Match 5 – vs ADHOC – 01/07/2012

On a showery Sunday afternoon, Churchleigh took to the field against a team of league cricketers who justifiably “don’t like the atmosphere of league games”. With a suggestion that they might be a tad too strong for our rag-tag bunch of ‘let’s give it a go’ heroes, captain James Webb won the toss and opted to bowl to get the best out of the new ball and the overcast conditions.

Ever-reliable Lee Wilkinson opened the bowling, plugging away with his usual pace, line and length. With Shahid opening from the other end, and (somewhat surprisingly) beginning with a maiden, scoreboard pressure was building on the ADHOC opening pair. From 4 overs, they’d been restricted to just 7. The tight start and the usual lack of mid-wicket for Lee caused the batsman to play across the line and top edge a sprialling catch to Rob Stewart, who took a good tumbling catch running round from square leg. The pressure was relinquished in the last of Shahid’s four overs though, when a mixture of wides and half-trackers resulted in 19 runs off one over, ruining his figures at 4 overs none for 30. To nip this scoring rate increase in the bud, chicken pox sufferer Shiv was brought on but only maintained the run flow with a similar mix of wides and half-trackers going for 17 in his one over spell.

What was a tidy start was quickly spiralling out of control. Asif was brought on for Shiv and proved difficult to get away. With the big-hitting ADHOC number 3 desperate to get off strike with Lee bowling, Lee’s spell extended to 6 overs in an effort to get rid of him. But it just didn’t quite happen. Graham Woolgar was brought on to maintain the control with his wily off-spin, but the number 3 blazed away, with a 6 and a 4 coming off Graham’s first over. At the other end, Asif was doing his best to wrestle back control for Churchleigh with some tight lines as the batsman struggled to score off him. He struck his first blow, removing the opening batsman LBW before rain forced the players temporarily from the field. Upon their return and another few runs of a G Woolgar over, Asif finally removed the danger man, clean bowling him with a beauty. A few overs later, Asif had another, clean bowling the number 5 via an outside edge and suddenly, Churchleigh were back in it. When Joe Woolgar replaced his father for one over before drinks, he removed their number 6 with Shiv somehow taking a skied catch at long on, spiralling his arms around like a windmill with the ball miraculously landing in one of them.

Shortly after drinks, ADHOC were 125 for 5 off 24 overs and Churchleigh were in danger of getting on top. Asif continued through his excellent spell, while the ADHOC number 4 was carefully going about his business and picking up his scoring rate. Unluckily, Asif but couldn’t take another wicket and finished his fantastic spell of 8 overs, 2 maidens, 16 for 3. With Joe looking tired and runs beginning to flow again, Lee was brought on to remove the number 4 who had serenely moved to 50. He did take a wicket, but not they one they wanted as he crashed one into the stumps of their number 7 and finished with an equally impressive 8 overs, 3 maidens 18 for 2. With Shiv having another go at the other end, only to be carted around the park, rain halted the game again, with two 6s coming off his last two balls. With 3 and a half overs to go, the ADHOC captain had to decide between giving his number 4, who was on 81, the chance to go for 100, or declaring and getting on with the game. He declared much to the relief of the Churchleigh bowlers, Joe finishing his 6, one maiden, one for 32 and Shiv, 5.3 overs, none for 54.

James Webb and Graham Woolgar took to the field chasing at total of 192 from 35.3 overs. They began slowly as the opening ADHOC bowler did not err in line or length. In the third over, Graham was bowled by a quick moving ball to depart for 1 and Glenn Hastings walked out on debut. Joining James in hitting the ball straight to the fielders, or picking up singles, he looked assured in his number 3 position. Glenn, who effortlessly creamed a short ball for 6 to the longest boundary over backward square leg, followed by a lofted straight drive for 4, threatened to pick up the run rate, but trying the shot again brought his downfall as he was caught at mid-on for a well compiled 23. Joe Woolgar joined James in the middle, who continued to struggle to get the ball away on the sluggish outfield, and with the consistent bowling attack, was restricted to just singles.

Frustration got the better of James who swiped at another straight one to be bowled for an attritional/frustrating/boring 16. Russell Bamford walked out to join Joe who maintained his form from his only other knock of the season. With Churchleigh struggling, ADHOC’s brought on their patronising ‘let’s make a game of it bowling’ and Rusty duly obliged swatting a slow, waist-high, loopy full toss to the square leg boundary. However, with his eyes lighting up, he managed to slice an off-side swipe straight to cover and departed for only 8. Shiv came in and matched Rusty’s exuberance only to fall for 5, caught off the same loopy bowler. A collapse, much in the Churchleigh tradition, looking likely, Ray Dyal made his way to the middle to calm things down. With the freebie bowling on offer though, Ray cashed in with his trademark lovely legside flicks. With Joe still flaying the bowling, some of the ADHOC fielders were getting worried that they were throwing the game away.

Looking to get the ball away from an occasional leg spinner at the other end, Joe marched down the pitch, missed one and was stumped for 42 which included two monster 6s, one a glorious flat cover drive, and five 4s. Lee Wilkinson stepped out to join Ray but could only watch as the loopy bowler who had dismissed Rusty and Shiv, snared Ray who effortlessly picked out the midwicket fielder to depart for 15. Asif followed two balls later as newest Duck Club recruit, slapping the bowler to deep-ish mid off for 0. Lee continued to make the most of the friendly bowling, pulling the ball with ease to the legside boundary. With time running out and the game gone, Shahid looked to make the most of the friendly bowling too, only to loop a catch back to the loopy bowler on the last ball of his 8 over spell, gifting him a five wicket haul, all of which were catches. Shiahd gone for 1, Churchleigh’s lower order had succumbed to some terrible shots.

Finally, the opening bowler returned and cleaned up Lee for 24 with his third ball to end the misery and leave Churchleigh all out about 50 runs short. That makes it 2-2 this season, with one draw. Not bad.

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