Late working hours, forgetful minds and late appearances threatened to turn the game between Old Basing 3rds and Twyford into an eight-aside thrash. Three of the Old Basing players thought it better to head to Twyford & Ruscombe in Reading rather than venture to the splendid Hunter Park.

Twyford were forced to make a late change, 1am Saturday morning to be precise with Will Paterson suffering a mysterious late night/early morning injury, John Paine stepping in.

Having cleared the outfield of picnicking families and careful removal of the ropes guarding the square (see last week’s report!), the toss commenced, Bancey filling in (as he was ready and in whites) for Waitrose’s head of bread development and club skipper Moreland. The likelihood of three Old Basing players arriving at least 45 minutes later than the planned start time confirmed both skippers worst nightmares as the coin went the way of the visitors, Old Basing would have to bat and Twyford bowl.

Twyford resplendent with eleven players, finally, took to the field with the usual opening attack of Reidy and Ducker eager to make an early impression. Indeed Ducker complied with the Captains requests by bowling Basing’s opener all ends up and Reidy at the other end having the other opener caught by Mike McKenzie at 2nd slip off his first ball, the edge ricocheting off Moreland’s thigh. Reidy followed this up by trapping the number 3 LBW, leaving Basing precariously placed on 18-3.

As Old Basing rebuilt with a mixture of good shots, a very flat pitch and a little luck, let’s face it, you need it in cricket, some of our bowlers decided to become a little discombobulated and not bowl to their fields. Even the normally tidy Ducker was a little off colour today. Reidy wrapped up ten straight overs, a great spell with returns of 3-32. Note here of the superb diving catch by McKenzie at 2nd slip, the best catch of the season. Paine senior replacing Ducker bowled well in patches taking two wickets in his two spells but Paine Junior found it tough going, losing a little discipline on a pitch that appeared to be getting ever easier particularly when the ball was banged in short of a good length. With two thirds of the veteran brains trust bowling in tandem, Basing’s fun was bought to an end, with Jadhav their top scorer, a well made 80 not out.  Basing had realised 171 all out, a challenging total for the league leaders. Unbelievably the innings finished after 5pm with the visitors making multiple clothing and equipment changes throughout the innings.  A slightly “grumpy” fielding display by the home team, but a good tea seemed to lift the mood.

Ducker was thrown in to open with Jon Bance, who seems to have become the regular opener by proxy. Ducker was due on shift at 6pm working in a local gastro pub, kitchen duties awaiting. A devious plan conjured once again by the skipper and one other who remains nameless (just in case) was to keep Ducker busy with multiple food requests and alterations. The outcome of this plan is unknown at time of writing this nonsense.

Old Basing bowled well with tight lines early on using the pitch all of the time to good effect, however as the batsmen got used to pace and bounce, they pushed the score along nicely. Ducker seemed in great touch hitting two boundaries before he played all around an inswinging delivery and was bowled. Reidy failed for the second time in a week when he was “plums” in front! There seemed to be two versions of the LBW decision, Reidy after a drink or two afterwards claiming it hit him in stomach… Umpire decision, OUT.  Brains trust tending to agree with the veteran coin counter.

Bance played a few cultured shots through the covers to keep the board ticking and shoring up with wickets falling. At one point however with the Basing bowlers using the pitch to good effect the scoreboard went into a soporific state and the crowds were bored enough to disappear home and watch Wimbledon. However, Bobby Smith looked in great touch before nicking a seaming deliver to the keeper, the only catch Basing took all day, dropping four others.

Nick Moreland once again looked in fine fettle; anything slightly short disappearing at velocity to the long Hunter Park boundaries, unfortunately on 33 and with Twyford cantering to the winning total a short ball stayed low and hit all three.  If there were any nerves they were soon dispelled with Lee Nicholas entering the fray and smashing his third ball for four, it almost looked like he hit it with one hand! Hockey players for you…!  This inspired the crab like Bance who then decided to plant the Basing skippers bowling into the nearby allotments, narrowly avoiding a local horticulturist carefully cultivating her Hydrangeas.

Nicholas finished off a well paced response with six overs still remaining, at 8pm(!) by clattering the young Basing bowler, who was very good and will be a force in years to come, through long on for the single needed. Nicholas finishing on 24 not out and Bance 75 not out.

Once again, a good game with Old Basing a great bunch of guys and a match played fairly. Thanks go to the Hunter Park groundsman Matt Riley for a beautiful track and surrounds, John Paine for rolling the hell out of it and Nobby for umpiring.

Phoenix visited for as per usual for celebratory drinks and for Reidy to recite something from Aesop.

Well done to the boys and off to OT’s next week.

Old Basing III 171 all out
A. Jadhav 80*

A. Reidy 3-32

Twyford 172-4
Bance 75*



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