The “normal” 1pm meet for the Twyford XI ahead of their top of the table clash with leaders Langley Manor III. Manor were obviously keen with a few of their players already surveying the beautiful Hunter Park. Incredibly the ground was in perfect order, yes wicket a little soft, but a credit to our groundsman who clearly was slightly more on the ball than the Hampshire groundstaff who were caught out by the freak storm on Friday evening.

A couple of the Langley players were at the Ageas on Friday and I am told were forced into a “session” in the West End Brewery when the match was called off, maybe a little chink for Twyford.

Moreland, again retained as skipper for yet another week, continued with his friendly toss up procedure including a complete run down of each tree variation around the outfield and local bye-laws, one of which preventing Matt Paine’s “drone” from taking to the overcast skies.

Moreland clearly didn’t know what to do and “let” Manor’s skipper make the decision, or in simple terms, lost the toss. Twyford inserted.

Butcher was partnered with Bance, who was sacrificed as everyone else didn’t want to open with the exception of McKenzie who was still talking on the wailing bench outside the pavilion when the teams took to the field. Despite a positive start from both, Bance was caught at slip and Reidy off the back of an amazing run of form was caught at 2nd slip after the ball had catapulted off of 1st slips boot, I guess that is the only way Reidy was going to be stopped in his tracks.

Butcher again looked in good touch against a tight bowling attack but he was losing partners far too simply as Moreland and young Paterson had an “off” day. At 57-4 Twyford were in serious trouble and in danger of not using the allotted overs up. As with all of the games this year one of the “team” steps up and grafts. This time it was Lee Nicholas who first supported Butcher and then got on top of anything loose. Credit must go to the running between the wickets which kept the bowlers thinking and our scoreboard ticking along nicely.

The partnership was broken six short of one hundred when another marvelous Butcher innings ended, caught at deep gully for an excellent 72. With Nicholas eyeing a fifty and the promise of a new bat from his girlfriend, some say a plan was hatched to ensure the current bat remained for a few more games at least. Ducker and Brennan followed the captain’s devious plan with only Matt Paine forgetting where he was by plundering a huge six out of the ground, playing a text book forward defensive and then remembering plan A and having a huge wipe across the line to restore order. McKenzie failed to see a full bunger wrecking the furniture and then John Paine, who hasn’t seen a cricket ball for 10 years when batting, didn’t and was bowled. Nicholas finished three short on 47, a great knock and a potential game changer. Twyford with two overs remaining were all out for 185. A mention to 15 year old Dylan Hatton who took an impressive 5-31 swinging the ball appreciably at the beginning of the innings.

Tea taken (thanks to Janet and Kate for washing up again… I was TOLD to put this in)

Ducker, without his contact lenses (see innings above!) was clearly chomping at the bit, even Reidy looking to avenge a huge dent in his averages was keen to “get at” the Langley batsmen.

I could write a few pages here about the replying innings but it’s all a bit of a blur. Clearly the batsmen felt there were more demons in the pitch than there were, however, Ducker bowling briskly and Reidy nipping the ball away had the opposition in trouble from the start. Ducker put doubts in the batsmen heads by snapping the middle stump in half, removing Langley’s opener. Reidy who was unlucky not to take a wicket was replaced by Matt Paine. Paine who’s radar appeared to be slightly off to start with, quickly re-adjusted his aim and wickets tumbled.

The analysis looks like this.. 9 batsmen bowled and one LBW (which to be fair was a straight full toss hitting all three), a testament to our bowling, although we did concede 26 extras, 17 wides and 6 no balls making up the majority of that total. Langley were dismissed just after 6.30pm with only 20 overs bowled and scoring 59. Only Dan Smith reaching double figures.  John Paine also got in on the act with a solitary wicket resulting in the Paines taking 5 and Ducker the other 5.

Most sports journalists would write here, this result will send shivers down the league, but I will not as it clearly won’t.

A cracking result against a good bunch of lads who played the game in the right spirit. A note to Polly and to Nobby Bance again who “stood” faultlessly throughout.

A excellent pint of Summer Lightning was consumed by the ale appreciation society in the Phoenix afterwards, the lager louts I believe enjoyed their coloured water

Easton next week in another top of the table clash.

Twyford 185 all out
Tony Butcher – 72
Lee Nicholas – 47 not out

D Hatton 5-31

Langley Manor 59 all out
Tom Ducker 5-12
Matt Paine 4-17


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