CURDRIDGE vs HYTHE II's - 6th August 2022
Another Saturday, another hot one, and a trip to the seaside for the Curdridge lads as we made the trek to Hythe to face a team parked firmly in mid-table.
The Machine was missing a couple, Del Candy was away watching his racehorse - ‘Gosport Swinger', and Jack had chosen to prioritise his lady over cricket - Madness!
In to the side came Dan C and Dom returned with a silver medal from Mr Topiary UK for his neatly trimmed bush.
A flat track, blue skies and baking heat meant bat first was the sensible option, and Skipper duly obliged and prepared to put his feet up until he realised he had no openers so the pads were hastily strapped on and he joined Dom first up.
A decent start followed and the score had reached 32 before Skipper smashed one straight at a fielder.
Dom followed Skipper’s lead a couple of overs later and we were two down early doors.
Alan and Craig then moved the rate along until the Bollard sent one skywards.
Now this week there will be some investigations into links to illegal betting syndicates, as uncannily both Craig and Gary decided to shoulder arms to straight balls.
Dave though had clearly not been 'got to' by the bookmakers as he decided he would go on the counter attack.
Ably supported by Dan Clark, the pair took a shining to the opposition bowling and dispatched it to all parts, Dave in particular (despite his bad back) regularly stopping traffic with some big hits into the road.
Dan succumbed for a well made 37 but he partnership had amassed 128 and Dave was closing in on a ton - but would his poorly back hold out?
Pink pills were called for, and all was right with the world as Dave passed three figures with a stellar knock - well batted mate.
Mark and Rob then played supporting cast as the closing overs were a continuation of the whack-athon with Dave eventually holing out in the last over for a superb 119.
The score was 235 for 6 which was just about par on a small and fast outfield.
Tea done and Dave broken, so Dan and James opened up but the batsmen made a fast start taking advantage of the conditions to race past 50 without loss.
Sammy was turned to, and it took him 6 balls before he tempted the opener into a false shot and Gary just about made the 2 metre sprint to hold the catch.
Two overs later and Sammy got the free scoring left hander with an unplayable delivery that pitched, rolled and clattered into the base of middle.
Skipper then gave James A the - 'one more over and then you are coming off’ message, which sparked him into life as he made it a double wicket maiden with the next batsmen unable to cope with the swing.
Two more wickets followed from James in his next over to make it 4 victims in 10 balls, and the Hythe middle order had been ripped apart with the score moving from 60-1 to 60-6 in a Curdridge-esque fashion.
However, Curdridge have learnt the lesson on more than one occasion this season that the teams in this league often have decent batsmen hidden down the order, and it was a familiar story Saturday.
The Hythe lads dug in and put on a fifty partnership that had them ahead of the rate and well on course for victory as they moved the score onto 120.
Mark has seen it all before though, and ripped one through to get the breakthrough, and it became clear that one batsman was going to stand between the Machine and victory.
A game of give him one and bowl at the other end ensued but without much success, until Mark tempted the well set bat to send one skywards (a mile high and falling between Sammy and Skipper on the boundary)
Cool as the shades he was wearing, and despite 17 stone of Skipper trundling towards him, Sammy pouched the catch, he even threw in a juggle to show off to the crowd.
With the main bat gone, Dave made a miraculous recovery from his bad back that had previously rendered him unable to stand, and decided he fancied a bowl down the hill at the tail-enders.
Two wickets for the centurion was an apt way to finish the game as Hythe were all out for 166 and full points were stashed away on the bus home.
Next week - Another big one, home vs Portsmouth
Man of the Match - An obvious one this week, Dave gets the plaudits for a cracking 119
Champagne Moment - Sammy with the bubbles for his excellent grab on the boundary
Donut of the Day - Mr Rodgers this week, shouldering arms second ball to a straight one
And a novelty for you this week - the game was broadcast live to millions so if you have 7 and a half hours spare you can watch it here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flYWaaoXTeE