An overcast, muggy Hunter Park greeted the players of both teams for week 5 of the Hampshire Cricket League season. After 15 minutes of trying to “down” Paine Juniors drone which was beginning to bug all and sundry, the longest “toss-up” in club history was held. Twyford supremo Moreland and the opposition skipper seemingly getting on famously, finally wandered back to the pavilion to exclaim the damage of the coin flip, Twyford inserted, no surprise there.
Kevin West and Tony Butcher opened for the home team against a youthful opening bowling partnership, West playing two very early exquisite shots to move the scoreboard on gently during the opening salvos. However, as per the previous two games, Twyford lost a wicket early on with West brilliantly caught at gully off of the whippy double barrelled, Hewton-Brown. The double barrelled was to be put to the test later on the match, but let’s save that for later. The reporter would like to think that he was adding a level of consolidation and watchful cricket from the Twyford batters at this point, well one end did. Reidy who had replaced the unfortunate West decided that he could not pronounce consolidation and began smashing to all parts on a very slow deck. Along the way he was dropped 5 times, but in between playing some powerful drives and pulls to rip the heart out of Hook’s young attack. At the other end Butcher looked impressive in both defence and attack playing a superb innings of 97 including a back foot cover drive, surely the shot of the season.
Hook, having failed to stem the flow of runs with the youngsters, turned to experience. Lines and lengths adjusted, made scoring more difficult and eventually Reidy succumbed, one short of a second consecutive century, the partnership 159. Butcher continued to accumulate having seen Bancey depart without denting the scoreboard. Moreland who had made every excuse as to his Saturday lack of form (quality of bowling, slow pitches, beard fungal infection etc) finally contributed with the bat. A brisk 33 from 30 balls pushed the scoring over 250 before being bowled attempting a twenty20-esque paddle ramp shot (or so he said), stumps flying everywhere. Butcher departed shortly after, top edging into the deep three runs short of a century himself, a great knock well received by the ever growing Twyford crowd. Twyford closed on 261-7, with Wyatt Brennan and Tom Ducker sacrificed for the cause. Matt “Mad-Dog” Paine hit the penultimate ball high into the clearing but muggy Twyford sky and over cow for a magnificent six. Paine, unable to repeat, spotted a rare Russian civilian passenger aircraft outbound from Southampton Airport and missed the last ball by ten feet.
Tea taken and enjoyed by all.
Bowling expectations were high after the previous two team performances, however, inexplicably Ducker and Paine Junior failed to make use of the overhead conditions but more worryingly the pitch itself. A number of “bungers” were dispatched to all parts. Not the start anyone expected. What was also apparent was that the collective Twyford team’s sense of humour and common sense had faded in the ever warm and sweaty conditions. A few misdirected comments were misinterpreted by the opposition batsmen and equally were not gratefully received by umpires and Twyford players. It happens from time to time, 22 blokes competing on a field of play, let’s move on.
Ducker made the breakthrough when Hook’s experienced opener chopped on, bringing Hewton-Brown to the wicket, he was greeted by a snorter from Ducker which cut back and hit him right in the double barrels. Why is it that everyone thinks getting hit there is funny? Clearly the lad was in some discomfort but re-arranged himself to continue.
An injury to Brennan summed up the afternoon for Twyford, Wyatt limping off with a hamstring issue. Whilst our bowling was not at its best during the afternoon with the exception of John Paine, our ground fielding was excellent. A particular mention must go to ex-Twyford Colt Tom Andrews who, playing his first game of adult cricket, fielded brilliantly and attentively throughout, including a great low catch off John Paine.
The wicket seemed to flatten out in the evening but Hook were unable to take control of the game eventually falling 47 runs short. Two wickets for McKenzie towards the end saw the back of the excellent Taylor who played beautifully for his 70.
A hard fought third straight win for Twyford keeping us in the upper echelons of the table.
Thanks again to South West train first class escorted Nobby Bance for umpiring.
The team were last seen heading to Mike McKenzie’s house for a birthday BBQ (Happy Birthday Mike); goodness knows what the majority of them are like this morning.
A. Reidy 99, T. Butcher 97, partnership 159.
M. Taylor 70
J Paine 2-19