20th August 2011 - Match Reports.
Barnards Green 3rd
XI vs Canon Frome
Calm heads were needed at Newland, but none were available as the Green sank against a considerably improved and much younger Canon Frome side. After a horrible collapse and half a recovery, they fielded poorly, missed several chances to turn the game, and lost by 5 wickets with 20 overs to spare.
Memories of recent batting crumbles were still fresh when the game began, and pre-match clubhouse opinion was divided. Both optimists and pessimists claimed that this week the Green would prove their real batting qualities. Skipper Dick Brown was fit to return after Achilles trouble, but top batsmen Greaves and Thompson were absent, and late call-offs had further unbalanced the squad. To nobody's surprise Brown lost another toss and had to bat on a damp bouncy track. It became clear that the opposition were young and fit, with a decent opening attack, and not at all the same side beaten two months earlier.
Baddeley arrived later than normal – there was some obscure talk of transport and clothing – but he and Chris Hill might as well have opened. Chris Horne boldly stepped up as number 1, and gloved a nasty lifter in Morgan's first over. Jon Lewis also scored a swift 0 at number 3, being good enough to nick Baldwin's seamer. So Baddeley's trousers, worn the wrong way round, made an early appearance. He and Hill made a reasonable fist of the next half hour, but after three useful offside fours Hill received a horrid shooter and would certainly have been LBW if the ball had not continued at low altitude to the stumps. Soon Baddeley found an isolated fielder with a rare leg clip; Alamutu could make no impression and was bowled swishing; Ratcliffe showed some adhesion but was given LBW to Rogers' first ball; Wheeler's sweet pull was sweetly caught at square leg; Cullity looked the part until toppling forward and being unnecessarily stumped; Price took what he thought was a fair risk and, flashing away from his body, found Elkington alert at slip.
After this disaster (98-9) there was an entertaining last-wicket partnership of 55. Brown played his full range of shots, viz. prods and swipes, while Churchill played only prods – until he suddenly uppercut Morgan over slips for four to great applause. Brown was yorked for an impressive 66, and at tea there were again two views. Here at last was redemption – the captain returned – moral fibre restored – even a chance of intelligent play and victory. Or perhaps the pitch was now dry and placid, the Green were old and immobile, and 152 was at least fifty short. Battle resumed.
Hill, using the new ball well, soon had James caught by the temporarily awake Alamutu; but Backhouse was dropped, and Fortnam survived a confident appeal for Wheeler's neat catch. Cullity was struggling with a twisted ankle, and could not keep a strict length, so Backhouse repeatedly punished him with boundaries. Then Cullity (through youth and League rules) and Hill (through age and strained muscles) finished their spells, and as so often Brown looked round for inspiration.
Clive Churchill at once persuaded Backhouse to drive again, and fatally, to Cullity at cover. Dave Price's opening long hop was low and straight, and had Fortnam LBW, so the Green were back in the game. Now for a few overs Canon Frome seemed to be hurrying towards a win or a loss without caring which: there were shots aplenty, further missed catches and run-out opportunities, and two wickets. Evans yorked himself swinging at Price, and Hope was very well caught by Ratcliffe running back at long-on.
Common sense dawned at last on Elkington and Baldwin: they had copious overs in hand, they could wait for the many poor balls, and the batting conditions were constantly improving. The Green, tired and now ragged against an aggressive left/right partnership, began to squabble about field placings. Hill reappeared at the death and suffered one more dropped catch before Lewis's part-time spin was bludgeoned for the winning runs. Canon Frome played in excellent spirit and fully deserved the win.
The Green's season has been see-saw, with
abysmal luck in the toss. The points from three fine July wins keep them
safe – just – from relegation.