Saxton 'A' v Meanwood 'A'
Saturday 24th June 2017, Match Report by David Smith
Saxton won a dramatic game with eight wickets down and four balls to spare when Phil Chaston drove the first two balls of the last over for a four and six to overtake Meanwood’s score of 202-9 (all out). Saxton finished on 203-8, with opening bat David Smith
scoring 98 and useful contributions from David Walmsley
(23), Dave Buck (21) and Kevin Briggs
Victory looked unlikely with seven balls left and 15 runs to get. Phil was batting number 10 due to a savage groin strain which had prevented him bowling. Somewhat heroically, he had stood in for Nigel as wicketkeeper and made the groin strain worse by diving to stop Oliver Moxon
But Saxton had some good fortune near the end of the game. Both opening bowlers were out of action and the last two overs were delivered by part-timers. In the penultimate over the last delivery went for five wides (somewhat controversially...), leaving 10 to win off six balls. Cometh the hour cometh the one-legged man.... Two long hops produced a four and then an enormous six from Phil and Saxton had won.
Earlier, Meanwood had put on 202-9 thanks to an excellent 58 from opening bat David Gill, who was eventually dismissed lbw by one of Jalandhar Veerepalli
’s non-bouncing bouncers. The best bowling came from Oliver who blasted out five Meanwood players (5-34). At one point, Captain Briggs preferred to continue with the part-time bowlers against the tail-enders, arguing that Oliver is “too quick and could go for more runs”. (Incidentally it is rumoured that Brett Lee offered to turn out for Saxton A, but Captain Briggs was worried about his “excessive speed” leaking runs). When he finally got back on, Oliver mopped up the tail before Meanwood had used up all their overs.
The Meanwood innings may best be remembered, however, for an argument with a local skinhead. At one point the ball was driven under his car in the Myrtle Tavern car park. The menacing skinhead (Editor’s note: not all skinheads are aggressive. Some of my best friends wear their hair in this fashion) threatened to beat to a pulp anyone who fetched it. Meanwood thought better of arguing with him and the ball stayed under there for an hour. On reflection, it is odd that 22 strapping men were so intimidated and one wonders if the skinhead hairstyle was a factor. Would a man with a perm, or a short back and sides, have inspired so much fear?
Anyway, the ball stayed under the car for an hour while Saxton bowled with the spare, then once that was lost in one of the many deep fields, they bowled with the spare spare ball. Dave Buck did not complain about the ball, but he did complain about some of the fielding which took the gloss off his cunningly bowled slow long hops. After the game, Dave claimed to have a “medical condition” which means he cannot stop himself berating fielders. He has a doctor’s note if anyone doubts him. Honourable mentions should go to Prakash Veerasamy
who bowled well for his 1-34 from the difficult Tavern End. As usual, Prak spent a lot of time sprawling on the ground, whether parrying the ball off his own bowling, diving to stop a boundary, catching it and falling down, or diving for the crease when batting. Was there ever a more whole-hearted cricketer? Or one so affected by the power of gravity? Jack Walmsley
was also bowling well before being taken out by an Oliver Moxon
shy at his kneecap.
Saxton opened with David Warmsley and David Smith
, the league’s only vegetarian opening pair. They put on fifty and set a solid platform. David Smith
, helped by a couple of top-edged sixes, reached 98, then went for an almighty slog as the run rate mounted. (Less a case of the “nervous nineties” than the “not nervous enough nineties” as he had no idea he was so close to the landmark).
Saxton would have been run-away winners had it not been for the superb spell of spin by opening bat Stephen Bray, who barely bowled a bad ball. As the run rate mounted, wickets tumbled and the game was on a knife edge. Onlooker and IT specialist Gopi Chemudupati shouted out “helpful” advice, such as “It’s only eight an over” when 60 runs were needed off 10 overs.
Meanwhile, first-teamers Ian Cunningham and Gareth Bottomley had been gripped by the action, but not enough to stay and watch. They preferred to eat in Macdonald’s, but found time in between mouthfuls of Chicken Legend with Hot and Spicy Mayo, and Mississippi Mud Pie to ring up every 10 minutes asking for updates.
In the end it came down to Phil Chaston and his six hit into the pub car park. Phil was pleased, but one thing irked him. “I was aiming for the skinhead’s car and I just missed the bugger!” he said.