SATURDAY XI v KERALA 2nds - 11th August 2017
Cricket finally returned to Reading Room Lane on Saturday following a month long absence caused by a combination of the weather and a bye week. Summer hols had taken its toll on availability and it was a combination of old hands, and some stars of the future that took to the field to face a mid-table Kerala side.
Skipper was looking to give us the best opportunity to secure maximum points by bowling first so it was no surprise when he lost the toss and was asked to have a bat. Two hundred runs was the target then and Nick and Luke were sent out to create the platform,
Steady progress was being made before Luke got one that kept low and had his stumps dismantled, Jack was clearly following the game closely as a few balls later he suffered exactly the same fate, and then David completed the hatrick of ‘bowled’ and Curdridge were wobbling at 30-3.
Skipper made his way to join Mr Experience in the middle and not for the first time this season a rebuilding mission was underway.
The ship was just righting itself until Nick became victim of a dubious decision and was trapped LBW.
Clarkey then played for some extravagant spin and was disappointed to only see a straight one cannon into his off peg and again the innings was wavering with Curdridge in danger of posting a sub par total.
New boy Lewis joined skipper in the middle, and there was no signs of nerves from the debutant as he played a sensible knock taking the singles required to get skipper back on strike.
Recognising that the scoreboard wasn’t going to be defendable on the Curdridge road, skipper switched from ‘block' to ‘biff' and the ball was sent to most parts of the ground as the spinners in particular suffered some damage to their figures.
A fifty was delivered before another low one then ended the attack, and skipper departed with the score at 110-6 and another injection of runs was required from the tail to get Curdridge to a score that was defendable.
Step forward Matty ‘Costa’ Cozens who ‘doesn’t deal in singles’ and a series of lusty blows pushed the score on, reaching 25 in rapid time before he was last man out and Curdridge had scrambled to 140 all out.
Tea done and a fired up Curdridge took to the field recognising that nothing less than a win was required to keep them in the race for promotion.
Del and Dave started up, and it wasn’t long (1 ball) before the first breakthrough came with the opener trapped in front by the Candyman. The Kerala boys however then went on the counter attack and runs came thick and fast as they launched an onslaught on the Curdridge total.
Jack and Del then combined in quick succession with another lightning stumping and a caught behind, but the Kerala batsmen kept attacking and it was soon clear that the only way Curdridge were going to get out to the game with a win was by taking 10 wickets.
Sir Del Candy however has seen this all before, and stuck to his line and length, and the batmen eventually succumbed to the accuracy with two more LBW’s and then a crucial wicket which saw Mike Punt take a tricky catch at point which got us into the tail.
Despite Del taking 7 (seven) wickets in his spell, Kerala were not done and were passed 100 as Cowboy Dimmy and Dan were asked to close the game out.
Fortunately 6 weeks in leather chaps hasn’t affected his accuracy and Luke provided control at one end and 'the finisher’ Dan Clark did what he does best, removing the stumps of the Kerala tail as the visitors finally faltered and finished all out for 110.
A case of winning ugly for Curdridge, but points dropped now means we sit outside of the promotion places with two games to go. The opportunity to go up is still in our hands though, and a trip to Gosport next Saturday is another must win game.
Man of the Match: Del Candy 7-36, well bowled young ‘un
Champagne Moment: It is a roll over with nothing warranting the bubbles this week.