A sublime day at Hunter Park greeted both sets of players in good time for the latest round of HCL CD4N games. The wicket presented looked a belter, the outfield lightning. Moreland’s lucky 10p piece proving it’s worth, the coin falling the right side for Twyford, bat first.

Selection problems meant just 10 were available, Tom Ducker’s dedication to the Ford meant he made himself available for the first hour of the game, before a trip up to London to man the kitchen of the soon-to-be number 1 burger house in London. Bobby returned from the Meditteranean but Wyatt was away. Rob Nicholas, keen to show off his new spikes (more on that later) and Piers Askew were in the running for the 5th bowler position.

Bobby and Ducker strode to the middle to begin proceedings. Tom, not our usual opener of course, looked to clip nicely off his legs when given the opportunity off the useful Martin and Neate, opening the bowling for Rowledge. Ducker survived a massive leading edge, falling through the hands of mid off, only for Bobby to chip to cover 2 balls later, a tame dismissal. Reidy came to the wicket and took his time getting going, unfortunately losing Ducker in a similar way to Bobby, caught at cover off Martin.

West lasted but a few balls at 4 and Twyford were struggling at 34-3 after 8. Martin was taken off shortly after Moreland came to the crease, and Neate followed suit. The change bowlers varied, the young left armer Smith from one end struggled with his lengths, both Reidy and Moreland punishing his shorter deliveries, Watts up the other end swung the ball appreciably, albeit early, allowing Moreland and Reidy to settle in a bit.

A bit of a partnership had formed when Moreland chased a very wide delivery from Swan and was caught behind for 26. Reidy at the other end, as has been the case most of the season, went about his work with little fuss. Your reporter fails to remember a chance being put up this week, must’ve learnt from last week as Rowledge looked, on the whole, a decent fielding side. Rob Nicholas chipped a ball in the air to be caught, Ralf hit a lovely shot down the ground but attempted to force his next delivery too much, flat batting it in the air to mid on.

Piers Askew was in at 8, a slight demotion from last week, after he reminded the skipper he was yet to score a run for Twyford in 3 knocks… You wouldn’t have known it this week however, Some delightful drives off both back and front foot through the covers and straight enabled Reidy to relax a little at the other end and relieve some pressure, Reidy passing 50 with ease. Piers eventually fell for 25 after a brilliant 56 stand, to which Piers contributed more than last week’s 50 stand between the same two players…!

Matt Paine entered the fray at 9, with his… sensible(!?) batting head on, although some shambolic running meant he kept the strike away from Reidy on too many occasions… Reidy brought up his second consecutive ton, and when given the opportunity started to punish the bowling, which he did with the usual power and placement, some of the drives down the ground would’ve had the Hampshire selectors interested after their recent County Championship form… Twyford brought the 200 up and Reidy added further runs with sixes over midwicket. Matt was LBW in front of all three (given out from the pavilion) and John Paine saw Reidy through to the end, Twyford ending on 240-8 from their 45 overs, Reidy 133*. The pick of the bowlers, young Ethan Martin with 3-37.

A lovely tea taken, as always, thanks to Janet Bance for washing up.

With Twyford a couple of bowlers down from previous weeks and a good wicket with a fast outfield, this game was still very much alive. Ralf and JP opened the bowling, John’s lines impeccable as always, although he struggled to test the batsmen. Ralf generating good shape against two useful young openers. Ralf had one of them pouched down the legside by Moreland. Martin looked in good touch at the other end, resolute in defence and scoring well through the leg side.

Matt Paine came on after father John at the allotments end and bowled with slightly more consistency than in recent weeks, with the ball moving both ways. A “funky” field was set including a trap on the leg side which had already accounted for one batsman, not helped by Twyford’s shortage in the field. Reidy replaced Ralf at the basketball courts end and bowled a good line and length, Moreland up to the stumps had a loud stumping appeal turned down after Martin had hit the ball down into the ground at him.

The runs continued to tick by however, and Twyford looked sloppy in the field, lacking slightly in energy in the sapping afternoon heat and humidity. Matt Paine came around the wicket and a slightly slower ball crept through the drive of a Rowledge batsmen to bowl him. The game then drifted slightly, Reidy finishing 9 tidy overs wicketless again (extremely unlucky as always), Piers was introduced after Matt Paine and started with some full bungers (it was his first bowl in a year, not even in nets!) but quickly found a rhythm, only the odd ball straying in length or line. With 10 in the field however it became more difficult to plug all gaps, especially if the bowling wasn’t gun barrel straight. 13 year old Ethan Martin was undeterred by the wickets falling at the other end, maturely reaching a well-played 50 and showing many other batsmen from both teams how to play a non-t20 like innings! Ralf removed the left hander thanks to an incredible catch by Robert at mid-wicket, diving to his right and lodging the ball in his armpit. All this despite depositing his new spikes all over the ground after failing to tighten them before their first outing…. Then not knowing how to use the key that came with them!

Piers removed 2 batsmen before having to be removed for bowling too many full tosses, and, amazingly, the skipper turned to Bobby Smith to finish the over. A double-bouncing wide/no ball lulled the batsman into a false sense of security, before a half tracker found the grateful hands of Ralf at deep mid-wicket. By this point however Rowledge had already passed 200 themselves. Paine J returned to polish off the last man, preventing a nail biting finish (admittedly, the nails were already being bitten!), bowling Rowledge out for 222 in the 44th over. Blushes saved, as Bobby was going to have to be entrusted with the last over had it got that far!!!!!!!! Twyford taking a maximum 24 point haul.

Young Ethan Martin finished on an excellent 89 not out, carrying his bat for the duration of the innings, a fantastic effort and surely a name to remember in the years to come. Ralf Unpronounceable finished with 3fer, the other wickets shared around. Twyford winning (just) by 18 runs in a game where many lessons can be learned, particularly in the field.

A lovely pint was enjoyed at the Phoenix, only spoiled by Germany’s last minute winner, not to worry, It’s Coming Home this year anyway….. Thanks to Nobby for umpiring, Fin for scoring and Nick Ranger for supporting, and to Rowledge for a great game of cricket, which ebbed and flowed and was close right up to the very end.

Next week at home again to Overton at Hunters, 1pm start.

Twyford 240-8

A. Reidy 133*

E. Martin 3-37

Rowledge III 222 all out

E. Martin 89*

R. Fetherstonhaugh 3-40


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