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Match Report vs Tintern 31 May 2009 @ Tintern (Skipper & report Jonny F)

Tintern, beautiful Tintern. Could it get any better than this? A beautiful hot sunny day, with deep blue skies and not a cloud in sight; a beautiful and leisurely drive through the picturesque Monmouthshire countryside; the village itself, charming, quaint and beautiful; the setting, incomparable with the Abbey in the background, standing majestic and beautiful; the pitch, rough as a badger’s arse and sprinkled with rabbit shit; the changing facilities … well, closed – so instead, we used the stiflingly hot shed/shack that looks like it’s about to fall down at any moment. Nothing’s perfect, I guess.

It really was boiling hot so on winning the toss, we decided to bat first. The skipper & Pablo opened up with Paul continuing his recent spate of good form and looking in good touch, but the partnership was short lived as JF was caught in the gully for 4 off one that bounced and looped up off the shoulder of the bat. Steveo came in at three and after playing a lovely straight-batted on drive for 4, reverted to type a couple of balls later and cross-batted one to point off the top edge for an easy catch.
This brought the newly christened Mojam to the crease. He and Paul batted very well, adding 30-odd and at 55-2 off 14 overs we looked well set to get a half decent score. Unfortunately, Mo was then bowled for 16 by one that stayed low before Jeff C spooned up another easy catch after adding just a single. Moments afterwards, disaster struck when the free-scoring Pablo (28) smacked a long hop straight to square leg where the fielder took a good catch – the ball was travelling and he held on very well to be fair.

55-2 had suddenly become 63-5 so a bit of rebuilding was needed. Akbari went out to the middle accompanied by the sound of the captain’s voice offering friendly advice: “Just play straight Ash - if you get out playing across the line, I’ll kick your arse!!”. Fortunately, no arse-kicking was needed as Ash and Richie both played very responsibly for the next 10 overs or so, adding a further 27 runs.

It was about this time that Tintern brought on Ellis, an innocuous looking slow bowler, from the Abbey end. He didn’t look like much, but he ended up with four wickets and pretty much turned the game on its head. First to go was Richie (11) caught on the midwicket boundary trying to up the rate. Ash was bowled (NOT playing across the line) for a determined 14 and Ed Stewart came and went without troubling the scorers.
Andy Hood added 9 runs before being bowled at the other end by a horrible delivery that stayed low and glanced off the pads before hitting the stumps. Iain Warwick became Ellis’s final victim, also bowled off his pads for 3, leaving Andy F stranded at the other end and the Casuals 109 all out with over 6 overs left in the innings.

It was a truly horrible batting display with two mini-collapses (the aforementioned 55-2 becoming 63-5 and then 90-5 becoming 92-8, then 103-9, then 109 all out) and we committed the cardinal sin of not using up all the overs. In fact, we finished so early that tea wasn’t ready, so we had to go back out and field for 10 overs before taking tea.

P Stephens caught 28
J Furnham caught 4
S O’reilly caught 5
Mo Jamal bowled 16
J Clapham caught 1
Ash Akbari bowled 14
R Holliday caught 11
Es Stewart bowled 0
I Warwick bowled 3
Andy Hood bowled 9
A Furnham not out 0

We desperately needed wickets and Winkie almost obliged first ball as Ellis edged one past keeper JF’s shoulder. Unperturbed, Andy stormed in and got an lbw decision with the final ball of the over. Curiously, Ellis is listed as scoring 0 in the book, so the umpire must have given byes off the first ball – now that would have been interesting had it gone to hand!

Jeff Clapham opened from the other end and after a wayward first over, settled into his usual metronomic line & length. His second over was a wicket maiden and with Andy H continuing his excellent spell, at tea Tintern were 30-2 off 10 overs.

I loved the roast potatoes but they were bloody hot! – it might have been an idea to provide something to pick them up with. I wonder, do they have forks in Tintern?

After tea, Iain ‘Dion’ Warwick kept the pressure on with 4 tight overs whilst Ed the Cheese bowled three overs from the other end. He only bowled 4 bad balls but all of them went to the boundary, so Pablo came on from the Abbey end whilst Mojam replaced Iain.

At 70-2, Tintern were cruising it, but Mo made a breakthrough with his second ball. A couple of overs later, Pablo bowled their number 5 (79-4) taking him on to 299 wickets. Next over, Mojam bowled their number 6 (80-5) and in the very next over Pablo got his 300th wicket for the club, thanks to a smart catch by Richie at square leg and the score 80-6. Wicket numbers 301 and 302 came a couple of overs later, one a caught & bowled which Paul didn’t see until very late and one caught by Ash at mid on.
After 28 overs they were 93-8 and with 12 overs to get the 17 runs needed, we were never going to restrict them, so we went for the jugular. Paul finished his spell without any further success whilst Andy Hood came back for his last three overs and bowled brilliantly (3 maidens) but without any luck, in spite of finding the edge a few times.
With just 7 needed to win, Jeff replaced Pablo conceding a boundary and a single and off the very first ball of Mojam’s next over, their skipper turned one that bounced down to fine leg and they ran the two which gave Tintern the victory.

As we left the field, I felt an odd mixture of pride and frustration. After batting so miserably, we made Tintern fight all the way to the end for their victory. The bowling was superb and the fielding was good (even though we dropped a couple of tough chances as usual), so we could all walk off with our heads held high. There was just this frustration knowing that we should have scored at least another 50 runs and that even another 20 would have won us the game. It seems to be the theme of the 2009 season so far.

Andy Hood 8-3-11-1
Jeff Clapham 6-1-23-1
Iain Warwick 4-1-10-0
Ed Stewart 3-0-23-0
Paul Stephens 8-2-20-4
Mo Jamal 5.1-0-17-2

Congratulations to Pablo on reaching 300 wickets (plus 2). A tremendous achievement mate – keep ‘em coming! [Milestones]


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