29th August 2009 - Match Reports.
|BGCC 2nd XI vs Astwood Bank||Barnards Green IVs vs Tenbury Wells 2nds.|
Barnards Green Second Eleven went into the Bank Holiday weekend facing a tough schedule of fellow title contenders Astwood Bank on the Saturday and relegation candidates Hagley on the Monday.
On a sun drenched North End Lane home skipper Doughty one another coin toss and invited the visiting Astwood side to bat on a flat looking wicket which was centrally placed on an immaculate looking outfield. The home side bowled well early on through Spencer (6-0-28-0) and Clack (7-1-30-0) but because of the super-fast outfield defensive pushes were flying to the boundary and the run rate soared. The introduction of Brookes (16-2-57-5), bowling slightly slower than usual and Hooper (9-2-30-4) took the pace off the ball and out of the innings – Astwood collapsing from 56-0 to 171 all out in rapid time. Tight fielding, creating pressure as well as short, sharp bursts of intelligent bowling from Scullion (7-0-24-0) and Drinkwater (1-0-1-0) helped demolish the visitors’ batting line-up.
In reply the opening pair of Doughty and Yorke made a conscious decision to go after the opening bowlers and, after a flurry of boundaries, Doughty (26 – 6 fours) and Yorke (21 off 22 balls – 4 fours) both perished to good deliveries with the score on 61 and 66 respectively. With the initial impetus having been stolen away from the Green Greaves (28 off 50) and Clack (33 off 50) did a sound job of rebuilding the innings after Dean (0) and Drinkwater (4) fell victims to a resurgent Astwood Bank. With the game in the balance Greaves and Clack both perished leaving the bowling heroes of Brookes (15 off 42) and Hooper (19 off 52) to make-do and mend the innings before finishing things off with a succession of boundaries.
This was a tough, must-win game and the Green, through hard work and sound application of their skills won, with 20 points gained leaving them 12 clear at the top with two games to go.
Leading up to this vital match at the top of division four south Dick Brown, knowing that only a 24 point win would assure his team of the title, again had selection problems. Having only two seam bowlers at his disposal he refused to play any players from the higher teams, preferring to entrust his fate to those who had been with him throughout the campaign.
Dick’s first hard choice was taken away from him when Tenbury Wells won the toss and decided to field.
For The Green the previous week’s opening pair of Julian Hall and Graham Baddeley found scoring easy at first as Tenbury’s seam attack struggled with line and length and The Green looked comfortably in control as they cruised to 83 in the 18th over before Hall (28) was dismissed by A Edwards. Dominic Horne was promoted to number three in an effort to maintain the run-rate and he and Baddeley took the total to 116 before Baddeley fell caught and bowled to Giles. Two overs later Horne was also back in the shed leaving the ever-improving Elliot Hennessy and the ever-decling Dick Brown at the crease. This pair took the score briskly onto 173 with Skipper Brown (38) being particulary harsh on anything short or over-pitched. Hennessy played the supporting role but still managed a fine 24 runs before both men were dismissed in consecutive overs.
With just 7 overs left and plenty of batting left Dick was confident of a score in excess of 230 but a series of rash strokes, poor shots and some aggressive bowling from Yarranton (snr) saw The Green collapse to finish on 209 for 9 at the end of their allotted overs with Chris Horne in an unfamiliar number 7 slot being unbeaten on 16 and Steve Hunt, needing to get changed hurriedly, on 2.
After another much anticpated and delicious tea, such as the fourths have become renowned for, Dick led his players to the pitch for a simple team-talk. The only instruction was to “bowl them out”.
Ryan Scullion, having got off an aeroplane just a few hours earlier, bowled a series of wide and short balls at the Taylor brothers who took full advantage. Hennessy at the other end bowled with more control whilst, at times, lacking his usual self-confidence.
With no wickets taken and no seam alternative Baddeley and Price were asked to slow the run rate as Tenbury started to pile on the runs. In the 17th over I Taylor got the faintest of edges to keeper Glendenning and sportingly walked, giving Baddeley his only wicket of the game and when Baddeley caught the other brother off the bowling of Price The Green felt suddenly back in with a chance.
Tenbury had other ideas and, took the attack to The Green, dispatching the ball to all parts.
Dick Brown brought Steve Hunt into the attack and set a field for catching. Steve answered his skipper’s call and with The Green’s fielding, (up until this point distinctly average), now improving, Dom Horne, Matt Wren and Graham Baddeley all held on to difficult chances off Hunt's bowling.
Ryan Scullion, well rested, came back for a second spell and inevitably picked up 2 wickets at the death but despite their best efforts with Tenbury some 20 runs short and just 7 wickets down The Green had to settle for a winning draw.
So, anticipating that their top of the table rivals Canon Frome would beat Ross-on Wye, the players retired to the bar to celebrate becoming runners-up in a season which had seen a succession of youngsters introduced to senior cricket. With the players in “end-of-season” mode, several alcoholic drinks being consumed and his ageing Captain tucked up in bed, Chris Horne decided to to hook his Blackberry up to the Internet.
What’s this?…… news from Canon Frome!…….Ross have won!…. Could this be true? Surely the Blackberry must be wrong! More confirmation is required!
Things must be checked!
A sea of mobile phones appear and the play-cricket website goes into meltdown as results are checked.
Then suddenly word spreads. Ross have won!
The Green fourths are the champions.
Someone needs to get Dickus out of bed!