Match 17 vs Woodside Green

Churchleigh took to the field, fresh from the confidence-boosting batting collapse of the week before and put in one of the most dominant displays in recent history. Batting and bowling was of high class throughout and Woodside Green had no answer to the skill, guile and temperament of the Churchleigh stars. Yes, it is true!

Brimming from the confidence of a batting collapse in the last game, captain Jon Woolgar won the toss and opted for a bat. James Webb and Ray Dyal opened the innings and James set the tone from the first ball, whipping it off his hips for four. That was all to shout about for the first few overs though as it proved very difficult to play. Length balls shot through at over head high and James weaved and ducked his way through the opening exchanges. Ray, patient throughout, held his nerve despite not scoring for 6 or 7 overs. Eventually, the openers who were finding something ff the pitch finished and James took the opportunity to hit out, but only managed to find the hands of cover.

Joe Woolgar stepped out to join the calm Ray who was picking off his runs. Following a few fluent, Joe-esque, boundaries, one bounced slowly off the pitch and Joe unfortunately played it early and lobbed an easy catch to short cover. That brought Rusty Bamford to the crease with the pressure with Churchleigh 75 for 2. This wasn’t his day though as he didn’t do much to push the total onwards, managing to drag a slow, loopy ball onto his stumps as Rusty “Colonel Tushifinger” ( Bamford became the next in-duck-tee (thanks to Rusty for the pun) to the Duck Club. Those with a love for puns may enjoy Rusty’s alternative new nickname “DuckHunt”.

Outstepped Billy Lordan to join Ray and their two styles complemented each other well as Billy creamed two or three beautiful straight drives, as Ray, having guided Churchleigh through the difficult spell, proceeded to cash in. After smashing one over mid-wicket for 6, he eventually lost his cool and yorked himself on 45. With runs flowing off Billy’s bat in a masterclass of hitting, Adam “Waddle” Bicker walked out looking like he wasn’t interested in scoring any runs. Eventually, he managed to steal a single and didn’t look back, even stroking one boundary. He was no match for Billy though, who clobbered his way to fifty, putting to the sword the bowlers who had somehow dismissed Rusty for nought! The Colonel wasn’t overly distressed though (!) and cheered each of his teammate’s nine 4s and three 6s as Billy marched onto 66. It was then that Billy walked past a slow spinning (?) ball and was stumped.

Jon then joined Adam and started taking the easy runs on offer, Adam happy to give the strike to his skipper. A succession of boundaries took Churchleigh past 200 and in the last over, Adam sacrificed his wicket to give Jon the strike. He didn’t really have much choice though and Jon muttered a feeble “Sorry Adam”. With three balls left, a 4 and a 1 left Alun Phillips with one ball to go and he drove one through the covers to take a single and end on 1 not out, with Jon ending unbeaten on 26. Churchleigh finished on a season’s best 225 for 7.

With such a huge total to defend, Churchleigh’s strong bowling line up would have been confident. Alun Phillips started proceedings and was on the money straight away. After his batting heroics, Billy “Second Ball” Lordan took the second over and clean bowled the opener with a beauty. Alun, keen to get involved, offered the number 3 a leg stump full toss only for him to pick out Adam “Run Machine” Bicker at square leg. Not long after, Alun had his second as he knocked back the stumps of the remaining opener. Not wanting to be outdone, Billy soon dismissed the free-hitting left handed number 4, as Jon Woolgar took a swooping, diving catch at gully. All of a sudden Churchleigh were rampant.

With the score 40 something for 4 after 12, Jon “First Ball” Woolgar brought himself on to replace Alun who finished with 2 for 22 of his 6. Jon immediately made an impact, knocking back the stumps. Billy bowled through his 8 overs before getting his well-deserved rest in the slips and finished with 2 for 25 off 8. But it was really the Jon Woolgar show from here on in.

He rattled through the Woodside Green lower order with sharp turn and bounce, utilising the Greatpark square with skill and precision. There was only one real show of defiance as the opposition captain lofted Jon back over his head for 6, but Jon kept flighting it and foxing all who faced him. From the other end, Shiv bowled with aggression, and edge not going to hand and a looping defensive shot not going to hand. Having clean bowled one, he then got one to bounce off a length and it deflected off the glove and looped up to brother Joe behind the stumps to take a simple chance. Woolgar Woolgar! Another clean bowled was followed by yet another to give Jon his 5-for.

With the sun setting, Jon was in full control as he trapped the number 11 in front LBW to end with remarkable figures of 6 for 12 from his 6 overs. He led his team off to rapturous applause as Churchleigh dismissed Woodside Green for 72 and won by a colossal 153 runs. The season tally goes to 5 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats.

Oh, and Rusty got a duck.

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