Wednesday 29 July 2020 (at Braishfield Cricket Club)
The Racqueteers played our second match in four days on a fine summer’s evening. The venue was Braishfield’s stunning and slightly sloping cricket ground, surrounded by fields and highlighted by the lowering sunlight. Sheep outnumbered the human spectators by about fifty to one, and they were in for a treat, with a nailbiting finish and the result in question until the final couple of balls.
Before we start, it’s worth reminding ourselves of law 41.3, which played an important part in proceedings: “If a helmet belonging to the fielding side is on the ground within the field of play, and the ball while in play strikes it, the ball shall become dead. 5 penalty runs will then be awarded to the batting side.” Credit should also be given to Edmund, who volunteered to umpire both innings. The Racqueteers batted first and Tom W and Mike F gave us a strong foundation, putting on 39 for the first wicket over eight overs, scoring 19 and 18 respectively. The opposition bowled and fielded tightly and the run rate hovered around five an over, with boundaries difficult to come by. Kendall came in at three and anchored the innings. He pushed the score on as the opposition briefly threatened to throttle the run rate, supported by Nick and Angus. A magnificent final shot for six confirmed Kendall’s retirement for 30. For the final four overs, Guy, Chris and Julien kept the score moving with some scrambled singles and extras and the odd dive to the crease, adding 18 runs. Their number one bowled the final over, and possibly the crucial score was from the third ball, which Julien judiciously left – it hit the wicket-keeper’s helmet and gave us five runs via law 41.3. This left us with 107 to defend.
The Talks family opened the bowling, with Tom and Lawrence taking the stage. Jack (The Professor) opened for the opposition and hit out well, including one six, of which Kendall remarked “why don’t you do that for us?” Tom bowled tightly with 13 runs and Lawrence took the crucial wicket of Jack, caught by Nick for 24, one short of retirement. Jack’s runs had moved the opposition ahead of the run rate and it came down to Nick and Angus to tighten things up. Angus bowled a superb spell of 3 overs for 2 runs, taking a deserved wicket (bowled) in his final over. Nick bowled an accurate and fast spell of 3 overs for 10 runs, also taking a wicket (bowled) and achieving a run out with a superb direct hit. The run rate had been reduced, but Newport only needed just over 5 an over and a father and son pair were now in and hitting out. Chris and Mike C took on the bowling duties. Chris was punished in his first over, but came back with two much tighter overs, while Mike bowled four tidy overs for 20 runs. The score was also kept down by some excellent fielding and good field placement by the skipper. Sixteen runs were needed off the final two overs to win and the opposition had plenty of wickets in hand. A single loose ball or a boundary would make this very difficult. Mike F bowled the 19th over with six tight balls and five runs conceded, meaning ten were needed off the final over for a tie. Mike C was ready to bowl, but the opposition pointed out he’d already had his four overs, so Nick took the ball. Again, a crucial and tight over was bowled with five runs conceded, but it wasn’t until the final ball that we felt safe and could celebrate the victory.
The Racqueteers beat Newport Inn by 6 runs
Racqueteers: 107 for 7 off 20 overs
Newport Inn: 101 for 4 off 20 overs