A second “picturesque” setting in a row for Twyford as they headed to Millbrook Rec for the HCLRD1NW tie against Southampton Community… The ground is somewhat small, located next to the “Goals” football pitches and neighboured by the main Southampton to Bournemouth trainline, Millbrook Road and a sewage treatment plant.

Reidy and Ducker provoked further questions about their relationship after they were rumoured to be spotted together in the morning by a spy, holding hands around Waitrose as they picked their Cote de Boeuf for the evening’s dinner.

Jon Bance was unceremoniously axed yet again from the starting lineup, and chose to sulk by going away. He apparently misspelt “Devon” as “Sussex” in his sat-nav and ended up taking in the delights of Goodwood, Chichester and other spiritual areas of the South-Coast county, Tony Butcher filling the void. Lee Nicholas also returned in place of Mike McKenzie and Rob Munday’s injury enabled Matt Paine to regain his place, although it was a close run thing with David Willey making himself available for selection after an impromptu meeting with Bancey in Bishops Waltham ahead of England’s t20 match last Wednesday.

Twyford arrived in good time however another toss up disaster meant that the skipper only reached the square at 1:55pm… Anyway, toss lost, with Moreland allowing home skipper to make the decision again, he really is a useless tosser. Twyford were to bowl, Moreland happy with the outcome, however Matt Paine had a minor “moment”, thinking he had membership to the Brains Trust and said he “would’ve liked a bat”.

It was apparent from the start that the wicket would “talk”, or for the older members reading this, it was going to be lively. A good covering of grass in places contrasted by dusty patches in others. Ducker and Reidy both started well, extracting pace and bounce causing the oppo problems. The first breakthrough came when Ducker had one of the openers struck infront of middle stump on the back foot. Next ball, a lifting delivery caught the glove and looped through to keeper Moreland to have Southampton Community 7-2.

At the other end Reidy was struggling slightly to find his rhythm, similar to the previous week, but did pick up a wicket when he struck the batsman on the toe in front of all three. Ducker, not to be outdone, cleaned up one of the middle order batsman who attempted to hit him into the 5-a-side football pitches fully 80 yards away, perhaps forgetting this was not a televised t20 match.

Piers Askew was asked to replace Ducker, who was spent ater yet another late night drinking session with, guess who, yup, Reidy. Bowling competitively for the first time in 2 years Piers found useful amounts of inswing, and yet again it appeared Twyford had found a very handy bowler in their ranks. Askew picked up his first Twyford wicket when he pinned the Community number 7 on the back leg in front of middle and off stump.

Up the other end Reidy had finally found his rhythm (perhaps having sobered up after the night before, see above), although he was taken for circa 20 runs in an over… The skip, keeping faith, persisted and was rewarded next over when a crunching drive from Soton Community’s most powerful batsman found the hands of Matt Paine at mid off. Reidy followed this up with a beautiful yorker which tailed in and hit broke the leg stump. He had to wait another over for his hattrick chance but managed to repeat the delivery and castled the next batsman. A rapturous round of applause from the Twyford fan club – messrs Ranger, McKenzie snr and Paine snr – seemed to please Reidy, however he was less amused when he stupidly believed his teammates when they told him that hattricks spread across two overs no longer counted…!

Matt Paine replaced Reidy and bowled sensibly, limiting the lower-order, taking a wicket of his own. Ducker returned to pick up the last wicket, despite the worst drop of the season by Alex Reidy running round from mid off, showing all that manual labour with McKenzie senior had hardened his hands so much that the ball just bounced out of them. Ducker finished with 4-18 and Reidy 4-30 as Community stumbled to 107 – with the pitch perhaps flattening out towards the end of their innings.

A very pleasant tea, complete with warm samosas, was enjoyed, particularly by umpire Nobby – the only Bance who bothered to turn up today…

West was promoted back up the order, despite his pleas to persist with Ducker as opener. Butcher partnered West and looked in fine touch as always. Both batsman punished the opening bowlers when they dropped it short, Westy playing a couple of lovely late cuts and Butcher carting the ball twice over deep square leg for 6. West was to nick one behind on 14, caught one handed by the keeper to bring Reidy to the crease. The lack of pace in the wicket was to make Reidy struggle, however there were still a typical array of fierce drives over the bowlers head and through the covers.

Butcher chipped one to long off, caught for 32, and Paterson’s quick 13 included some lusty blows before he was bowled by the “surprise” straight one! Lee Nicholas came to the crease for one ball, however Community’s bowling finally let them down and we reached our target with a plethora of wides and byes. Twyford home by 7 wickets with Reidy 32*. Unfortunately it would’ve been nice to have a few more runs to chase, with Lee, Monty and Wyatt all due in next with a chance to have a part to play in the game. Having said that, Monty was coming off a career-best 87 on Wednesday in tropical temperatures and was quite content for his mum to give him throw downs for the duration of the Twyford innings!

23 points and 2nd in the league maintained. Whiteparish seem to be flying high at the top, recreating Twyford’s 2016 heroics and going unbeaten at the moment.

Thanks again to Fin, JP, Nobby and Nick R for scoring and umpiring. We have played at nicer grounds but possibly not against more pleasant opposition, a fantastic group of lads.

A welcome return to the beautiful Hunter Park next week against Langley Manor, as selection headaches continue!

Southampton Community II 107 all out

T. Ducker 4-18
A. Reidy 4-30

Twyford 108-3


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