Knights Valley vs Silchester Match Report

So the Knights now reached the climax to the season, our last league match against Silchester. Those long standing Knights will know that we have had a somewhat poor end of season record, losing both to Ampfield in 2011 and RAM last year. However following the emphatic win against Hawkley last week, everyone certainly felt positive about winning this match and ending the season with a very respectable league position.

With the ground nicely isolated in the countryside, Sam as always managed to arrive first, with the rest of the Knights arriving in drips and drabs depending on how lost people were. Looking out across the pitch, it appeared as if Silchester was experiencing a water shortage given the brown (burnt) look of the grass; certainly was going to be a quick outfield. Upon an inspection of the wicket, it appeared to be flat with little sign of break-up; coupled with the fast outfield Steve immediately concluded that this was a time to bat first and to put Silchester under pressure chasing a big score.

Following the pitch inspection, the Knights realised that they were still quite early with still 40 minutes before the start of play. Realising this also, the Silchester youngsters began using the time for pre-match warm ups and training drills; the Knights also decided to do this in their way through energy conservation and meditation of the upcoming match by lounging in chairs, eating plenty of food and lighting up some tobacco. With Lee now conducting the toss, the Silchester captain decided to give his youngsters some exercise and let us bat first (players from the Aldershot  fixture will realise this situation sounded  familiar).

So beginning the Innings Steve and Matt were to open, and all were in good spirits for the day ahead, including Barber whom had been provided with a scoring buddy to pointlessly natter to all afternoon. As always the key to a good Innings is usually a solid start, would this be the case? Oh of course not, a typical Knights Valley start as Matt decided to test Kev’s umpiring resolve by leaving a straight delivery for LBW. 4-1 and Sam in his newly promoted 3 position was already under pressure to steady the Innings.  Fortunately Sam took a steady approach to his batting to get accustomed to the bowling. This cautious approach by both Sam and Steve allowed the Knights to reach a modest 29 off 10 Overs.

As Steve and Sam began establishing a good partnership, their run rate began to increase with both hitting crucial boundaries to place the Knights on track for the 200+ target. Steve certainly looked solid at the crease as the Innings progressed, even tactically getting himself caught on a no-ball so he couldn’t be out. However as he reached 37 his expectation of batting first for big scores finished as unfortunately another no-ball wasn’t bowled, and instead he was caught out. 55-2 and now Dan was at the crease…. 7 balls later, 58-3 and Danni was out LBW for 1 with the Knights now beginning to feel concerned. This was for many reasons, including fearing a collapse like last week, the pressure of Lee having to now hit a good score and the fact Nick was still umpiring.

However mock Lee as we will, he did at least take the situation in his stride and hit a couple of quick boundaries to relieve some of the Knight’s sideline tension. With Sam still batting very steadily and concentrating hard to keep his wicket in the face of the opposition’s fiendish young spinner, the Knights reached only 62 off the first 20 Overs. This now put another problem into the fray, in that this low run rate was going to make it very difficult for the Knights to reach the competitive 200+ target.

With the need to accelerate and Sam still bogged down by spin, it was for Lee to go for boundaries. However with the bowlers still placing the ball into good areas, Lee and Sam’s acceleration still wasn’t quick enough as some maidens prevented the Knights gaining momentum. At 30 Overs, the Knights still hadn’t surpassed 100, meaning they needed almost 10 an over to reach the 200 target. However, fortunately Silchester sympathised with the pressure we were under and instead of choosing their opening bowlers, they instead chose a bowler who mostly bowled pies. This certainly worked to the Knights advantage allowing for more boundaries and even a couple of 6’s. At 35 Overs a very interesting situation arose in that both Sam and Lee were now getting dangerously close to 50. With Sam edging his way to 49, the Knights all felt poised to congratulate his maiden 50. However little did we know that out in the middle Sam was under immense pressure with the bowling being difficult, the fielders poised for a catch, shouts for him to accelerate and the constant worry of our umpiring decisions. As everything appeared to be against him, unfortunately he was caught for another unlucky 49, although much credit must be given for his ability to steady and rebuild the Innings.

With Franklin now at the crease and already skying the ball around for 1’s and 2’s, it was now down to Lee to see if he could achieve 50. Well didn’t he do this with style, smashing the 50 with a well struck boundary. With his last 50 being the Totton and Eling match in our first season, certainly this was a momentous occasion given the importance of the knock to rebuild our Innings. However the team were certainly pleased in that this might finally shut up his winging on how he continually fails the team; however in typical Payne style his batting prowess soon ended as he forgot where the crease was ending in him being stumped for 56.

161-5 and it was crucial new batsmen Pete continued this last minute momentum. With Franklin now getting himself caught for 9, Pops approached the crease with Pete still on strike. Well you have to feel sorry for our chairman, as Pete decided not to offer the strike, and instead caused Denis to do plenty of running without even facing a ball. With Pete ending the Innings with a very skilful and surprising paddle scoop, the Knights finished on 175-6 with a good 56 from Lee, 49 from Sam and a tiring 0 off 0 balls by Denis.

After just about securing our 6th batting point, and Lee finally looking like he enjoys playing cricket; the Knights prepared to enjoy a well earned tea. However this tea caused a major stir due to one of the delicacies on offer……. individual mini trifles. Well these little pots of delight caused much excitement including Denis taking photographs and Matt making phone calls about them… will we see them at our next teas? Only time will tell.

Ready for the next Innings, the Knights knew that tight bowling and fielding would be essential if we were to win. As per usual Pete was to open the bowling, amply supported by Sam. However it was at this point the Knights began to feel some of the lethargic consequences from the mini trifles; non more so than world class keeper Barber who through being surprised by an edge first ball, only managed to watch it go by without any movement. So a standard start to the Innings, and Pete decided to now add to this error by delivering full tosses to the Batsmen. However through frustration at not being able to smack runs, the Batsmen instead decided to throw his bat down in frustration, rage at the umpire and Pete for dangerous bowling, and just generally looking angry as Kev fuelled the situation by telling him to shut up and get on with the game. This palaver however did work to Silchester’s advantage as Pete was now given a rest to avoid being forcibly taken off.

This now meant the Knights needed to rely on Chris to take Pete’s place at attacking the opposition’s best batsmen. Fortunately both him and Sam managed to successfully do this with Chris bowling the opener Barber dropped (certainly makes my life easier when the Batsmen doesn’t have to edge it), and Sam producing a solid catch opportunity to Dan, for the opener who this time didn’t decide to throw his bat around. This now placed Silchester on 44-2 with the match very much still in the balance.

Unfortunately for the Knights, the number 3 batsmen certainly seemed quite capable and runs began to flow at a prolific rate. Although Franklin managed to pin batsmen 4 LBW for 6, Silchester at this stage were 78-3 off 9 Overs and certainly looked in full control of the Innings. With the batsmen appearing to take a liking to Sam’s bowling, it was Chris again who formed the next chance as another edge went behind….however as Barber had now burned off some calories, he managed to use every ounce of his skill and agility to simply sidestep and collect the ball. Following this catch however, the captains entered a discussion of whether to bring Pete back on, and it was decided in the interest of controlling the run rate that he was worth the risk. Fortunately with Pete deciding to hit the pitch this time, and Franklin showing a feat of consistency, the Knights made a crucial breakthrough with 2 wickets in 2 Overs. This now put Silchester on 117-6 and although over 20 Overs remained, a win certainly seemed plausible.

However it appeared even Silchester’s lower order could also score at a high run rate, and following our loss at Aldershot when they were 50-8… all manner of f*** ups were still possible. With Franklin digging deep into his trifle and pre-match milkshake energy to keep bowling in the heat, Pete was finding good areas and managed to take another wicket reducing Silchester to 135-7 and causing yet more elation from the Knights. With the Captain in to bat, he made his intention very clear as yet more boundaries continued to flow. With the Knights desperate for a win, this produced committed fielding from the team as Nick began diving around in slips, Kev managed to pull/tear a leg muscle (can’t remember quite what he did but it hurt… a lot) and Franklin even attempted to stop a boundary by diving over the line into a nearby bush.

Although excellent to see, it didn’t change the scoreboard as runs still continued to flow, only Pete managed to keep hopes alive with another crucial wicket, bowling batsmen 9 for 6 and Silchester now needing 30 runs to win. With Franklin finishing an excellent and difficult spell, Kev now entered the attack and instantly found form of the previous season, bowling difficult tight lines to the batsmen. With the Captain still scoring at a high strike rate, it was clear his wicket was to be critical if the Knights were to win. An excellent delivery however then saw the ball skying into the air towards Lee… through an excellent show of skill, knowing that this was the chance to be the hero of the team, to secure the win and save the game…… Lee managed to lose the ball in his hat and amateurishly only managed to palm the ball away to prevent it hitting his face.

This drop certainly caused the Knights to lose momentum as all now felt that was the moment for the game to be won or lost. Lee was so dishevelled even, some say even tears could be seen. 164-8 and it looked as if the game was lost, until Kev produced an excellently pitched delivery to wipe out batsmen 10 for only 9 runs. With Pete’s spell finished, just over 10 runs for Silchester to win, and the Knights looking very edgy knowing that this was now the closest game in the club history and quite possibly for a significant duration of the clubs future…. Nick Franklin came on to bowl. With Nick struggling for form of late, there was certainly some anxiety across the pitch. At 170-9 and the Captain back on strike, a couple more boundaries and all this hard work would be for nothing. With the Captain only managing to hit a single, Nick then produced the delivery of his life as the ball pitched into an awkward area with the number 11 only managing to hit the ball with his pad. Well as you can imagine the Knights appeal probably could have been heard back at the Cleveland, and as the Umpire raised his finger the image could only be compared to that of the England team at the conclusion of the Trent Bridge Ashes match. The Knights went wild, and Nick almost got bundled into the pitch from the team’s elation. A win by only 4 runs and certainly both Nick and Lee emerged as heroes. However much credit must also go to Chris and Pete for an excellent spell of bowling as well as Sam for providing a much needed support role in difficult hot conditions to produce what would be a very critical 49 runs. A truly inspiring team performance and a fantastic way to end the season, looking forward to a long winter of little cricket, hopefully this match will serve as a memory of the real achievements and team spirit the Knights possess.

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2 Responses to Knights Valley vs Silchester Match Report

  1. Anonymous says:

    Individual trifles? Well who knows? I guess it all depends on who provides the teas……..maybe the time has come for a new tea lady!!!!!!

  2. KP says:

    Er…..no.

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