SATURDAY XI vs NETLEY II's - 10th August 2019
You could have got long odds against a game of cricket taking place on Saturday, but the showers were dodged as Curdridge travelled to top of the table Netley for a game that was must win for both sides.
Hurricane Sholing was in full force as the two sides faced off with Netley were looking to consolidate top spot in the table, and Curdridge hoping to muscle their way into the promotion picture.
A last minute reshuffle saw young Sammy join old Sammy in the side, but Curdridge were near full strength with confidence high and the streak standing at 5 wins in a row.
Netley however would prove to be a much tougher test having only lost one game all season.
Bowling first would have been the choice but skipper couldn’t deliver so the Reading Room Lane crew were invited to have a bat.
The housewives favourites (Mike and Mark) took their usual stations at the top of the order, Mark in a real hurry crashing the first two balls of the match to the boundary across a lightening outfield.
Unfortunately their duet was short lived as Punter decided it was the week to leave a straight one.
Jay with one eye working then made his way to the crease and made a solid start before he got a good one, Mark also succumbed, caught just inside the rope and Jack didn’t come off and all of a sudden Curdridge were rocking at 42-4.
Dave, fresh from a night on the town and skipper (rarely fresh these days) then had to consolidate and reigned in the natural biff, to ensure the innings went the full 40 overs.
A decent partnership had reached 70 before Dave patted one back to the bowler for a patient 46.
Skipper continued to nurdle until it was time to press the accelerator, however the first attempt at pushing the rate ended in failure and Alan was left with the score sitting at a below par 132 with 8 overs left.
The Salmon obviously had a few Weetabix on board as Alan went into beast mode smearing the bowling to all parts, helped by Tav (standard swept six into the leg side), Sam and Rob, as the last few overs were fruitful and the innings closed at 185-8,
The star was the Salmon and once Alan had taken on enough oxygen he was able to join his team mates to tuck into tea, with what was a par score on the board.
Skipper chose to go with ‘wheels’ to start and Tav and Dave started their respective cars
It didn’t go to plan though with Tav’s first over disappearing for 10 runs and no wickets at either end for the first 12 overs as Netley made a very comfortable start.
Jay swapped in for Dave but was equally frustrated with a couple of difficult catches spurned in the wind, and the game was drifting away from the Machine.
However Curdridge’s fielding is at a higher level these days, and the first opening once again came via a run out, with a Tav to Keogh relay that is becoming a regular wicket taking method.
One end open, but Jay and Sammy were struggling to make any headway and the Netley boys comfortably made their way to 81 for one.
Eventually Sammy found a way to dismiss the obstinate opener, and Rob dispatched the number four as Curdridge tried to claw their way back into the game.
This brought old friend Matty to the crease, and he clearly was a man on a mission as he took a early liking to Rob’s leg breaks.
With the score racing past 100 and still 15 overs left skipper chose to gamble and bring back Dave and Tav.
The wicket didn’t come but the run rate was checked and Rob then returned and picked up another victim as the batsmen looked to push on.
Skipper then took a tricky one to give Sammy another wicket bringing the opposition skipper to the crease to join Matty who was continuing to find the boundary at will.
With two experienced batsmen at the crease the run rate was well above what was required and the game was now drifting away from Curdridge.
Dave was summoned to bowl for the third time as Skipper juggled his options, and Tav also came back with the Machine well into last chance saloon territory.
Tav then found a beauty to trap Matty LBW for a rapid 48, with Netley requiring 60 runs from the last 10 overs.
Their Skipper was still pushing on, but more excellent fielding from the Curdridge lads kept the pressure on and the ‘in’ batsman was trapped short of his ground for a second run out.
For the first time in the match Curdridge sensed that they were in with a real chance, however the front line bowling options had been exhausted so it was time to get creative.
Rob still has some overs up his sleeve and he continued to wheel away at the top end limiting the scoring opportunities and the lower order wickets kept falling to keep the game in the balance.
As it came down to the embers of the game, 24 of three overs was the ask, and with only 4 taken from Rob’s penultimate this left Netley needed 20 off 2, but with only one wicket remaining.
With the game on the line Punter put his hand up to bowl the next, and repaid the Skippers faith by bowling a wide first ball.
He was just building the tension though as two balls later he delivered the last wicket and Curdridge had won a thriller.
A massive win in so many ways, and another great all-round performance but must importantly it launches Curdridge into the promotion picture, with everything to play for as we reach the season climax.
Next week IBM visit fortress Reading Room Lane - 1pm start in another must win game for the Machine
Man of the Match: Alan built on a solid platform to ensure we reached a par score when the innings was creaking - good biffing!
Champagne Moment: Tav trapping a well set Matty in front and following it up with a ‘full beans’ send off which even got Tav Senior a little excited on the sidelines
Donut of the Day: Definitely Del this week!