Once again team selection was concluded early in the week with youth making way for experience, both John Paine and Mike McKenzie back in the fold and no drop outs, great commitment as always. Tom Ducker absent, wine tasting at Twyford’s continental rehabilitation centre in the Dordogne. Piers and Lee unavailable.
A second game in as many weeks at Hunter Park, I have probably said before but the facilities, the wicket and the vista get better and better at each game. The temperatures soaring to nearly thirty degrees.
Groundsman Matt and Paine senior had clearly cut every blade of grass, the outfield immaculate and the wicket shawn to a straw colour, however just a hint that the ageing medium pacer had produced a wicket that might suit his dobblers, quiet calls of “doctored” from our younger team members were quickly quashed.
The pre-match warm up had Will Paterson strutting his stuff around the ground, looking to impress Twyford’s Belles, luckily for everyone, none were in attendance nor made their way to Hunter Park during the match. Wyatt Brennan wearing possibly the most outrageous top to grace the hallowed fields, ever.
Skip Moreland once again wanted to co-opt his duties ahead of the toss-up, claiming he hadn’t eaten since his shift start at 04:30, although quick thinking Ralph Featherstonhaugh had plied the retained cricket mogul with cookies. This however did not stop Nick from mentioning that he hadn’t eaten at least 76 times during our innings.
To proceedings, toss won, bat first, Bumble school of cricket adopted, runs on board then defend the total.
Despite a few little indifferent bounces early on, which you expect with the new ball, the pitch was fair for both codes. If you wanted to bend your back as a bowler, you would get full value, equally, good shots were rewarded. Bance and West, once again opened and got Twyford off to another great start (Bancey even hitting the first ball for four) with free- flowing cover drives and cuts. At 67 West was bowled by a “beaut” which nipped back at pace taking the top of leg stump bowled by Masunda, who surprised us all coming on at first change with very decent pace. The two previous deliveries were huge no-balls.
Bance, missing partner West, was soon to follow, continuing to be aggressive, clothed one to the mid-off boundary during the very next over for 36. This prompted a feast of batting from Reidy and Paterson, at times difficult to distinguish between the two. Reidy, although not at his fluent best early on, was quick on anything short, with his new Nick Ranger made bat. Paterson was continuing his great form during the whole season and sensibly sought quick singles but hit the ball hard to the fence when the oppo bowling strayed. The partnership of just shy of one hundred was broken when young Will larruped one to the longest boundary possible at Twyford only to be well caught five yards inside the mown boundary line, 32 off of 41 balls, another good knock from the young man.
The fun thus started, Moreland clearly plays better on an empty stomach, evidenced by the next hour of cricket. Moreland was coming off of a cultured “0” midweek, or so I am told. From 170-3 in the 28th The Ford we were to lose their fourth wicket in the 40th at 288. Moreland easily outscored Reidy, however the tall right hander was to reach his hundred with a nervous chip. A good knock and a different cricketer from the previous week.
Moreland blasted his way to 64 off of 35 balls before being bowled with a few balls of the Twyford innings left, leaving the ever-confident Monty McKenzie to seek singles to allow Reidy to continue his clubbing.
Throughout the innings claims of a couple of 5 ball overs and even one 4 ball over were made by the scorers, however concentration was not at its highest, Ranger and Fin distracted by anything possible (Monty providing his fair share of banter) and with our regular scorer due to leave at 16:30 to work as a KP at the Queen in Winchester, perhaps her mind was looking ahead? A KP for those not in the know is a Kitchen Porter. At one point during the innings the scorers moved to the wailing bench to avoid the now scorching 28 degree Celsius temperatures, turning that area of the ground into absolute shambles.
Twyford finished at tea on 301-4, Reidy an excellent 117 not out from 77 balls.
A left-right bowling partnership was this week’s offering. Reidy taking the first over and Paine Junior from the tennis court end the second.
Reidy instantly struck yorking OT’s skipper Hayes for nought. Paine bowled a tidy first over before Headley took a liking to a couple of pitched up half volleys. Shortly afterwards the aforementioned batsmen survived a huge caught behind shout before hitting a skyscraper straight up but this was dropped at cover by Bancey, an absolute dolly.
Headley played some great shots to bring up a 50 but at the other end he was quickly running out of partners, none able to contain Paine or Reidy.
The introduction of Monty McKenzie saw the dangerman removed caught be Reidy and despite so late order hitting from youngster O’Conner the last two wickets were to fall to Ralph FH, who bowled a remarkable, 3.2 overs, 3 maidens, 0 runs, 2 wickets.
Game over, 24 points and enroute to the pub we heard that Sporting Wessex had defeated our closest rivals in the league and opponents Whiteparish, therefore putting us top for at least one week, a great birthday present for Nick Moreland.
You can guess what was on order at the pub, yup Hopback’s finest, Summer Lightning, at least 15 pints disappearing in the balmy evening sun. The perfect barrel produced by long time support, friend of the club and landlord Paul.
Thanks as always to Nobby who takes a week off next week for contractual reasons, John Paine and Matt for the ground, Nick M for organising us as always, the ladies for washing up, Nick R and Fin for scoring and to the whole team for a good team win. Well done all.
A. Reidy 117* (77)
N. Moreland 64 (35)
OT’s & Romsey IV 117 all out
M. Headley 66
Twyford won by 184 runs