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Twyford reaffirm top spot after low-scoring nail-biter vs promotion chasing Whiteparish

Twyford embarked west to the picturesque hamlet of Whiteparish, a village that cuts its way through green fields heading from Romsey towards Salisbury. A top of the table “clash” was on offer, with both teams swapping places at the summit of Regional 1 NW the week before. Twyford’s huge win vs OTs took them top, whilst in contrast, Whiteparish fell just short by 3 runs vs Sporting Wessex at Wide Lane, a cracking game, having read the match report.

Twyford had a big squad available and were able to select their strongest (well, apart from one or two), with Piers Askew the unfortunate member of the squad to feel the wrath of the selectors axe. The axe however was reversed (can you do that?) less than 24 hours later when Jon Bance failed a rigorous fitness test, a few extra pounds creating havoc with the right knee. Further complications arose with the skipper suffering from something called “bread ear” and on painkillers. Moreland however declared himself fit (yerr right!) McKenzie snr and Paine snr were relieved to be the support team, allowing them to continue their Statler and Waldorf impressions from the boundary line.

Twyford, now military in organisation, managed to turn up a fraction earlier than the opposition, and went to inspect the wicket. Hard, slight covering of grass, a “Lord’s-like” slope and a slightly undulating outfield but nothing particularly ominous.

A friendly toss up made all the more important with Tom Ducker, alleged fast bowler, due to return via private-jet into Southampton at lunchtime and likely to be late for the first encounters. Tom was brilliantly taxied from the airport by mum Sally, complete with M&S picnic (other high-brow supermarkets available). Bancey having coached the skipper in picking the right side of the coin the previous week, duelly won and we were to bat first. The Whiteparish skipper even had time to compliment us on the excellent Twyford match reports (your normal author is editing this now so thanks Mr Whiteparish skipper and keep reading).

Tony Butcher was available again to partner West at the top of the order both striding purposefully to the middle to begin proceedings. The Parish opening bowlers each provided testing moments and were very accurate, although Butcher was quick to pounce on anything straying in line from the more than useful left-armer Orr. Butcher, trying to be positive was undone by one that stuck in the wicket and he was caught and bowled off of the leading edge. Bowlers were also able to get some extra-ordinary tennis ball bounce during spells from this end, something we have seen little of this season.

Darby at the other end was very tight and consistent, with West struggling to time anything following a bat refurb from Nick Ranger, West’s ageing relic now shimmering in the sunshine. Reidy failed to trouble the scorers and was bowled trying to pull a ball that kept low, when perhaps a more watchful shot was required early on.

Again, it was 6ft 3, 15 year old Will Paterson, who has been in excellent form this season and consistent at all times since his promotion to number 4 who was next to strap ‘em on. Will has matured as a batsmen this year and was very watchful and respectful early on. Parish’s first change bowlers were just as useful as the openers, Turk slightly erring in line on occasion but always looking to get the ball full. Meanwhile, Dovey, Parish’s leading wicket taker and fresh from a 5-fer and a 6-fer in the last 3 weeks, replaced Darby. Paterson took particular liking to Dovey and began to get aggressive against anything pitched up, 2 fours in Dovey’s first over breaking the shackles somewhat and moving the scoreboard on.

After a useful 30-run partnership, West chipped a half volley into the covers off of Dovey to depart. Piers Askew, batting for the first time competitively for 2 years, was promoted up to number 5 with Moreland keen to hide himself, citing illness. Piers looked settled when defending but struggled when attacking, not easy on a tricky wicket in your first innings for a long time. Askew fell LBW to Turk and McKenzie jnr was strangled down the leg-side off the same bowler for 4 leaving Twyford in trouble at 69-5. By this point Paterson had thrashed Dovey out of the attack with a huge 6 over long-on and two 4s in his last two overs.

Moreland finally stopped moaning enough to enter the fray, skipper and Paterson looking to bat sensibly and form a launching pad for the last few overs. Unfortunately, as has been the case all season, “sensibly” doesn’t appear to fall within Moreland’s batting remit. After a slow start, he began the counter attack, ably supported again by Paterson, pushing the score over 100 with 4s over long on and mid-wicket and a 6 in the same region, all off the impressive Turk. Paterson’s boundaries dried up but excellent calling between the pair allowed quick ones and twos.

The partnership was worth 42 when Moreland attempted to manipulate spinner Noble through the offside and was bowled by one that kept a little low (not sure about that, as he always says it “kept low” when being bowled) for a 38-ball 32. Unfortunately this sparked a famous Twyford collapse and 111-6 became 116 all out. Paterson was yorked by Nazar for an excellent and potentially match-winning 43, the bowler finding his rhythm after a difficult first over. Brennan then chipped a catch back to the returning Darby, Ralf Unpronounceable hit a four before cutting to cover off Nazar, who then removed Paine Junior, knocking over all three. Impressive bowling performances from Nazar (3-7) and Darby (6ovs 3mdns 1-4) restricting Twyford’s total.

The end of the innings does include a talking point however. First time witnessed in the HCL I would imagine, Ducker, playing and missing at a couple of deliveries, informed umpire and skipper he was now changing to left handed, bringing the Whiteparish scorer’s iPad scoring app into meltdown. The change of style did indeed bring about a change of luck…. He connected with one, a looping inside edge down to fine leg for a single, cue fits of laughter on the boundary.

Tea taken inside the extremely nice new pavilion at the Memorial Ground as Twyford prepared for a gutsy defence of 116, probably sub-par for the ground.

Ducker and Reidy loosened up together during the interval, less said about that the better, Ducker took the first, down the hill from the tennis court end. As always is the case with Ducker, full and straight had the batsmen in trouble, opener Darby regularly playing inside the line resulting in a snick off the inside edge through to keeper Moreland. This was followed by a fast straight yorker, knocking over Nazar first ball.

Reidy up the other end was tailing the ball in wonderfully, as he usually does with the old ball. It was one of those days where skipper (and vice-skipper for the day Butcher) were to realise just how lucky they are to have an opening partnership of Ducker and Reidy’s quality. Reidy, who has definitely put on half a yard of pace since his trip down under, took a caught and bowled to remove opener Reynolds and then had Parsons pinned in front of all three.

Ducker finished an opening spell of 8 overs 3-12 and was replaced by Monty McKenzie, who turned the ball appreciably, and found his length nicely by the second over. Reidy was still causing carnage at the other end, Noble driving to Matt Paine at mid-off, Orr excellently caught low-down by Piers at cover, skipper Bartel snicked through to his opposite number, caught at the wicket and Bishop was bowled by a big hooping inswinger.

Reidy had finished with 10 overs, 5 maidens, 6 wickets for 15 runs, a truly brilliant spell that he has deserved on many occasions before but is unfortunately so regularly the bowling “nearly man”.

Matt Paine replaced Reidy with Whiteparish on the brink at 47-9, regularly beating the outside edge with balls that seamed down the slope after pitching. This induced a flashing edge just out of Butcher’s reach at 1st slip. However, it was clear that Dovey and Turk’s batting belied their positions in the order. Dovey, Parish’s number 6 on this occasion, opened last year and it was apparent that Twyford would still need to be patient to take the last wicket.

When in doubt, throw the ball to Ducker, who took 5 balls to trap the impressive Dovey in front of middle and leg for 39 to complete a 31 run win for the Ford, Ducker finishing with 4-16 meaning Reidy and him took all 10 wickets for just 31 runs, incredible stuff.

Credit to Whiteparish, who included a host of useful players and will surely be strong candidates for promotion this season, a great bunch of guys too who made the game very enjoyable, just as it should be played.

Back to the Phoenix as ever, SL on, one or two members of the team unable to have a drink, too dosed up on ibuprofen and the usual Twyford banter… Bance J too embarrassed to come to the pub it seemed (hope the knee improves soon Bancey).

As the gap increased at the top of the table, a quick totting up from Mr Ducker found Twyford to have won 20 out of their last 21 games, a marvellous effort and one we look to continue next week at home to Redlynch.

Thanks to Fin for scoring, Ranger and Paine snr for umpiring and McKenzie senior for the sole Twyford presence in a bumper crowd at the Memorial Ground. Thank you also to Parish scorer Neil Storr for the graphics produced by his scoring app, the club are in talks with Fin McKenzie over a multimedia training course in the coming weeks.

Whiteparish’s amusing report of their own can be found here – Twyford appreciate the kind words in their report.

Twyford 116 all out

W. Paterson 43

Whiteparish 85 all out

A. Reidy 6-15
T. Ducker 4-16

(Editor – not sure what the graphics show but they look pretty!)

 

Original report by Nick Moreland, editing and comic input by JB.