Knights Valley vs Hawkley Match Report

Following the Knight’s epically abandoned match against AWE Tadley last week, our next fixture was to challenge promotion contender Hawkley at our home ground of Knightwood. With Barber warning Lee of their talent from a previous friendly, the Knights knew that today could be a tough challenge.  Arriving at the ground and inspecting the pitch, Sam decided to replicate a Sky Sports “Ashes Zone” by providing Pete with a 15 minute bowling lesson before the others arrived. With Dan arriving promptly from his round of golf, followed by Matt whom ensured he was on time to correctly set up the scoreboard, the ground preparations were made without incident. However, next to arrive was Chris whom was slightly later than usual and it didn’t take long to realise why. Approaching with a mammoth sausage sandwich, it was clear alcohol was the main culprit and the Knights could soon see why it’s never a good idea to mix beer with gin and tonic. Last to arrive was Ian Messenger who seemed to have missed Dan a lot more than the rest of us, to the point he even tried to caress him…… With a great indecision of whether to bat and bowl first, Lee approached the toss hoping to lose whilst other members of the opposition came to observe the Knights warm up; little did they know that all they would need to replicate this was not cricket equipment but instead fatty food, Amber Leaf and a chair.

With Lee taking his time with the toss (mostly because he won the first toss and then decided to toss the coin to decide whether to bat or bowl first), the Knights were to Bat first, as Dan and Matt began their preparations. Beginning the Innings, Hawkley decided to open up with 2 spinners which already began causing some trouble for Dan. As Chris was being “ill” in the leisure centre, we were all hoping the Knights didn’t lose any quick wickets. Fortunately, amidst a few extras, Dan and Matt began creating a very steady partnership and amassed a modest 33 off the first 8 Overs. With Hawkley still hunting for the first wicket, a bowling change saw one of the opening spinners replaced by a pacier bowler. 11 runs later and the Knights were comfortably poised on 51-0, looking to push on towards a big score.

Well it was clear that this start wasn’t going to last and on the next over Dan was bowled for 23. However there was little concern as plenty of batting remained with Dave approaching the crease. 3 balls later, Dave now dismissed caught, and the score still remained on 51 with the Knights now feeling slightly worried.  Lee at the crease and it was now down to the Payne brothers to steer the Knights out of this mini collapse, well on the next over Matt whom had amassed a solid 17, lost concentration and was also caught. Now the Knights turned to Chris for crucial runs, however due to the quick nature of this collapse, it seemed that the excessive alcohol was still taking its toll from his shakes at the sidelines. Clearly these shakes affected both his timing and judgement as yet another catch was presented to Hawkley and another wicket fell. 51-0 and now 51-4, it was Sam’s turn to try and advance past this score. With the Knights seriously concerned and the opposition scorer at least reminding us that we’d achieved a batting point, it was of great relief when Sam decided not to mess about and score off his first ball.

Reaching drinks, Lee and Sam had so far been successful rebuilding the Innings as the Knights reached 82-4 off 21 Overs. Following much encouragement from wife Elaine, and Ollie going slightly hyper again (must have found some Lucozade somewhere), Lee pushed on, determined to “save the team.” However it was at the 30th Over whereby all his thoughts on the game and his hyper son got the better of him ending in him being caught on 29. Pete now at the crease and two balls saw him dismissed by an umpiring controversy… was it a bunk ball or genuinely caught? Maybe next season the Knights will need to invest in DRS, however for now Pete was out for another 0 which is beginning to place him as a serious contender for the duck cup; Barber, Lee and Dave… be worried.

Next it was down to Denis, but would the Knights start another 4 wicket collapse…. well our  Chairman decided against this by quickly getting himself off the mark. However, next over Sam whom had batted exceptionally well given the situation was finally caught for just 1 run short of Lee’s total (unfortunate, due to the amount we had to hear about Lee being top scorer at the pub). At 121-7 it was Barber’s turn in the middle; the question is what sort of innings would the team observe? Would it be the usual test match style, or maybe Pete’s recent coaching could inspire some run scoring. Well Barber’s new batting style appeared to continue as he scored off his second ball. With Denis and Barber now on the attack, the scoreboard started to race round and following Barber’s third  boundary of the season, chants were heard across the ground “Barber to open!!!!”. However this flurry of runs then seemed to go to Barber’s head (clearly this is where the Pete master class ended) as he missed the straight one, being Bowled for 14. Nick now at the crease, Ian Messenger finally having to get changed into his whites, and some very quick singles began to be achieved.  With Denis still on the attack and Nick supporting with crucial runs of his own, the Knights made it to 158 before the next wicket fell.

Ian was not amused at this and as Nick was walking back, he made a request that Lee declare the innings on 158-9. Although this request was refused, Denis managed to at least keep Ian off strike until he himself was finally dismissed by a slower delivery, ending the Innings on 165. A modest effort by the Knights as tea was taken. Another excellent tea consisting of assorted sandwiches and savouries, plenty of melon and a lovely chocolate cake; the Knights now prepared themselves for Hawkley’s Innings.

With Chris still in hangover recovery mode, this week it was up to Pete and Sam to open the bowling. Looking at the sky, the Knights were concerned at some of the darkened clouds approaching the ground and thus it was clear the first 20 Overs needed to be bowled quickly. With Barber having played Hawkley before and warning the Knights of the strength from their opening batsmen, quick wickets would also be essential for victory. Pete certainly took this in his stride through attacking the batsmen, including hitting the opener in the back. However it was Sam’s spin which took the first victim as the opener chopped on for a duck. Hawkley’s most dangerous batsmen remained, however a super speed delivery from Pete created a fast edge and an excellent catch from Barber.

With Pete following this wicket up with another from a slower ball, Hawkley were reduced to 3-3, surely a commanding position to fashion a win. Excellent bowling and fielding  created pressure with Pete taking yet another wicket to place Hawkley at 17-4 off 10 Overs. With Sam still supporting Pete with consistent economical bowling, an edge chance passed Barber leaving Sam growling in frustration and Barber hesitant at what the reaction may be if he dropped another change or let go a bye. However with the next delivery down leg side hitting Barber in the knee cap, and Sam still frustrated, no injury break to be had and thus mortally wounded, Barber had to carry on. Sam’s bowling however was to be rewarded before the end and his final over produced a simple catch meaning at the 20 Over mark, Hawkley had only amassed 56 runs. Now that rain was no longer an issue, the Knights could relax and Barber could at least now have his injury breaks if/when needed. With Denis now entering the attack through the Knight’s youth and experience tactic, Hawkley were still very far adrift of the Knight’s run rate. Consistent bowling from Pops aptly supported from both the Franklins and Hawkley only advanced to 66 off 23 Overs. With Chris (aka. The Barrel (from Liphook), The Tank (from Nick) or The Sightscreen (from Dave) beginning to recover from his intoxicated state, clearly there was still little focus and thought behind his bowling as he suddenly began taking wickets. This even began with two in two balls before the over was called… or was it, a small miscount from the umpires and Chris had the chance for the club’s second hat-trick. Well even with all the fielders in and Barber bricking it in case of an edge, the Batsmen survived with Kev still holding the club’s hat-trick honours.

So 71-6, the game firmly in the Knight’s hands and the blemish of Aldershot beating us when they were 50-8 clearly forgotten, Denis continued to pressure the batsmen through his ever consistent bowling.  However eventually the pressure got to the batsmen and another wicket was bowled with Denis finishing his spell of 1-16. To finish the game off, the Knights now felt Pete should be brought again into the attack. Well Pete didn’t hang about and instead of aiming at the stumps he careered the ball into the batsmen’s head; a truly savage delivery which certainly had Barber nervous, not just for the safety of the batsmen but due to the lack of coverage from our insurance. However it was The Barrel who had the final moment of glory through lofting a good catch to Sam and then another final catch to Danny who unlike Aldershot remained composed to finish the innings.

An excellent victory followed up by a good pub session to reflect on the day’s events amongst our other ‘educational’ topics. To finish I will leave you with a quote from our captain “Inspired captaincy in opening the bowling with Sam and Pete and batting first. Captain fantastic!!!!” Bold words which we can only hope to be followed up by a Captain’s performance next Saturday, no pressure skipper.


One Response to Knights Valley vs Hawkley Match Report

  1. Anonymous says:

    Veni, vidi, vici…….prepare for Saturday. The end has come.

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