Match 19 vs Trinity Oxley

With the rain pelting down, our Churchleigh CC heroes arrived at the ‘Cricket for Change’ ground in Wallington with a hope that the afternoon would be spent in a more exciting way than simply watching the rain from the pavilion. As the persistent rain became more of a light drizzle, the covers were removed (!) and the stumps erected. Although some purists don’t enjoy T20, the most ardent lover of the longer form of the game would have been hard-pushed not to enjoy the delights on offer as the sun burst through the clouds that afternoon and shone down on mediocrity.

Having lost the toss, stand-in captain James Webb marched out with Belly Lordan to see how the wet pitch would play. The first ball picked up pace of the surface and didn’t bode well for the seemingly forever out of touch James. A couple of singles of the first over wasn’t the ideal start for a T20 game, but Billy got things going with one or two lusty blows from the other opening bowler, incuding one well-placed edge inbetween the wicketkeeper and slip for 4. James defied all T20 convention by seeing off a maiden in the third over, arguing that the bowler just “bowled well”, before Billy kept the scoreboard ticking over at the other end. Finally the shackles appeared to loosen as James cut one through square with authority. After beginning with something of a struggle, he continued to struggle as he insisted on giving Billy as much strike as he could.

Billy edged another one through the slips before his frustrated opening partner finally hit one off the middle, only to drill it straight to mid-off who fortunately made a mess of it. With the opening bowler seen off, it was a chance to let rip. Some very good running, despite the slippery conditions ticked the scoreboard along nicely, if not like lightning. At the half-way stage, Churchleigh were well placed at 54 for 0, but with plenty of work to do. Billy continued his dominance, while James finally got a few boundaries himself, calmly walking down the wicket and swatting a pull over square leg before apparently line-dancing as the bowler ran up only to drill it pack past him for 4 to long on. Billy looked imperious as he didn’t mess around at the crease, simply carved the ball to all parts; 4s over mid-wicket were a feature, which a succession of back-foot drives complemented.

A superbly timed flick off his pads for 4, saw Billy reach 50 and the score go past 100. More good running and an increasingly aggressive batting display saw the run rate steadily move up. James seemed happy to get anything in the way so as to give Billy the strike and collected a large number of singles and leg-byes as Billy looked imperious. After such good running, a slip while turning for 2 led to Billy’s dismissal as he was run out for 80 with only 7 balls left in the innings. The opening pair had put on 142, with 88 coming from 9 overs.

Finally, Rusty Bamford emerged from the sidelines, eager to make his mark on the match after a long wait padded up. A well-presented forward defensive with a perfect straight bat saw out the 19th over. With 6 balls to go, James continued to try and belt everything, but second ball, he inside-edged it onto his pad and turned to watch the ball roll back and hit his leg stump. The bail somehow stayed on, but the wicketkeeper was more alert and stumped James who hadn’t quite managed to place his bat down. Joe Woolgar came in with four balls to go, and concentrated on some legside hitting. A 4 and two 2s saw the score reach 150 for 2 at the close of innings.

Alun Phillips was trusted with the first over and had difficulty finding his line. A few edges flying down to third man for 4 highlighted the problems with being a man down in the field. Jon “First Ball” Woolgar’s first over was far more fortuitous though as he trapped the opening batsman in front for 3 with his first ball – described by Rusty as his straight-er on-er. Only a few balls later, he had his second wicket as the number 3 guided a cut straight to the ample chest of Billy at gully who clung on with assistance from his armpit. From the other end, two more streaky boundaries kept Trinity Oxley up with the run rate. Jon’s second over was another wicket taking one as he snared the big hitting number 4 who became Trinity’s second duck as he moved back and across and was hit plumb in front. 23 for 3 was the perfect start.

Runs began to flow though as the number 5 hit with power through the off side and the opening batsman continued to find the gaps down at third man. Jon began to lose control as his lack of sleep following a night-shift began to take its toll. Alun bowled one or two excellent deliveries, but it wasn’t his day as he finished his 4 overs with 0 for 32. Jon, rattled through his last over and ended with 3 for 19. Ian Ashby came on to replace Alun and bagen things with a maiden, making James feel slightly better about playing one out himself earlier in the day. It could have been even better as an edge flciked Joe’s glove, but didn’t quite carry to Billy “Slip Cordan” Lordan. Allan Turner kept spin going from the other end, although going for a few, Trinity couldn’t keep up with the run rate.

Eventually, the openers luck ran out on 29 as he marched down the wicket, had a swipe, only for the ball to go past and knock his stumps over. Allan finished his two overs for 17 as Billy returned to the action. His first over went for 6 before Ian finished a fine spell of 1 for 19. Billy then took his first wicket as, with quick runs needed, a heave across the line caught the toe of the bat and carried comfortably to Joe behind the stumps. After a very contentious wide was given, Billy used his extar ball very well, knocking back the stumps. Ray Dyal came on to have a bowl, keen to dismiss the number 5 who was clouting the ball to all parts and had taken his team past 100. A straight drive to long-on just cleared Ian’s head as the first 6 of the day was struck. Unaffected, the experienced Ray knocked back the stumps of the other batsman to howls of “The Cat strikes” from his teammates.

With runs needed, the number 5 continued to play aggressively, but couldn’t get bat on Billy’s wonderful line and length. When Billy’s line varied though, a leg-side flick was half-stopped by Joe and James ran round from third man to intercept and ping a throw in, which Joe coolly collected before running out the number 5 for who was returning for his second which would have given him 50. Billy completed his third over with figures of 2 for 11, which really strangled the Trinity chase. As Trinity were a man down through injury, there was only one wicket remaining. The opposition captain advanced down the track, missed a leg-side “dart”, slipped and Joe completed the stumping with a slip and a slide of his own. Trinity had been bowled out for 112 inside 19 overs with Ray finishing with 2 for 10 from his 8 action-packed balls.

Churchleigh had won by 38 runs in a dominant display. The season tally of wins continues to amaze and impress, with Churchleigh now having won 6 and only lost 3. Good times indeed for the Churchleigh faithful.

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