Sometimes in sport you wake up in the morning feeling as though it is just going to be your day. For your reporter this was not the case, as Waitrose’s bread required baking, and the three hours sleep achieved the previous night made the 4am start a more pressing matter. Twyford made the long trip to Silchester on a hot and sunny August Saturday with a host of enforced changes from the home win against St Marys. When I say the trip to Silchester… Star all-rounder Alex Reidy decided it would be a good idea to find any old postcode on the “Silchester” page of the handbook, taking messrs Ducker, Moreland and the returning Alex Johnson (after a year) to an address in the centre of Basingstoke, belonging to the secretary of the opposition.
Reidy eventually delivered the troops to the correct address thanks to “Cindy” the sat-nav in the Ford flatloader he continues to adore. Wicket inspected, green but hard, captain Moreland undecided. Fortunately, he lost the toss and the decision was taken out of his hands. Twyford would bat.
With 3 of Twyford’s opening batsmen missing in West, Butcher and Bance, it was the turn of Nick Ranger to partner Bobby Smith at the top of the order. Last year Twyford were ripped apart by Silchester’s two left-arm opening bowlers and one of them, Mitchell, was on display today. Both opening bowlers bowled with tight lines and lengths, beating the bat regularly with the wicket looking a tad two-paced but coming onto the bat quite nicely. After seeing off the openers, Ranger was yorked for 13 by the extremely tall Henwood (with Ranger warning the next batsmen he somehow manages to bowl from above the sightscreen… excuses). Reidy, over his sat-nav blunder, came to the wicket and set about in his usual fashion, middling the ball to various parts, including the shot of the day through wide mid-off. Despite this, Reidy managed to spoon a full-toss from the left-arm spin of captain Brace to gully to depart for 28. Moreland came to the wicket to join Smith, who was batting in his usual sensible fashion, however using a bat resembling a bar of Toblerone (credit Mike McKenzie) makes it difficult to score fluently.
Moreland looked to up the scoring rate (seeing as he doesn’t possess many defensive shots), but the angles and movement off the pitch created by Dodd meant this was a little tricky, with many drives skewing off the inside edge and trickling to the leg-side boundary. This prompted a sledge of “he’s only got one shot” from extra cover, who two balls later assumed another skanked edge was going through the leg-side and failed to pick up a ball to his right. Smith was bowled for 42, Moreland caught on the boundary for 40 and Johnson, after a couple of lovely shots through the off side, followed in a similar fashion to Smith for 12. This left Will Paterson and Matt “Mad Dog” Paine to see Twyford to as large a score as possible, 173-5 the eventual total after a trademark Paine bludgeon over long on for 6.
Tea taken (the best we have seen all season), the rocky road and individual pots of banoffee pie and Eton mess the particular highlights.
Reidy was extremely fired up after “a dent in his average” and Ducker was fed his raw meat, Twyford took to the field knowing a solid bowling performance would see them extend their unbeaten run to 10 games. The first 4 overs drifted by, Reidy bowled too short, Ducker bowled too leg-side and keeper Moreland couldn’t decide where to stand in order to actually catch the ball. Heads dropped and for the first time this season Twyford looked like a team with no confidence. However, when you have the ball in the hands of a bowler like Tom Ducker, things happen. As we have noticed at Silchester on previous visits, the ground is very hard and abrasive, and without realising this enabled Ducker to add another string to his bow – reverse swing. Ducker cleaned up one of the openers with a hooping delivery, and Reidy got his lengths right to clip the top of the other opener’s middle stump.
Olly Dodd came to the wicket at 3 and promptly smacked a Ducker bouncer over square leg for six. Reidy continued to bowl a fine line and length, limiting the scoring opportunities. Ducker meanwhile was ripping stumps out at regular intervals up the other end. Numbers 4-8 were all bowled by Ducker who finished with astonishing figures (and a few fist pumps), 10 overs, 3 maidens, 6 wickets for just 21 runs. Reidy had Dodd caught for 17 and D. Henwood bowled to leave Silchester 64-9 after 20 overs. 4 balls were all that were required from John Paine, who had J. Minifie trapped in front of all three to dismiss Silchester for 65 and cue Twyford’s celebrations.
A great game of cricket against very strong opposition who had been hot on Twyford’s tails all season. Both teams were missing key players but the overall standard of cricket was immensely high.
Thanks go to Robert Nicholas for stepping in late on Friday and fielding excellently, including a wonderful one-handed pickup and throw almost resulting in a run-out. Thanks also to Nobby Bance for umpiring again. Twyford dedicate the win to Andy Thorne who was taken ill over the weekend and the club wish him a speedy recovery.
No game next weekend, next match is away to Oakley II on 20th August.
R. Smith 42
N. Moreland 40
Silchester 65 all out
T. Ducker 6-21
Twyford won by 108 runs