catch. Although all eyes were on Matt eagerly trying to get to the ball, in a flash Dan simply plucked it out of the air whilst in full sprint. With Pete’s last over finding another wicket through just sheer pace, it was down to Chris to bowl the final over. With the number 5 finally getting caught from a well watched catch by Steve (after making a quick fire 50), a strange situation unfolded whereby the number 11 was still umpiring. Thus donning West Ham attire, no pads and no gloves, it was down to Chris to bowl the last ball at the other batsmen…. if only a single was scored from a no ball.

Finishing the innings Overton made a very respectable 189/9, which was certainly a chaseable score for the Knights. Teas as always from Denis and Mrs. Denis were excellent with a full array of sandwiches dressed in shaved carrot, delicious cake and of course plenty of melon (which had been eagerly watched to ensure Chris did not get to use his cork borer on it……..).

With the Knights having their usual opening pair of Steve and Dan, this week they made a steady start and amassed 27 runs off the first 5 Overs. Everything felt very relaxed, with Barber doing the book, Ian completing a crossword (such an educated fellow), and Steve deciding to take inspiration from test cricket; Dan however was very busy hitting most of the runs. However at 8 Overs the opposition decided that the youngsters were not going to get the breakthrough and instead opted for experience. Matt’s synopsis of the first couple of balls was shared by all Knights “Barber, these bowlers are dangerous, they bowl pies”.  With that Dan was caught on 32 and the Knights were 44-1.

Matt at the crease and through taking no messing off the slow bowler instantly dispatched it for 4, followed by a well timed 2. However this bowler was to get his revenge and on his next over Matt chipped the ball for a caught and bowled (evidently the eye of the Tiger was not quite with him today). Lee at the crease and given the situation of 2 quick wickets and Stevo batting test style, runs from the Captain would certainly be needed today. Well aside a nice hit for 4, Lee unfortunately was unable to repeat his recent form of late and instead chipped up the slower bowler for a well watched one-handed catch in the field. 59-3 and the batting turning into a typical Knights Valley innings, Franklin now trudged to the crease to return some momentum to the team. Taking the attack to the bowler, this certainly worked to great effect and even caused Steve to begin hitting boundaries. With Dave arriving to watch us struggle, the Knights battled on hoping that this pair would develop a strong partnership (and umpiring Ian would be more decisive with LBW decisions).

Reaching 69 off 15 Overs, Chris and Steve began forming what was appearing to be a strong partnership, however another issue was beginning to emerge (no it wasn’t Barber having to wrestle Dave’s dog Frank off the Scorebook) in that the Knights were beginning to slowly slip behind Overton’s run rate. As the slow bowlers continued to restrict runs effectively it was Stevo next to fall through skying a shot to the fielders for yet another successful catch (obviously we were yet to find the Lee equivalent to aim at on the Overton team). 87-4, Sam in to bat and Lee saying how him and his brother had failed the team to a supportive silence; the run rate again began to slow down.  I can only surmise that the plan was to see off the slow bowlers in the hope of the young openers coming back to finish their spells. Well with the slow bowlers bowling through their 10 Overs and instead replacing themselves with more dobblers…. clearly to reach the now 6.6+ per over, Sam and Chris were going to have to take some risks. Prepping Pete up to try and accelerate the run rate, Sam was the next wicket to fall through missing a big shot and being bowled for 9. Pete taking guard and an interesting debate was running through his head from whether to spend time to play himself in or just to attack the bowling from ball one; unfortunately the decision was made for him very quickly as he was caught behind off 2 balls for a duck.

With Chris getting caught for 32 off the next over, the batsmen had rotated very quickly with the score now 122-7 and only Pops and Barber at the crease. Given the run rate was now 7 an over it was unlikely the remaining batsmen were going to be able to catch the total. What the team were more concerned about was the nature of Barber’s innings as it can sometimes be amusing, more often than not however it is boring as s***.  Although Barber started with standard defensives, something interesting happened… he actually attacked the ball and through a well-timed sweep achieved a 4. Well celebrations erupted and Barber himself acknowledged it to the sidelines as if it were a 50 (being realistic it’s probably the closest I’ll get to a 50 in the next decade), and Dan almost was in shock at having to signal the boundary. With Denis ticking along and making good use of un-appealed plum LBW’s (clearly our noble Chairman can never be out if he decides not to be), the Knights surpassed 125 and were now looking to 150 for another batting point.

Barber now hitting the other slow bowler for 4, the sidelines were bemused with Nick commenting that I was Viv Richards in the making (may have been slightly sarcastic). What the sidelines didn’t know is that Barber instead had his Bisto for lunch which had rekindled his northern cricketing spirit. Although reaching 150, ultimately the run rate was always an issue and the Knights in a rare instance were unable to win even with wickets in hand. However a major highlight of today was the excellent catch performed by Ian, earning him the man of the match award which I will leave you all with below:

Ian mom


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s