After a stop-start season, an unusual home defeat, a 125th anniversary game and a tour for some of our team, Twyford’s last game of the season saw an intriguing match-up against high flying Andover 3rds, who were also seeking promotion out of Regional North West 1.

An extremely quiet week on the wires following last weeks selection for this game, once again with 17 people available (sorry to those who did not get selected). One drop out towards the end of the week had Kev “Swoop” West replacing young, in-form Will Paterson. Westy has been in brilliant form this year and clearly wanted “words” with the skipper about his original omission!!

Problems with the outfield threatened to prevent the game being played, curator John Paine managing to get someone to replace the holidaying Matt. The outfield has suffered from the very wet weather over the last few weeks and was not to our normal standards on arriving at the ground, the wicket however looked very flat but soft despite the covers being on for the whole week.

Twyford team assembled, well 10, with Tom Ducker having an excessive night and arriving late with sunglasses covering obvious signs of a very late one, having ignored the skippers curfew plea. Worrying conversations took place prior to the coin flip, John Paine suggesting that he should assume the role as child-welfare officer, the nine other players present adopting the look of guppy fish at feeding time, if this was not troublesome enough Nick Ranger followed this by enquiring why he had not been put forward for the role!!

Skipper Moreland dilly-dallied, unsure whether to toss up himself or let the more senior Bance Junior (!) carry out the honours, as it turned out, the skip did his duty and “lost”. Amazingly, we were to bowl first, Andover possibly noting that we were unable to chase in our previous game.

Ducker reluctant to fulfil the first over, apparently, he needed another 5 minutes composure passed the shiny red sphere to Reidy for the first offerings. Both Andover openers played correctly and looked to get on the front foot to negate any movement, Reidy making the ball swing and seam prestigiously away from the right handers throughout his spell. Ducker not quite up to pace, niggled away outside off stump and we were in the ascendency early on with the batsmen unable to get the tight bowling away. Reidy struck first with a debated catch behind, Moreland unsure but a positive “yes” from umpires Paine senior and Ranger had the technically correct Sale departing for 5. At the other end opener Morton simply could not make inroads.

Reidy struck again bowling Andover’s number 3 and with a change after 10 overs Monty McKenzie was smartly offered the ball, instantly removing the number 4, after a brief fight back from Andrews who played the shot of the season, straight driving the now tiring Reidy for 4. Young Monty, sensing a breakthrough then decided to go through the middle order like a dose of Andrews liver salts. Reidy finished his straight 10, an imposing 3-26 and credit to the young man who bowled his heart out. McKenzie also completed his 10, a staggering 4-13. His bowling had a mix of subtle flight, change of pace and the odd wrong un. We all hope Monty stays with us for another season before he surely goes on to play for one of the top clubs in the county, if not further (if he wants to).

A short spell from Dan Watson, kept up the pressure and with Matty Paine and Wyatt Brennan finishing up the innings, Andover were all out off of the last ball of the 42 over for 107. Note to Matt’s brilliant run out.

The fielding bar one or two aberrations was clinical, we were very impressive throughout with strong throwing, chasing and diving stops particularly in the mid on and cover areas.

To tea, great as always with homemade cake from another Paine, Katherine.

We faced a similar total in our last home game and failed to get there, however there was an underlying determination within the dressing room that a failure would not happen again. Butcher and Bance were paired for the first time this season, always great to see Butch playing for us, he is one hell of a talent. Watchful, patient, early stone walling was the way forward on the slow pitch and pick off the bad deliveries. Andover bowled very tight lines however, luckily for the Twyford opening pair,  young Morgan Vanandel bowled a number of no-balls to allow us to keep the scoreboard ticking along with nicely run singles. Butch also hit the only bad ball in 8 overs to the fence. Andover needed to take wickets and with the Twyford openers comfortable the change of bowling released the shackles and Twyford were half way there.

Bance departed playing down the wrong pitch to McMahon’s second ball for a grafted 23 and Butcher soon was also out thumping a full bunger straight to one of the in-field however the game was up for Andover and the openers had done the job needed. Reidy and West played themselves in and with various changes of bowling, Reidy did what he does best, after a caught and bowled let off he smashed it all around Hunter Park to get us home with 17 overs left.

It was strange games, the oppo were competitive in part and seemed ultra-relaxed at times but they were beaten fair and square by us and happily we were champions for the second year in succession.

All that was left was the take the obligatory photo for the annuls and newspaper (getting the achilles ruptured umpiring supremo Nobby Bance into shot created much needed hilarity), put the ground to bed for another day and celebrate properly at the Phoenix, where Paul had an amazing range of beers available for consumption.

I know I say thank you often but it is needed, we are lucky for the people that keep our club running.

To skipper Nick Moreland, well done again, keep up the good work as skipper and thanks for keeping the 1st team running. John Paine for keeping the ground up together and everything you do for us. Mike McKenzie for his enthusiasm, help and coaching. Nobby Bance and Nick Ranger for umpiring. Fin McKenzie for scoring throughout the year, Matt Riley for working so hard on the pitch, Jan and Kate Bance for washing up and tea duties, Pam Moreland for our accounts, Paul for hosting us at the Phoenix after every game, the Paine bakery for the tea-time treats and Sonia Watson for the best flapjack ever presented at a cricket interval.

Well done to the lads, we lost the first game of the year and bounced back to win the division.

Andover III 107 all out

M. Mckenzie 4-13
A. Reidy 3-26

Twyford 110-2

A. Reidy 39*

Twyford won by 8 wickets.


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