The Phoenix played host to another 12:30pm meeting for Twyford, who made the trip to Hunts Farm at Timsbury to take on OTs & Romsey’s Fifth XI on a humid and unexpectedly warm July Saturday. Andy Thorne (with his 2016 average of infinity) was a late call up this week, with Lee Nicholas (who’s average also has no limit) deciding that celebrating graduating with a First Class degree by playing golf was more important than dedicating a Saturday to Twyford’s promotion cause.

Unfortunately, Twyford were also missing the services of part-time opener, match report extraordinaire and occasional tosser (with the coin only…) Jon Bance who was away playing Beach Volleyball (probably), and apprentice chainsaw enthusiast Alex Reidy, who was observing trees in Geneva. Tony Butcher was welcomed back into the lineup, with Nick Ranger the latest Twyford debutant of 2016. Waitrose’s Head of Yeast Rising and skipper Moreland lazily arrived at about 1:45 – just in time to toss up. Toss won (amazingly), Twyford bat. The opposition skipper going on to explain how he wanted to bat first, be skittled for 50 and be in the pub by 5:30…

Bobby Smith and Tony Butcher strode to the crease to open proceedings, with umpire Nobby Bance shuffling along behind ensuring he still had 6 coins to hand.

The opening ten overs were not the greatest advert for the game of cricket your reporter has ever seen, but nonetheless credit must go to OTs opening bowlers for rarely straying from their lines and lengths, and Twyford’s opening pair for watchfully seeing off the opening overs. Admittedly the Hunts Farm outfield was not the most forgiving, with Smith and Butcher having to run a few more than they would’ve liked. Smith was looking in good touch before being given LBW as the ball brushed his pad in front of the off stump. Nick Ranger strode to the crease and looked to build with Butcher, again balls were flying past the close fielders, but refused to creep over the boundary rope. Twyford are, of course, spoiled by the full value Hunter Park’s outfield is giving batsmen this year. Ranger started to unfurl some big hits after OTs opening bowler had completed a tidy 10 over spell costing just 17 runs. Drinks taken, 65-1, fielders and Twyford teammates feeling the heat (and a little sleepy!).

Butcher crept to 49*, and decided he couldn’t be bothered to run anymore, blasting a six over cow corner, following it up with two 4s and a further 6 in the next three balls. All of which just about woke up the crowd who seemed far more gripped by the Micklemersh 3s game occurring on the adjacent pitch. With OTs skipper running out of ideas (and bowlers), the ball was thrown to Barnaby who decided the method of attack on this slow pitch was some flight and guile, whilst making the batsman do all the work. Unfortunately Nick Ranger saw something in the distance over long-on that was far more interesting that the ball he attempted to hit there and was castled. Moreland had the unfortunate duty of filling leading run scorer Bance’s place in the batting order, but was quickly bedding in. Indeed Moreland took 21 off a Barnaby over, prompting a bowling change. Butcher was caught smartly by the wicket keeper after skying one for 90 and Moreland quickly followed, dancing down the wicket to a yorker and losing his middle stump for a very quickfire 40. 200 was the target and some quick running and smart hitting between Will Paterson, Tom Ducker, George Bell and Andy Thorne (who is still yet to be dismissed) ensured the target was met, 215-7 seemed a decent total on a slow deck.

A good tea taken back at the pavilion, which gave a chance for John Paine to save his legs and drive to and from the facilities…

Twyford were eager to get bowling at the OTs opening pair, and with Reidy comparing tree rings, root structure and leaf sizes in Switzerland, Matt Paine was entrusted with partnering Ducker with the ball. The first 4 overs drifted by without much excitement, a couple of nice cover drives from one of the openers off Paine meant that the other opener didn’t fall asleep up the other end despite not facing a ball for 3 overs… Ducker then tested his alertness with a quick one-two, a short ball nipping in at the body followed by a full one that demolished his off stump. OTs number three then looked to accelerate the scoring, advancing down the pitch and showing some skill through the offside off Paine junior who was bowling in good channels with movement both ways. Ducker was removed after a brisk 5 over spell and the wise old head of John Paine replaced him. A leg-side sliding delivery induced a top edge from the other opening batsman and Paine junior snaffled the catch at short fine leg.

Twyford allowed their opponents back into the game a little in the next few overs, a few loose deliveries punished through cover-point and the energy levels looked a bit down in the field. Paine senior saw to this however, deciding enough was a enough, and took a hat-trick. A looping, wrist-spinning variation struck the number 3 in front of middle stump, next ball was full and straight and swinging and bowled, the third following suit. Paine, seemingly bemused by the over-zealous celebrations after the third wicket, failed to realise his feat, probably struggling to remember what had happened over the previous two deliveries. Paine junior chipped in with a fast, swinging yorker that clattered into middle, before finishing a tidy 10 over spell with 1-24. Ducker replaced him and, after some late hitting by some young OTs batsmen, bowled number’s 9 and 10 in two balls (with the hat-trick ball rather off target – it couldn’t happen twice in a game could it?!). He then cleaned up the last batsman, again bowled, to give Twyford the 141 run win. For the second time this season, Ducker finished with 5 and the Paine’s (collectively) the other 5. Maximum points again for Twyford.

Thank you to Nobby Bance for putting up with all of us and umpiring again. A short hop back to the Phoenix before a few cold shandies were enjoyed in the evening sun. Herriard up next for Twyford, 2pm and Hunter Park next Saturday.

Twyford 215-7
T. Butcher 90

OTs & Romsey V 74 all out
T. Ducker 5-12

Twyford won by 141 runs


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