Summer finally arrived with the UK basking in late twenty degree centigrade temperatures throughout the week. Saturday was not a bit different to the preceding working week and a hot and sunny Hunter Park greeted both teams, the sun seemingly getting to groundsman Matt who attempted to “mow” Reidy down during the boundary flag insertion process. John Paine also seemed dazed by the yellow orb, walking out with six stumps to set up, only to pick the very green strip rather than the baked, Barbados like wicket. A few expletives were muttered when two of the younger members of the Twyford eleven pointed out the error of his ways.
Reidy and Bance returned to the fray, the former having a superb holiday in Switzerland but in true Reidy style deciding to exchange his pounds for Euros for his week away! The average age was lowered with 15 year old Joe Butterfield making his senior debut. He must have wondered what he had let himself in for, with only nine players present at the allotted two o’clock start and with Mike McKenzie going through, blow by blow his previous day’s play at the Easton sixes on the wailing bench.
The skipper, who has been promoted from bread development to head brewer at your favourite premium priced supermarket (other supermarkets of various standards and quality are available) was restored to “normal” tosser –I am told said supermarket have plenty of bottles of Summer Lightning in stock. The change of role seems to have done the skip some good as he appeared less grumpy throughout the days play and turned up on time to return to regular coin flipping.
Toss was won or lost, anyway, Twyford batting. West and Ducker who at each game seem to decide to turn up or go home at whatever time suits them, were once again late. West delayed on his way back from Orlando via Plummet International airways and Ducker driving back from a romantic week in Newport, Wales (!)
Nobby arrived as per usual time, thank goodness Southern do not run the service from Botley to Shawford, resplendent in a hat last seen in a 1970’s John Wayne film. White coat on, time for play to commence.
With West once again late, Jon Bance bravely stepped into partner Bobby Smith as opener, Smith allowing him or telling him to face the first ball! The Herriard openers swung the ball early on to the two lefties (not Corbyn followers by the way)who both had a little luck with a couple of sharp dropped catches on a slightly two paced surface.
With ten overs gone, Twyford were well placed at 49 for no wicket and the opening bowlers off for a well earned rest and a few slurps of Twyford spring. Bobby Smith then began to get to grips with the pace of the wicket and Bancey through defence against the opening bowlers and then attack when the change bowlers arrived moved the score from five an over to ten forcing the Herriard skipper to have to bring back both opening bowlers.
The score reached 164 in the 24th over when Smith finally succumbed, LBW to one that held up in the wicket, a superb knock of 36. Reidy ventured to the crease, smashed a few to the boundaries and then lost the ability to move his feet and played on, chuntering that he was looking forward to bowling!
The run rate was maintained at an enterprising sevens with Kevin West and Nick Moreland both taking on the bowling with gusto and seemingly both in a rush. Bance finally departed in the 36th over when one of a number of chances provided was gratefully accepted, playing on to a short half tracker for 146. West (24) and Moreland (28) both departed caught by the tall opening bowler. Thorne who still was to be dismissed in 2016 was for 9, pleasing John Paine, who’s averages spreadsheet had gone into meltdown due to Thorne’s not out column being well populated. Paine junior and debutant Butterfield pushed Twyford beyond the 300 mark for the second time this season on our home turf.
Tea taken at 5.40, I am guessing due to the heat and disappearance of the ball to various parts of Hunter Park.
A long warm up for opening bowlers Reidy and Ducker paid instant dividends with both Herriard openers dismissed for nought, bowled with the score on 1. At 12-3 and Reidy once again bowling the opposition’s number 4, the game was pretty much up as a contest. Twyford employed a four man slip and gully cordon, cleverly totted up by West as north of 200 years in combined age, one of the Twyford fielders exclaiming that “it’s on its way” prompting quote of the day from evergreen West, “what, death?” . Reidy completed his best spell in Twyford colours eventually finishing with figures of 4-31.
Only Naik threatened to ruin the bowler’s averages with a quick fire 46, hitting positively down the ground and even planting Ducker for a six, the six prompted the fastest ball of the day which almost took the bails off due to the jet stream. Once again John Paine chipped in with three economical wickets and with Butterfield taking a wicket with an interesting delivery which prompted the outgoing batsmen to dispatch his cricket gear in various directions as he approached the pavilion, it was left to Ducker to bowl Herriard’s number 8 prompting a huge 157 run win for The Ford.
The only negative element from the days play was a recurrence of the back injury to Matt Paine when he threw himself onto the baked surface whilst bowling, Mike McKenzie deputising with four of the highest quality deliveries.
Off to the normal pleasantries in the Phoenix, where Summer Lightning seems to be a permanent fixture, maybe due to the cricket match reports or maybe because it’s a darn good beer.
Thanks to Nobby for umpiring at both ends in the searing heat.
J. Bance 146
p/ship with R. Smith 164
A. Reidy 4-31