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SATURDAY XI v BEDHAMPTON 3rds - 10th June 2017

Curdridge made the long trip to Emsworth on Saturday to take on a mid table Bedhampton side, looking to add to their recent winning streak. Preparations were disrupted by a series of late withdrawals, with Luke (traveling to America to take up his cheerleading scholarship), Jack (Injured ankle whist fleeing an aggressive tabby on his round), and John Edwards (bad back following his Friday night ballet lesson), all unavailable.


Having parted the Red Sea and turned water into wine earlier in the morning, the skipper managed to get eleven players onto the park and the weather played its part with a balmy Saturday greeting the players onto the field. In came Dan Clark, Cam (Australian overseas), and the Hilliers - yes Dan they are twins! Jack was persuaded that his ankle wasn’t that bad after all to make up the full compliment.


Skipper will not be using David Janes taxis again as a series of mishaps meant half the team arrived just as the game was kicking off. Al Bollard managing to negotiate the toss and making the tricky decision to have a bat, a particularly difficult choice given he only had 6 players, no wicket keeping kit, and one of the players was missing a boot.


The Dan show was employed first up with Tav and Clarkey opening, Dan C stating his game plan as he left the dressing room, blocking for 42 overs. Unfortunately best laid plans went out the window and Clarkey decided to dispatch the ball to all parts of the ground taking the opening bowlers apart. Tav followed suit and in the blink of an eye the scoreboard had raced past 50 with less than 10 overs gone. 


Finally Dan C missed a straight one falling for a rapid 21, and Tav soon followed suit leaving David and Nick with a rebuilding job. David didn’t fancy it though and after a few lusty blows, nicked one to slip.


Skipper and Nick then played out a series of maidens as tight bowling necessitated a spell of battening down the hatches, before skip decided there was a bit of acceleration needed and found the boundary with a few healthy biff’s. Nick followed the lead and played an innings from ‘back in the day’ and Curdridge continued to build a healthy total. 


The skip departed playing on for 43 and Nick also left the middle having made an excellent 41. 


There were 8 overs left and with the score reading 170, it was a perfect platform for Al Bollard and Cam to indulge in a bit of ‘smashee smashee time’. Cue more carnage as the ball was sent to all parts, although rarely all the way to the boundary, requiring the batsmen to run two’s and three’s which left the Bollard with a bit of a sweat on!


Finally the innings closed with Curdridge making two hundred for the second week running and 210 was the target for Bedhampton.


Del and Dave opened up, Del was his normal metronomic self but Dave struggled a bit with the foot holes and attracted a warning from the umpire for a chest high beamer that woke the batsman up. Predictably Del made the break through, trapping the opener in front, and Dave followed up removing the number 3. 


The batsmen then consolidated and began to build a score as the bowlers struggled to make any further inroads until Del removed the other opener in his tenth over with the score on 56.


With two youngsters at the crease Curdridge sensed an opportnity but the batsmen played it steady before accelerating and the visitors were under the pump as the score went past 100 with Bedhampton well above the rate. By now Dan Tav was sending down his swingers and bowling an excellent spell that was helping limit the runs. He did however take another opportunity to show off his matador skills waving past a caught and bowled opportunity - well fielded Carlos!


Skipper turned to Mike Punt but is wasn’t his day as more runs were leaked and the committee decided that David’s wheels needed to be employed again. Tav then got the wicket that his bowling deserved and broke the partnership that was threatening to take the game away from Curdridge and David picked up another soon after.


Bringing back David early though had caused issues for the skipper, and looking round the array of fine athletes he realised that he was soon going to run out of bowling. Dan Clarke was an obvious choice but having exhausted all other options skipper reluctantly took the ball at the other end with the game in the balance as it entered the final 8 overs. 


Clarkey found his rhythm straight away and picked up a crucial wicket, but skipper took a bit longer to get warmed up with several voices calling for him to reconsider his decision to bowl himself. Fortunately though as the skipper didn’t know what ball was coming next, it was proving extremely difficult for the batsmen and the box of tricks induced a wicket. 


By now the game had fallen into Curdridge’s hands and Clarkey wrapped up the tail to leave Bedhampton stranded on 157 and Curdridge made it four wins in a row, something that seemed very unlikely earlier that morning when we only had nine players available.


Credit to all involved in what was our best performance of the season. Say it quietly but we have made it to the top of the league in what was supposed to be a season of consolidation!


Man of the Match: Almost everyone made a claim this week, Dan Clarke was destructive up front and cleaned up the tail with 3 wickets, Tav bowled a fantastic spell which deserved more than the solitary wicket and contributed valuable runs. Del was his normal miserly self, and skipper delivered forty runs and 2 wickets. However, the glue that held it all together was a fine innings from Nick Hillier who used all of his years of experience to create the ideal platform for some late order biff - man of the match but we are not sure you should have celebrated with your shirt off Nick!


Champagne Moment: Lots of good skills but the award goes to Alan Bollards poker face, playing a blinder at the toss knowing he had 5 and a half players in the shed as the clock struck 2 o’clock


Next week: Home vs Railway Triangle - good to see as many down the club as we can get to cheer on the table toppers!

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