SATURDAY XI v Langley Manor III's - 6th July 2019
It has been a unique week with Skipper able to select an unchanged side for the first time in living memory as Curdridge welcomed Langley Manor to Reading Room Lane.
As ever the pitch looked like a batsman’s paradise, the sun was beating down and not a cloud in the sky meant that bat first was the obvious option.
Skipper, buoyed after last weeks success, confidently tossed the coin and when the oppo called wrong, Skipper elected to bat and sauntered back to the pavilion with his day’s work done.
Everyones favourite peanut snack, Mark & Mike opened up, with Mark kindly sporting a white cap to allow the scorers to tell the identical twins apart.
Last week was slow and steady, but this week the biff coefficient was dialled up by the opening pair, supported by some generous helpings of no-balls and wides as M&M built a strong opening partnership.
Drinks was reached 15 overs in, and the scoreboard was already showing a healthy 54 runs.
Mike succumbed soon after the break for a well made 23 bringing Officer Block to the crease.
Jay however had been inspired by the opening pair and showed attacking flair as he and Mark pushed the score past 100 with only 1 wicket down.
Mark was eventually trapped in front for a solid 34 and Jay followed soon after with 37 rapid(ish) runs to his name.
By now the heavy artillery in the shed was itching to get to the middle, with 12 overs remaining and a big total was on the cards.
Dave fell trying to push the rate up, and Jack missed a straight full toss, leaving Skipper and Salmon to keep the pedal to the floor.
Alan got a good one before Tav and Skipper combined to try and get the Machine past 200.
A bit of smashee smashee and a lot of running then followed, and by the time the innings had closed the scoreboard read a healthy 208.
Tea done and Curdridge took to the field looking to make early inroads.
Progress was slow though, with the Langley openers blunting Del’s box of tricks and taking a liking to Tav’s medium pace, as they built a strong opening partnership.
Dave was called upon, a few pounds lighter following the removal of one of his body parts, and got up to top speed sending down some heat at the opening pair.
The breakthrough came in unfortunate circumstances as Dave caught one of the openers on the elbow forcing him to retire hurt.
Number three played a shot a ball, but only lasted 4 as Dave cleaned him up, and Curdridge had one end open.
Del capitalised with the number 4 playing round a straight one, before sidling off into the outfield with tidy figures of 1-7 of his 8 overs.
Sammy then got involved with his twirlers proving too much for the middle order as he took two quick wickets and Dave collected another and Curdridge were looking forward to an early finish with the scoreboard at 63-5, andwith another batsman incapacitated, only 4 wickets were needed.
Some things however don’t always go to plan, as Langley’s larger than life character strode to the crease.
He took an instant liking to the Curdridge slower bowling, heaving Rob and Sammy to the rope at will and plundering runs at an alarming rate.
Five overs later and the scoreboard was showing 120-5 and the Langley boys were suddenly looking favourite.
Drinks came at a good time for Curdridge as the brains trust got together and cobbled together a cunning plan.
Switching Jay to the end with the long boundary down to the groundsman shed, and bringing Tav pack on at the Car park end curbed the scoring rate and eventually he went for one too many heaves and Jay rearranged his poles.
The big lad departed for a well made 55.
The tail then followed with Jay wrapping it up in quick time finishing with 4-23 and Curdridge breathed a sigh of relief at one that could have got away.
Three in a row for the machine and full points for the week, means the skipper takes his mid-season break safe in the knowledge that the ship is in good hands, with enough points to avoid relegation and eyes are now drifting upwards towards the promotion places.
Next week sees a trip to Compton and Chandlers Ford, with the Machine looking to keep pace with the leagues top sides.
Man of the Match: 37 runs and 4-23 means Jay is a clear winner this week.
Champagne Moment: Tav is the unlikely winner this week, with a 6 heaved through leg (for a change) that landed the other side of St Peter’s brook and in the process took the total through 200 for full batting points.
Donut of the Day: Not a lot of contenders today, with a fine all-round performance, but Jack wins it for the combined effort of missing a slow looping full toss, and behind the sticks, almost losing the ball when it went straight up, which would have hit him squarely on the crown of his head had his teammates not pointed out where it was.