A one-hour journey to the Wiltshire village of Shrewton was the pre-match task for Twyford’s youth ahead of week 5 of the HCL Regional Div 1. Tom Ducker sensing a long day ahead was cught red handed enjoying a full English in Twyford’s very own version of Starbucks, Bean Below.

Reidy was the surprise inclusion in the XI, clearly unable to circumnavigate the Gregorian calendar and returning home a week ahead of schedule. This turned out to “save” McKenzie senior who was keen to step down for personal reasons, with his own birthday hangover from the night before and that he had forgotten his son was due to play in a County game at Winchester College.

Tony Butcher replaced the jetsetting hardworking Jon Bance, (currently editing this diatribe overlooking Los Angeles). Lee Nicholas also finally returned to the fold, with Twyford fielding a fairly strong and youthful XI.

Moreland, now heading up a new range of bread delights at Waitrose failed to use his sat-nav correctly, touring the local area for a period of time but still manging to make “toss-up”, complete with supermarket attire complete with suspicious frangipane stains.

The wicket presented was hard, with an interesting two-tone effect, perhaps Shrewton’s homage to the Hunter Park half-and-half. Toss won, Twyford to bat. Tom Ducker now feeling the effects of copious sausage and egg, struggled to make the warm-up, rather clearing the changing rooms with interesting smelling deposits.

Butcher and Smith opened up in typical style, Butcher looking to punish anything full whilst Smith was watchful agaisnt a barrage of short bowling from Shrewton’s quick left-arm opener, who decided the Champions League Final was more important than a long drive to and from Hook where their firsts were playing (don’t blame him!). Smith survived a large caught behind shout when the ball flicked the thigh pad, however in the next over a mix up between the two batsmen and a slip from Smith saw him run out. (Note from the editor – not the first time Smith has created chaos this season – I am not bitter, honest!!!!).

Reidy, who had whinged at the McKenzie “do” the night before that if he was not batting at 3 he would refuse to play – great team spirit, was getting nervous as it dawned on him that he had not picked up a bat in 8 months. Nevertheless, Reidy set about the bowling in his usual style. The wicket seemed a little two paced, and both batsmen struggled to time things. Butcher punished anything short and looked to bed in once Reidy took control.

With the scoreboard ticking over nicely, a few chirps of “250 wicket” from the fielding side were quietly softened by sensible bating. The partnership saw the team pass drinks and had assumed 89 runs before Butcher fell LBW for 42, including 6 fours and a six, not before Reidy had the chance to bring up his 50 with a trademark thunderbolt down the ground for 4, celebrated with nothing more than a thumbs up.

Moreland was pushed up the order (err… isn’t he the skipper?), by a not-so-keen Nick Ranger. The order of the day however was to keep Reidy on strike. Reidy deposited one of the change bowlers for back to back 6s into the trees. Moreland on the other hand was “doing a Bancey” and struggling to time an egg, misery completed when he edged a swinging delivery to point. Ranger came to the crease and faced his own barrage of hostile bowling from the returning left-arm opener, albeit a little wayward. Reidy was now in the groove, despatching the left-arm quick beautifully over square leg on the hook for a maximum to bring up his 3rd Twyford ton. The fatigue from his jet lag finally overcame him and Reidy was bowled for 104, an innings containing nine 4s and five 6s.

Twyford’s late push for an above par score stuttered as wickets fell in quick succession, Ranger deposited the left-armer over cover before being bowled for 18. The next few wickets tumbled rather quickly, with Ducker and Lee hitting a couple of late boundaries to push the score over 200. There was also enough time for a trademark John Paine pull shot which pulled up just inside the fence, yielding just 1 run of course, even after Shrewton had brought the field up…

Twyford mustered 210-9 from their 42 overs, a competitive total but definitely not un-chaseable, especially with such a short boundary on one side.

An excellent tea presented and enjoyed.

Twyford knew they had to bowl well to win this game. Ducker opened and immediately made the ball talk, a slight slope in the wicket enabling him to create troublesome angles for the batsmen. A huge LBW shout third ball was turned down, however next ball he managed to get one to nip down the slope and clean up the opneing batsman for a duck.

Ralf Fetherstonhaugh took the new/old ball from the other end, looking to angle the ball into the batsman and try and prevent the short boundary being targeted. With rain starting to fall, Shrewton’s players congregated around the covers – eventually the persistent shower forced a suspension with Shrewton 11-1 after 4.2 overs, a sedate start. 27 minutes later the captains and umpire agreed to go back out.

Within 10 overs of the restart it looked as though Shrewton were going to coast to victory, at 11 overs the score was 58-1. The contest between bat and ball was still very even, with Ducker and RFH struggling to grip the ball but run scoring hampered by the damp outfield. RFH provided the breakthrough though, with Reidy taking a steepler at long-off. Reidy decided to show he really had “discovered” himself in Oz by taking it reverse cup!!!!

Ducker, who had up until this point been serving up half-volley’s outside off stump ball after ball, was given an earful from the Brains Trust and told to mix it up. Finally after a bouncer and a slower ball, a full, fast, straight one did the trick. Ducker was to bowl 10 straight through and after cleaning up the middle order to finish with 4-39, an excellent spell, even attempting a couple of bouncers with a soft ball that nearly removed the skipper’s “scone” on the second bounce behind the stumps.

After RFH’s 6-over allotment, the effervescent John Paine was trusted with the ball. After a couple of untidy overs Paine too had started to mix it up, causing a few problems for the batters. Shrewton’s number 4 took a liking to him however, and thundered a drive straight back at him. JP, naturally, turned his back (probably not having seen it!) and the ball thudded into his back and looped up into the air. However, Butcher’s incredible alertness and athleticism(!) allowed him to sprint round from short cover and pluck he ball inches from the turf at mid-off.

The game then turned very quickly in Twyford’s favour. Reidy was entrusted to bowl, despite 8 months away (what could possibly go wrong), then produced something extraordinary. Given the protection of a long on considering the length of time out of the game, the angle into the batsman provided some dilemmas. After a 5 wides to start, the Shrewton number 6 looked to hit over the off side he only succeeded in giving a sharp chance to Butcher at short cover who duly accepted. Reidy repeated the trick, bowling another 5 wides before angling one in and bowling the number 8, the number 9 suffering the same fate. Reidy amazingly finished with just just one over, 3 wickets for 12 runs. JP claimed the number 11 after a skyer to RFH at point – a good catch. Shrewton stuttered to 122 all out giving Twyford a maximum points, 88 run win. JP finishing with 2-28.

A great win for Twyford, an excellent comeback from when Shrewton were 60-1 in the 12th over. Shrewton were a very useful side and will do well this season, making the win a little bit better.

A special mention to Nobby who umpired excellently yet again, and to Fin McKenzie who used scoring as an excuse for Maths revision for upcoming GCSEs, Reidy making it possible during both disciplines to challenge mental arithmetic.

Next week we at home to Totton back at fortress Hunters, a 2pm start.

Twyford 210-9

A. Reidy 104

Shrewton II 122 all out

T. Ducker 4-39
A. Reidy 3-12
J. Paine 2-28

Twyford won by 88 runs.


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