2ndXI Mid Season Update
Forgive me oh Cricket Manager, but It been many weeks since my last confession, sorry match report, and I probably need to ask the cricketing gods or the scorer or umpire for forgiveness. Also as we have hit the halfway point of the season I thought it would be good to recap.
I want to point out, that the fact I may have hit a bit of form has nothing whatsoever to do with the resumption in reporting, before Elliott, Dicko, Prof and anyone else who jumped on the, "are you ever going to score any runs again", bandwagon gets their two pennies worth in.
So here we are halfway through the season sat in third place and six points behind today’s opponents Devizes. In the weeks since the last report the twos have had a game then a break a game then a break and are now are thankfully back into the swing of things, with games each week until mid-August.
Since the last report, we welcomed Combe Down who at the time was above us and going well, another first eleven, unbeaten in the league this season and another unknown quantity.
Arriving early this correspondent was amazed to see not one (Elliott), not two (Elliott & Hodder) but six third team regulars all eager to ply their trade in the twos.
I ask myself is this a glimpse of the future? No it can’t be as Prof, Hodder and Elliott were there and surely they cannot be the future. Is it some post-apocalyptic nightmare and everyone else has caught something nasty. Or were they all that was available.
Combe Down Skipper surveying the pitch, muttering to his gathering team. “This is a bit green looking and underprepared, has it been cut or rolled?”.
Colin to Hendy what do you think? Hendy to Colin do what you normally do lose the toss. However, if you happen to win field!! Now the pitch was not that bad but the opposition had won each game batting second and by some considerable margin so let’s see what they could do up front.
Well, “buggar” me Colin actually won one and we fielded.
Charlie Chivers and Warren “Morne” Ship, shared the new ball and together removed both openers within five overs but with 37 on the board. For the second game running Tanner appeared, fresh from his wheelie bin diving the night before and in only the 13th over, yes that’s not a typo 13th over, he bowls. Colin looking for some control. Nothing happens for the next ten overs until Elliott bowls his second over and gets a wicket bowled, the batsman was beaten for pace!!
Obviously, Elliott is still smarting at Nick Woollacott’s Spanish Inquisition held on Friday night. Nick happened to innocently ask "Did you ever play first-team cricket, Andy?" Elliott "yes of course." Nick, "You did? What did you do?" Elliott, I opened the bowling. Nick, "That must have been a long time ago!!" - Harsh but very fair, remind me to buy that man a drink.
25th over Tanner a wicket caught Hodder. Run rate dropping below just below five now. 30th over Elliott wicket great tumbling catch by Duckett. Wicket maiden Elliott mentally strong? but physically breathing through his arse!! Tanner off having bowled out his 9 overs by the 30th over, unheard of normally he is just coming on to bowl at this stage. Final bowling change Hodder finally enters the fray Wicket! rank half volley slapped straight to Tanner held 8 down. Elliott back, not so red in the face now and breathing returned to almost normal. One wicket to go Hodder rank half volley slapped across the line Tanner caught, more Deja vu. But all out 163 more than we would have liked less than it looked like they would get.
So with the game in the balance, we went to tea. As it turned out it was never in doubt a masterful 88 not out from Watson D ably assisted with a 43 from our Skipper resulted in a 7 wicket win. Granted we wobbled a bit when Prof and yours truly got out cheaply but we got home overs to spare and wickets in hand. More importantly, Marshfield went above Combe Down. The future or post-apocalyptic nightmare only time will truly tell.
Another week and no game with Seagry withdrawing from the league meant our next game was away to Nationwide House. A game we should win with Nationwide House firmly routed to the bottom of the table winless. However, this game was not without its controversy. Nationwide batted now I am not sure if Colin won or lost the toss but it was bloody hot and they only had nine players.
We were, as is the way with the twos, much changed and welcomed back a whole raft of established second team players and one Harry Steele making his season debut. Again this game followed the season's normal formula, we bowled some good balls we bowled some bad balls. We took wickets at regular intervals, all shared around the bowlers and everything appeared to be going well.
Then 1 hour and 50 minutes late one of their players turned up, got changed and padded up! Hendy to Professor Threadgill, Michael what are we going to do about this? He cannot do anything until he has served his time. Threaders that’s ok he can bat, we are not going to enforce that.
Chivers first ball to "new batsmen" square cut off of the middle of the bat! It was four before anyone moved. Now those of you who have played at Nationwide will know that the outfield is dense and often a little longer than necessary, so it was a good and perfectly timed shot. And this continued the "late guy" smashing several 6's and a few more fours taking the home side score up to 174 when it looked like they would get no more than 120. As we walked off Hendy to Threaders you made a mistake there Mike, we are playing league cricket not Sunday friendlies, there is no way he should have been allowed to do that I hope it is not going to bite us.
Fortunately, it did not but again we had a wobble the ever-reliable Watson D out early for 2, Todd Richardson imperious up to his fifty then threw it away. Hendy still not having a clue which end of the bat to use failed. But a fine unbeaten 68 from Glen and 23 from Watson M saw Marshfield home to a 6 wicket win. It could have been so much worse.
The next game was home to Royal Wotton Bassett, another team above us and one that had only been beaten once by Trowbridge all season. A much-changed team again welcomed back Russell Lodge and Rob Illes. Matt Cox and Sam Jukes made their second eleven season debuts and all in all we looked like on paper a decent team albeit maybe a touch light on batting with none of the Watson to be seen.
Colin won the toss and we fielded Sam Jukes opening with Charlie, Now this is the first time I have seen Sam bowl and boy does he go back a long way! Lodge to Hendy he makes me tired just looking at his run up and Russ was right far away in the distance Sam turned and ran in quick and purposeful, short but he had pace and bounce, something not seen in the twos for many a year. But short and quick often concedes runs and with a short offside boundary, anything wide was dispatched for 4 with relative ease. But when he got it right he was just too quick for the Bassett batsmen and he blew away the middle order.
Only three batsmen got into double figures and with Matt Cox taking 2 for 19 and Rob Illes 2 for 18. At tea, Marshfield was only chasing 95.
Colin to Hendy fancy a go up top? Well considering I had offered absolutely nothing at 4, 5, 6 and 7 over the past 4 weeks I had nothing to lose. Yep love to, so on go the pads. Glen and Hendy strode out to the middle with a rumour going around that the opening bowler was a first-team regular coming back from injury. First ball quick but wide down leg side 4 wides. Second ball quick off stump snick Glenn caught at first slip of off the keeper's gloves.
In comes Todd fresh from last week's fifty and slowly we get on top. Well, Todd gets on top Hendy just pats everything back to the bowler or fielder for 6 overs, before mistiming a drive off of the 14-year-old medium pacer straight at the first teams quick.
Dolly but wait dropped Hendy a lifeline, would he, could he make them pay? Todd fell for 19 and Hendy joined by Lodge rotated the strike and got to within 30 runs of the total before Lodge was caught down legside. The end came quickly after that as the Bassett skipper rotated his bowlers once too often bringing on another bowler for what was, we later learnt, his first bowl for two years. It did not go well with 19 runs coming from one legal delivery Marshfield win by 7 wickets.
So that brings us up to the latest game against Devizes and the first of the return fixtures. Now some of you may remember the game away could have gone either way. Some less charitable would say it was only a drop by the skipper that lost us the game. But everyone had a point to prove and if we were serious in getting promotion we needed to step up and win this one and win it well. It did not help that the game coincided with the England Sweden match and so the game started at 12. Well, it would of if the opposition were there. By the time everyone and everything was ready it was almost half past.
Colin duly won the toss and this time did not even ask anyone what he should do so we fielded. Again a much-changed side. No Watsons, No Lodge, No Cox, No Chivers. Hodder in, Duckett in, Chopper in, Mishie in. Sam Jukes again to lead the attack.
Devizes went off at a cracking pace Sam Jukes bowling a fuller length this week still quick but on a good deck with a short boundary again went for runs. Rob Illes struggling for control, his 4 opening and only overs of the day, going for 25. A good total looked at the cards, but as for most of the season, Marshfield started to peg things back Jukes removing the opener. Chopper, a bit wayward but his 7 overs only costing 21 started to help drag us back into the game. Time for spin Glenn on at the far end, first over not great! Second over better getting an important wicket and what a wicket stumped Sinkins beautiful glove work very very quick. Jukes to Colin that was fantastic how old are you? Really and still that quick remarkable!
But we had an end open now and Glenn took advantage removing the next 3 batsmen for very little to finish with 4 wickets for 35 only a dropped catch by Colin on Glenn's last delivery stopped a five-fer. Marshfield's bit bowlers then mopped up the rest aided by a superb run out by Chopper. Again only 4 batsmen got into double figures and again after a great start, Marshfield had restricted a very good opponent to a below-par score of 165.
Now it would be wrong of me to say that after last week's successful stint as an opener I had high hopes of a repeat performance, so I settled down along with 70 or so others to watch the England game, mentally preparing myself for the task at hand and limiting myself to just the two pints for dark fruits. Now, this is where things first started to go wrong. There were no dark fruits, I will repeat that for the hard of reading THERE WAS NO DARK FRUITS. It appears that the excuse is "a shortage of CO2".
I will reserve judgement on that and will comment further when normal CO2 service is resumed. But personally, I think it is a poor attempt at curbing the excesses of us youngsters. And there was the niggling fact that Colin had not yet spoken to me about it. But I watched the football struggled through the pale imitation that is Thatchers Haze or some such nonsense and waited.
To my horror I had been overlooked, how could that be? To use Matt Watson's words "I was back !" Surely some mistake! Colin to me take three this week happy with that? Me who's opening? Colin Hamish.
So Marshfield went out to bat, Glen fresh from his first ball duck last week and Mishie on season Debut. Me three Colin four Jukes five. To be fair to Mishie he went off like a train a few really good drives for 4 mingled with the odd leading edge that fell safe, but he looked like he could be in really good nick and then another leading edge! caught, fumbled, dropped? No wait he held it! Mishie went for 21. Well, what sums him up was one comment; he looks a million dollars until he gets to 20 and then the stuffs it up. Who needs friends when you have brothers Mishie eh?
Enter Hendy joining Glenn at the crease. They are not really doing anything take your time was the advice. So we did milking the singles and taking advantage of the bad ball. We started to build a partnership. Past 30 past 40. Glenn reaching his 50! Still only one down knocking off the runs 10 at a time. Hendy to Glenn "Spartan Law" take everything give them nothing. Keep focused, keep talking, how deep do you want to go?
The partnership is now 80 Glen on 70, 45 needed to win Hendy to Glenn how bad do you want your ton? Glenn "no don’t worry about that, that’s for another day lets win this!" So we did Hendy hitting the spinner for 20 then playing out a maiden to the same bowler before hitting him again for 16 in an over. The winning runs fittingly coming from the bat of Glenn who finished on 85 not out. Hendy on 55 not out a partnership of over 130! A nine-wicket win and one that takes Marshfield up into second 15 points clear of Devizes and 5 behind next week's opponents, the so far unbeaten Trowbridge. Bring it on!