Two days of heavy rain during the week had caused a little concern for Matt our groundsman and John Paine, newly installed as curator. The nicely crusting playing surface was now replaced by a slightly moist and sponge like one, Paine senior spending the morning making final prepartions ahead of our game with high flying Totton and Eling III.
Question marks were raised during this week’s team communication about the Ducker/Reidy relationship, prompting the Reidy family’s attendance, apparently making sure the two were kept apart. An hour-long net involving the two, had been strictly supervised by the groundsman ahead of the game.
McKenzie once again failed a late fitness test with 12th man Ranger filling the void, strengthening our batting in due course. Ranger had been busy during the week trying to salvage the two lefties ageing relic bats. Job done, £20 each, a bargain.
The skip decided to lose the toss this week, however, as predicted he was asked to bat on a wicket that was surely going to aide new ball bowling.
The two left handers were asked to open with Bance junior surprisingly recalled to the eleven after a high-brow 17,000 mile trip around the US the previous week. A steady enough start with bad balls being mostly carted to the fence, although due to the rain both openers were finding the shorter delivery difficult to handle, Bancey copping one on the left bicep, one to the heart area and right on the scone, bending the crash helmet, however this was not to deter.
At over 21 a sound foundation had been set, 90-0 and Reidy, Moreland, Ranger, Paterson and Nicholas all waiting patiently in the hutch. In over 22 the wiley Cummings, who mixed his pace up well, trapped Smith LBW in front of all three, a very easy decision for McKenzie, who had replaced Paine senior as chief umpire when the latter decided to wear a cap back to front, thinking he was some sort of gansta rapper. The crowd not impressed and Paine hauled off for his own safety. A notable absentee was that of Nobby Bance, our senior umpire, word has it that he was being interviewed for a vacant Southern league umpiring role, sadly found to be untrue, the other ‘alf had forced him to attend a wedding!
Reidy joined the fray and as he always does, took 3 balls to get on top of the bowling, a sumptuous straight drive followed by two brutal pulls to the mid-wicket fence. A six was to follow, prompting Cummins (not Patrick btw) to wisely decide to throw the ball to someone else. The mid overs saw 50 runs realised in just 5 overs. The return of the opening quickie Hulzmann then prompted the unusually early exit of Reidy, after a straight drive to the fence, an aerial drive proved his undoing, caught right on the rope for 30.
During proceedings Bobby Smith was asked to tend the scoreboard, being a chief accountant one would have expected exceptional precision, sadly the two batsmen were perplexed, by a score of 1hh for 1.
Nick Moreland, much the same as Reidy, got straight on top of the bowling, hitting Hulzmann to the fence in successive balls as once again the young quick had dropped too short on the bowler helpful surface. Moreland again looked to press on and in the 35th over he succumbed, caught for a brisk 25.
Ranger, was unluckily bowled, playing on to one that got stuck in the wicket and Nicholas played back to the excellent spin of 14 year Lightfoot, who impressed throughout, umpire not taking too long to accept the appeals of bowler and keeper.
Bance pressed on with youngster Paterson, who hit his first ball for four, despite pleas from the non-striking batsman, to “play yourself in” . Bancey finding form after a couple of miscued pull shots, taking a liking to anything over pitched or drifting down the leg side from spinner Lightfoot. A century was reached for the veteran, timing one off his legs to the tennis court boundary. Once that milestone had passed a full-on assault was launched resulting in 61 runs from the final five, Twyford 267-5 off of their allotted. Paterson 18 not out, Bance 139 not out.
A good Twyford tea, thanks to all who provide at each home game, and then back out to defend what looked like a well above par score, that is what is in fact what it turned out to be.
Ducker, clearly was in top form after his net with Reidy and a full English breakfast (not necessarily in that order) and took about bowling at pace with a brilliant line. More importantly the length troubled the batsmen from the start. Equally at the other end Reidy was bowling beautifully. This was not going to be Totton’s day. Ducker ripped through the batsmen taking 5 quick wickets. In the 11th over Totton were 19-5. Despite a couple of excellent cover drives from Totton’s captain and ex-colleague of Jon Bance at Cadnam, Richard Dibben, the game was over when he was trapped LBW by Reidy who gave little away throughout his spell.
Two wickets for Matthew Paine and first ball legside stumping off of Ralf un-pronounceable, by skipper Moreland had Totton nine down, perfect then for Ducker to come back on and finish the game off with a 6th wicket. Amazing analysis for the league’s highest wicket taker in 2016, 7.4 overs, 4 maidens, 6 wickets for a meagre 5 runs. Reidy bowled 8 overs 1-22, Paine 2-11 and Ralph 1-8.
We bowled throughout with common sense, pitching the ball up and letting the wicket and overhead conditions aide each of the deliveries.
Well done to the lads, we looked a very good team today against tricky opposition, getting on top early on and not relenting. We headed to the pub with a few of the oppo, good to see to share a beer and a few cricketing stories. We face Sporting Wessex at Wide Lane next week.
Thanks as always to John Paine and Matt for the immaculate ground, to Fin McKenzie for her scoring (perhaps a league award for scorer of the year beckons) and to Mike for umpiring throughout 95% of the match. Thanks also to the Reidy family for their support and for doing the washing up! Also good to play against friendly, good fun opposition.
J. Bance 139*
Totton & Eling III 56 all out
T. Ducker 7.4ovs 4 maidens 6 wickets 5 runs
M. Paine 2-11
Twyford won by 211 runs