The beautiful home of Twyford cricket, Hunter Park, hosted week two of the 2017 Hampshire cricket league Division 1 NW against Penton. Twyford sporting the most youthful line up seen for at least five years, with a home debut for Monty McKenzie. At least two of the brains trusts were struggling for fitness in the proceeding days, one failing to make it and being replaced by 12th man John Paine.

The team were keen to put right the wrongs of the previous week, in particular Tom Ducker and Matt Paine our opening bowling partnership.

Twenty four hours of heavy showers and a morning of persistent rain were threatening to spoil the game, however negotiation in the closed season with Fair Oak CC by our own Mike McKenzie and hard work by a number of the team, mostly John Paine, had fully functioning covers available to us, without this, play would have been late starting or possibly not taken place.

Retained skipper, Moreland trudged to the centre for a return to form toss up, 10 minutes later we finally received the news that we were going to tee off first. Umpire Nobby Bance seemingly dazed from a weekend away and our defeat by Amport, under strict instructions from the current senior Mrs Bance was regaling about his recent offer to join the Southern League panel!!

A new opening duo of left, right partners Ranger and Bance faced up to an equally left right opening bowling attack, gentle but accurate swing at one end and a little pace at the other. Ranger was to fall caught for the second week in a row, with ball just “sticking” a little in the wicket, prodded a forward defensive shot to gully. Twyford 16-1 in the 3rd. The skipper was to “strap ‘em on” and come in at number 3, the coffin batting position. After one over of watchful cricket Moreland and Bancey started to accelerate the run rate and force a change in the bowling, this after Charles, Penton’s whippyish opener had bowled the first bouncer seen at Hunter Park since 1899.

In the 10th, Bance fell to a half tracker pulling the ball to the midwicket fence where a Penton outfielder, without moving took a straightforward catch, over to the youngsters.

Moreland passed 50 with a number of exquisite shots with debutant partner McKenzie junior junior junior, after a half hearted sledge from the oppo, promptly smacking the next delivery to the Hunter Park fence, I am told leading to a quiet chunter of his own in retaliation.

The wailing bench now containing the full quota of brains trust (more of that later), were enjoying seeing the “youth” bat sensibly and with great technique. Sadly Moreland, fell to a half tracker that didn’t bounce as much as he had hoped, enter Will Paterson. Paterson, yet to feature in any game this year looked impressive from the off, having seemingly grown a foot since last year’s campaign. Resolute defence and brutal driving had the wailing bench spectators on their collective feet (slowly). A no-ball bunger despatched mercilessly to the deep cow corner boundary for a maximum. The middle order got into their twenties and then got out, Paterson losing discipline and dancing down the pitch to wiley off spinner and McKenzie caught at cover point.

The lower order wagged a little, Harry Altham hitting two classy fours but the rest chipping in but being pegged back by an excellent second spell by Charles. Twyford finished on 164 all out, surely 20-30 short.

Confusion at the interval, with the time at 16:03 and tea not quite ready, both skippers seemingly agreed to return for 30 minutes of play before tea was served. However confusion reigned with a couple of the oppo players keen to crack open a lager or two! Tea taken, eventually.

Last week Penton had scored an impressive 300 odd to defeat Sporting Wessex, we had to bowl well from the off and Ducker was keen from the get-go to take wickets. A single from the first over had Penton away however runs were made hard to come by, with the Matt Paine, Ducker opening bowling pair sending down three maidens in the first six. Ducker struck in his second over yorking the opening bat Hunter. However a couple of untidy overs from Paine and Ducker had Penton in control, albeit the number three, Joseph was having a fair share of luck along the way.

In the 9th Ducker struck again yorking the impressive Jenson and followed this up in the 13th over by getting rid of the dangerous number 3, Joseph . The game was now in the balance, 61-3, it was anyone’s.

Harry Altham sadly picked up a hamstring injury but not before providing the press officer with the quote of the day, asking the skip, what “he was thinking” and believing he could walk straight into the fore with the brains trust. Clearly the question alone renders him illegible to join the elite.

Youngster Ralph Featherstonhaugh, keen to impress on his home debut, was thrown the ball replacing Matthew Paine. The 15-year old was anxious to prove doubters wrong, having been told of his omission from another competition squad who’s next game was ironically at Hunter Park. The simplest way to do this is take wickets and with his accurate swing bowling it was clear that Twyford had “found” a bowler. He removed Penton’s own bowling hero Charles for four and then set about tying up one end.  Paine senior replaced Ducker and the game went into Test match mode, the Penton wise heads aiming to use up the overs and pick off the runs. RFH was then to take a second wicket caught by Ducker. Twyford slightly ahead.

The game finally swung our way when McKenzie bowled the watchful Rouse. Despite a little inaccuracy by our change bowlers the game was set for Ducker, Paine and Featherstonhaugh to clean up, they did not let us down eventually bowling Penton out for 125, Ducker finishing with 4-32 and the young RFH with 4-19. Paine and McKenzie taking the other two wickets.  Eight of the ten wickets were bowled.

We were competitive throughout, good in the field and at all times a “team”. Our young cricketers did us proud throughout and we showed we could compete in this league after the unusual heavy defeat at Amport.

The game was well captained by Moreland, given the space to set his fields and equally rotate the bowling.

Special mention to Fin McKenzie who yet again scored faultlessly throughout, despite the lure of revising Physics or something equally irrelevant.

The ground was in brilliant condition, thanks to Matt our groundsman and John Paine, who once again keeps our club ticking.

Umpire “Nobbly” was average at best (!!!) throughout, however good to see that his recently calibrated ball counter was used effectively today, no five ball overs and that South West trains were providing a good service.

Lastly a note to Paul the landlord at the Phoenix, having read last week’s report he seemed determined to put things right!!! Yep, you guessed it, Summer Lightning was back (despite being assured it was on last week albeit we had left for home early!) It was the first time your reported had ever been sledged by a landlord… Well done lads, a good day for the club.

Twyford – 164 all out
N. Moreland 52; Charles 5-25

Penton – 125 all out
R. Fetherstonhaugh 4-19, T. Ducker 4-32

Twyford won by 39 runs


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