Match 2 – vs Bromley IV – 26 May 2012

After only having 7 players on the Wednesday, all hopes of forming a team rested on Russell Bamford who was sure he could scrabble together 11 players. With players dropping out at the last minute and the numbers fluctuating by the hour, Churchleigh managed to get a team of 8, or was it 9? But was it worth it??

Having won the toss, surveyed his players and the scorching sun, James Webb decided to bat first. Upon receiving some upsetting news moments before the kick off, James dropped down the order allowing Adam Bicker to step up to the challenge and open the batting with Ray Dyal. Keen to improve on his performance last week, Adam began tentatively before moving off the mark via an inside edge that just evaded his leg stump. Running through for a single got him going and he looked set to make a real impact on the game. Until he was out LBW a few balls later for 1 to the left arm seamer who got one to pitch in line and straighten.

On debut, James Dawson walked out at the all important number three position and let loose with some ferocious cut shots. A brisk 11 was his reward, but he played one shot too many and was bowled trying to cut one that was too close to his body. His departure made way for the Russell “six-hitter” Bamford to show his new recruits how it is done. Having taken guard, adjusted his cap and glanced around the field, Rusty was ready. What a shame his feet weren’t. Without moving at all, he dangled his bat with limp wrists to a straight one and the ball rolled down his bat and into the stumps for a golden duck. What a come down after his free flowing 50 not out the week before. The fans were stunned into silence… until laughter broke out.

At number 5, Richard Russ, another debutant, began with some swipes, connecting one or two. All the while, Ray Dyal was quietly going about his business and keeping Churchleigh just about above water. Some lovely, whirly flicks through the leg-side were mixed with some solid defence and a lot of patience. Richard finally departed for 4, making way for a further debutant Mark Charlton at number 6. A similar innings and score for Mark followed and soon enough Chruchleigh were 5 down. Clinton Steven was next to join Ray who was running out of partners and so finally let loose with some blistering boundaries. He was finally out LBW for 33 after an absolute gem of an innings, which held the team together and gave the score some sort of respectability.

James W came in to join Clinton at number 8 and knocked a few singles around before Clinton missed a straight one. Having just come along to watch, Ray’s son Phil Dyal was coaxed into playing and having borrowed some whites made his way out to the middle, rolling back the 15 years since he last played, he angled a lovely shot down to third man to become yet another debutant to move past Rusty’s score. A rare moment of controversy then saw James W edge one to slip trying to whack one out of the ground. He asked the fielder whether it was a bump ball, as he had his doubts but the fielder wasn’t sure. He asked their captain whether it was a bump ball and he wasn’t sure either. With no one managing to decide whether they were sure it was out or not, the benefit of the doubt – for some bizarre reason that this unbiased match reporter still can’t understand – went with the fielder. The frustrated skipper begrudgingly left the field as the opposition’s scorer remarked that he had no doubt it was a bump ball. Unphased by his trapped nerve, Allan Turner joined Phil in the middle and played some shots before looping a catch to gully and the innings closing on 84.

Time to defend a low total. What were this team made of? With newcomer James Dawson admitting that he could bowl a bit, he was hurriedly thrown the ball to take the first over. Some great balls came, but a mix of beamers and leg-side wild ones kept wicket-keeper Bamford pretty much constantly airborne. From the other end, Mark bravely stepped up and proved difficult to get away. A couple of chances went down as Phil ‘the Kitten’ Dyal showed he was still learning the trade and was not quite up to his dad’s excellent ‘Cat’ standards by dropping a firm slap off James D’s bowling. At the other end, a quarter chance flew to Allan who pulled out an absolutely astounding diving effort at deepish mid-off but didn’t quite manage to hold on. A few mis-hits looped up in the air, evading fielders as the game quickly got away from Churchleigh.

Mark’s arm had finally taken all it could after 4 solid overs and Ray was introduced to deliver some of his loopy grenades. The trap was set, with cow corner covered and deep square leg waiting expectantly for a chance, but for some inexplicable reason, the opening batsman blocked out a maiden to the absolute dismay of the Churchleigh fielders. At the other end, James D continued to toil away, keeping Rusty busy who mad eup for his batting with some excellent athleticism. James D finished his six overs spell with 0 for 24. Richard came on for a bowl and some more chances sliced off the attacking opener’s bat, just evading fielders.

With the batsmen refusing to have a go at uncle Ray’s bowling, Adam Bicker was brought on to tempt the batsman. His first ball flew to cow corner where James W’s eyes lit up before he realised that it was going way over his head for the game’s first maximum. No more aerial shots followed as James W was kept busy at cow corner with some ground fielding. Bromley drew the scores level and the field came in, only for another mis-hit to just evade mid-on and roll away for 4 and sum up Churchleigh’s day.


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