Question: If The Racqueteers bat first and score in excess of 220 but still feel that they may not have enough runs to win, where are we playing?
Answer: The bowler’s graveyard that is the artificial wicket at Swanmore.
The Racqueteers batted first. Jack and Tom W shared a fine unbeaten century partnership for the first wicket – Tom looking particularly impressive on the drive between cover point and extra cover. Mike F (42 not out) and Stu then picked up the baton and the pace. The latter falling for a fluent 38 – just as he was starting to slip through his gears. This left us 167 for 1 with 10 overs to go. Wickets then started to tumble as our middle order tried to press home the advantage and although the board kept ticking, no one was quite able to dominate the bowling. Nevertheless, we ended on a very respectable 225 for 6 – good enough on most tracks – but was it going to be enough here?
When it was their turn to bat, the Swanmore openers, batting with little elegance but plenty of clubbing power, flew out of the blocks to reach 100 for none in the 16th over. Although the run rate dropped a little subsequently it still looked like the home side were on for a very comfortable win. Our cause was not helped by losing our skipper with a nasty muscle strain – reducing us to 10 and depriving us of 8 overs of accurate off-spin on a pitch perfectly suited to it. Vice-captain Jack took over and threw the ball to Julien (8-0-3-47) who, initially working in tandem with his (much less impressive) dad, bowled with considerable control, loop and bounce to give us a glimmer of hope – supported by two sharp catches from Tom W and Sudip. But it was ultimately not to be – despite a lively burst from Don (3-0-10-0) – and Swanmore won with 4 overs to spare and just 3 wickets down.
An ultimately disappointing outcome leavened by both a number of precious individual performances and great overall team spirit.