SATURDAY XI v Challengers - 26th May 2018
The sun was beating down as Curdridge’s finest athletes assembled for their latest fixture against Gosport Challengers.
Skipper had a busy week trying to seek out 11 available players and got close with Chris Vickery, Jon Fields and being promoted from the clubs youth section, getting numbers up to ten before Cerys decided that she could do a better job than those already assembled and volunteered to fill the gap so Curdridge had the full compliment as they took to the field.
Skipper then had another change in fortune as he won his first toss of the year, and immediately chose to have a bat, and sat back waiting for his top order to pile up the runs.
Jack and Craig opened as usual and a gentle partnership developed in the face of some aggressive bowling until Jack was caught trying to break the shackles and Curdridge were one down with fifty on the board which should have represented a good platform to build from.
Craig then repeated his trick from last week and played on for a well made 32 and then Jay got a good one bringing Partyboy to the crease. However Dave clearly had another party to get to though as he bunted one straight up to mid-on.
Devon Malcolm lookalike Matt then made his way to the crease and found the boundary with some good biff before missing a straight one and skipper was at the other end looking at a collapse that had lost 5 wickets for 40 runs and a rebuild job was needed with Curdridge in real danger of posting a below par total.
Biff coefficient was turned down and the perfect man for the job, ‘Haddock’ Vickery put up the wall at the other end. Steady scoring picking off the bad ball then ensued until Chris was trapped in front and Jon Fields was next man up.
More singles, twos, threes and an all run four meant the pavilion was looking on nervously, as the prospect of stretchering off skippers delicate frame looked like it could become a reality.
Fieldsy then troubled the umpires with a double hit appeal, which was correctly turned down despite the Challengers boys thinking they knew better, a double hit is perfectly legal if you are defending your stumps - great decision Dave.
Skipper then employed jug avoidance and perished trying to push the score on, departing for 49.
Curdridge’s very own Bros tribute band (Messers Punt and Candy), then supported Jon Fields in successfully wagging the tail helping the score on to 191-9.
A good recovery for the home side and the game was in the balance as we tucked into tea.
Del and Matt started their cars, and to wasn’t long (3 balls) before Garfield bowled one of the openers
The other opener was clearly only interested in boundaries as he dispatched the ball to all parts. Traps were set all round the ground and the winner of the lucky ticket was Jay who was faced with a steepling chance. Fortunately for Jay he is blessed with a fine set of moobs, and used these to perfection with the ball nuzzling between them and the star man was gone.
Normal cricket then followed with tight bowling at each end limiting the scoring rate, and wickets falling to Dave, Del and Jay with his off breaks which left the Challengers at 93-5 at drinks and Curdridge were marginally ahead on points.
Another wicket followed for Jay before a partnership grew and whilst skipper rotated the bowling the breakthrough wouldn’t come, and with six overs left, Challengers needed 24 runs and Curdridge were in desperate need of a wicket.
A good piece of fielding by Jay then bought the breakthrough, and followed up the next ball with a wicket, and the game was back in the balance.
Then came the turning point of the match, under pressure the Challengers took a risky two not counting on the bullet arm of Chris Vickery, Return came in right over the stumps and the batsman was stranded two yards out. Well that was what the entire ground saw except the Challengers umpire standing at square leg. Clearly he was watching a different game as he amazingly gave the decision not out.
Curdridge would have to win this the hard way and Jay took another wicket to set up a nail biting finale but Challengers just fell over the line reaching the target with 9 wickets down.
A really disappointing and unjust way to lose a game of cricket, made worse when the Challengers umpire justified his action post game as he was evening up a perceived injustice for the correctly applied double hit law in our innings.
Challengers really should have a look at themselves in the mirror if they want to continue playing cricket in this league, as teams are going to start to refuse playing against them if they resort to these tactics to win games.
Curdridge were the moral victors, but have lost their second nail biter in two weeks, they need to get back on the horse next week away at Emsworth,
Man of the Match: Not many contenders this week, but Jay took 4 wickets, 2 catches and delivered a run out (and avoided a duck) so he wins it.
Champagne Moment: Dave wins this week with a great umpiring decision and keeping his cool in the face of some inflammatory behaviour, good to see mate. (https://www.lords.org/mcc/laws-of-cricket/laws/law-34-hit-the-ball-twice/)
Donut of the Day: Jon ‘Miss’ Fields...