Bentworth 182/6, Overton II 183/7
And so, the End is Near as the opening line goes from one of the many joyous odes from the late, great Sex Pistols (amongst others). However BCC decided this was the time to try and change the tune with an urgently needed late win, which, if the planets aligned and a few results went our way, could yet stave off relegation.
The ides were good. Bentworth’s ground looked magnificent, the sun at last remembering its role in an English summer, a decent XI assembled to complete a full house for the season and even a fan. Yes, hats off to our magnificent supporter who had travelled from Hereford to watch us play at a ground he had once graced with his skills. A sprightly 75 year old, he even said he’d be up for a game if he was still a local. To cap it all skip won the toss and chose to bat on the basis that we needed to wring every last point out of the game.
James H and Doc strode to the wicket to face some steady and accurate swing bowling on a good but perhaps slightly helpful surface. Sadly having just got himself in James got a leading edge to be well caught leaving us c 10/1. Chairman Hill joined Doc and steadily the score rose through the first batting point and as the next one approached Hill senior was found in two minds and no mans land to be beaten by a very straight delivery which continued to rattle his poles for 34. At this stage some inspired captaincy decided to give “scrapper” Old Ben a chance up the order having shown great promise in previous knocks. Whilst no-one really knows what guard OB takes as he asks for so many, the lad did not disappoint and between them he and Doc added 56 runs before Doc fell having at last passed a well deserved half century. Skipper Nick chipped a leading edge second ball, leaving Trevor to partner OB in the middle order. After a well crafted and on occasions beefy innings, including one lost ball smite, OB eventually fell for 47. Still the base was there for the target 200 and maximum batting points. Some good hits from Trev and Dave however, and judicious use of the newly invented T20 glove to nose shot from Jezza, were sadly not enough for us to ascend this Everest in the face of continued accurate bowling, with the B’s eventually closing our account on 182/6.
Defendable as long as we didn’t overdo the teas which again were in fine order courtesy of New Jezza and the crew from the Sun.
Out we strode to see if we could defend the total and Ken (3/25 off 10) and Amin opened up with a nice line and length to keep O2’s behind the run rate. Cruel fate, you play with us. Nick (1/43) came on and bowled with good pace to continue to restrict the run rate and Doc (2/41) bowled a tidy spell of cutters as the run rate continued to climb and O2 wickets fell reasonably regularly. HB bowled a nice spell but as has happened so often spilled chances came back to haunt us as a couple of their batters got going and launched long and hard. So it came down to 2 overs to go and 12 runs needed for O2ers or 3 wickets for the B’s. Chair was asked to bowl the first of these and the very gentlemanly O2ers only managed 4 but as our excellent keeper Mr Harding mentioned, he got away with some filth. Scrapper was elected to bowl the last over and started with a friendly offie that was so friendly it went offie the fieldy to join the horses in the adjacent meadow. 2 needed and 5 balls to go. Beserker Mackrell decided enough was enough so resorted to the full run up and bowled 3 dot balls, all deserving a wicket. A scrambled leg bye and a straight drive for a leisurely single saw O2 home off the last ball.
And so the season ended. Another great and exciting game, cricket the winner and B’s off to NE II to regroup and no doubt bounce back.
As the sun set on us we headed off for beers, BBQ and Fire in Babylon on the outdoor screen to build our resolve and waste-lines for the winter months.
So, congratulations to skipper Nick who has been a fantastic leader in his first season in charge, ably supported by the Doc, and who have the making of a pair not unlike Brearley and Botham. You can chose which one is which of course!
And finally thanks must go to Angie for keeping both the books, and the scorebook so beautifully, and also to Pete and Max, without whom, none of this would be possible. We are indebted to you all!