SATURDAY XI v FAREHAM 3rds - 24th June 2017
The table-toppers took the short trip to Fareham to face one of the sides hot on their tail in the hunt for promotion. Skipper was short of last weeks centurion as David was making his annual pilgrimage to try and win back his Mr Spandex UK title. Further changes were required as both Hilliers were busy Morris Dancing, so in came the experience of Dan Clark, Jon Fields and Tav Senior to give us a bit more pace in the field and ‘biff' in the middle order.
Skipper won another important toss on a green looking wicket, and with the sea mist in the air the home side was asked to have a bat. This decision was taken despite the fact that he only had 8 players as Postman Jack had been cornered by a Poodle called Princess during his round, and Jon Edwards had lost his car keys in someones fruit bowl, which necessitated a last minute taxi from Chris Vickery.
Del and Jon E started up and it took exactly one ball before Del had sent the opener back, keeper Bollard taking a sharp catch off the bottom edge. Number 3 fared no better being trapped in front by Jon a few balls later and Curdridge were immediately on top.
A short partnership then showed some promise before Del bowled the other opener, and had the number 4 batsman caught by Dan in the covers.
This bought Fareham’s larger than life character to the crease, who is always a threat if he gets going. The tight bowling however limited him to ‘quickish’ singles, one of which bought about a heavyweight clash that created a set of tremors, felt across Hampshire, as our very own Bollard went belly to belly with the big man, with the result being a 1-1 draw, as both men remained standing, if a little wobbly.
Perhaps the clash scrambled the big lads circuits as his stumps were soon re-arranged by a Del boy special, which bought relief in particular to the skipper who had dropped him in the slips two balls earlier. The next batsmen was then intent on pulling Del boy off his middle stump, a tactic that lasted exactly three balls before the inevitable LBW decision arrived and Del boy had yet another 5 wicket haul.
Jon then re-arranged the stumps at the other end, and the opposition were in disarray with 7 wickets down and less than fifty on the board.
Next up was the weekly injury to Jon Edwards with the achillies being the chosen body part to give way, and Mike Punt was bought on to complete the over. He was soon on the scoresheet with possibly the worst delivery ever that has got a wicket, with the batsmen contriving to spiral a shocker of a ball into the air, and skipper managed to pouch it.
At 55-8 Curdridge were eyeing up an early finish, but the next breakthrough was not forthcoming, as skipper tried several different bowling options to try and induce a wicket, but a combination of sensible batting and dropped catches let a partnership grow and the scoreboard ticked on. It took until the last over of the innings before eventually a run out did the trick and the innings finished on an unexpected 152-9, a good recovery for the home side, but realistically a below par total.
Tea taken, the ‘Dan’ show started up with Tav and Clarkey taking out their frustrations on the opening bowlers, and a run rate of 10 an over for the first few overs meant the scoreboard had got to 49 before Dan C missed a straight one.
Jack joined Tav in the middle and played some nice shots before he departed as Curdridge raced past the halfway point of their target. Tav continued to punish the bowling and made his way to 44 before being trapped playing back (for a change) and the visitors were within 60 runs of their goal.
Skipper then continued the Biffathon with a rapid 26 before Clubber Bollard finished the job with a 6,6,6 finish that saw Curdridge over the line with over 18 overs left.
A crushing victory but it could have been a lot easier had Curdridge been more clinical, and on another day it could have come back to bite them.
This all said the streak is now sitting at six wins in a row, and the machine enjoys yet another week at the top of table.
Man of the Match: Del with another bowling masterclass, 5-22, well bowled young man!
Champagne Moment: Clubber’s 6,6,6 finish summed up the day quite well!
Next Week: Another tough game, away vs Lock’s Heath, 2pm start at Royal Victoria Country Park.