CURDRIDGE vs FAREHAM II's - 5th June 2021
Curdridge made the short trip to Fareham on Saturday to face a strong side with resources that far outstrip the Reading Room Lane crew,
Preparations had been marred by a late night ‘tea’ drinking session with Curdridge’s very own 'inbetweeners' suffering the effects of a Friday night female recruitment drive.
The comparison is uncanny....
Upon arrival at the ground - the Curdridge lads found the opposition fully engaged in warm ups and an outfield that looked like a square, and a square that resembled a road.
Bat first was the obvious answer so Skipper lost the toss (so consistent), and the Machine was sent out into the field.
It worked last week so the same formula was employed with Dave and Del operating the heavy machinery,
A steady start ensued with no wickets but the batsmen not getting away as the Fareham lads built a solid base
The score had passed fifty without loss so Skipper turned to Plan B with Alex and Jay taking the reins.
Youth was the right formula as Alex snuck one through to send one back, and the followed up the trick a couple of overs later to dismiss the other well set opener.
At drinks the game was in the balance with the score at 76-2.
Curdridge now had some momentum - Sammy tagged in for Alex, and using all of his 57 variations he induced a tough caught and bowled chance that he snaffled.
Jay then worked one through the defences up the hill but the rate was still healthy though as the Fareham lads were trading fine shots, in the face of tight bowling and another fine fielding display from the Machine.
As the innings built to a climax, Dave returned with Luke and three more wickets were delivered to further limit scoring and at close the Fareham score was just about par with 205 the target for victory.
Same as last week with Usman and Luke taking the opening act, and a steady start in the face of some high class bowling kept wickets in the hutch,
Dimmy then just failed to clear the infield looking to provide some acceleration and left the scene with the score 25-1.
There then followed a batting display not seen since the like of Gibson and Ockenden were at the crease (circa 1832) with some top quality shots from both Jay and Usman,
A magnificent partnership was forming that gave the Machine every chance of chasing down the target.
The score had reached 159 (and the partnership 134) before it was ended by a run out - Jay not quite having the legs to get home departing for 66 - perhaps too much tea was taken on board Friday night?
8 an over was the asking rate and Usman marshalled the next few batsman to keep track as all sides were getting edgy with the game clearly approaching a thrilling climax.
More tight bowling and good fielding from Fareham kept the required rate rising but still achievable.
Dave & Jack left the scene sacrificing their swords in the pursuit, and the final over arrived with the ask now a tricky 21 runs to win, and Skipper had joined Usman in the middle.
The first three balls were a carbon copy, Usman smearing the ball towards (but not over) the boundary resulting in scampered two’s, that resulted in Skipper needing a bit of oxygen to get back to his feet after the third dive for the crease.
Try boundaries was the advice, and Usman duly obliged - after four balls the ask was down to 11 off 2.
Wide ball next as the bowler started to feel the pressure, and Curdridge tried to run an extra to the keeper, unfortunately that left Usman just short at the bowlers end and he departed for a spectacular 83.
Ten from two balls was the equation for glory, as Skipper took strike.
Alas it wasn’t to be as two yorkers left the Curdridge lads 9 runs short, and Fareham breathed a sigh of relief.
An epic match with two sides playing a seriously high standard of cricket that was enjoyed by the crowds amassed.
The Machine will hold its head high after another strong performance that on another day would have got the job done,
Man of the Match: Usman take a bow!, a quality knock of 83 from the youngster that so very nearly got us over the line.
Champagne Moment: A fine caught and bowled from Sammy taking a bullet to the chest - and needing to take a standing 8 count afterwards!
Donut of the Day: Limited contenders with another fine all round performance, but the Salmon sets high standards these days so two drops gives him the donuts this week, mmm donuts……
Next week: Another toughie - Home at the Lane, 1pm start vs Hambledon II’s, see you all down there!