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Sat 4 August - 2nd XI v St Lawrence II

Posted on 5th August in 2007, 2nds Match Reports

At last, a perfect Summer’s day at the Paddock.

It was a good looking Shoreham team (well, you know what I mean) but we were a bit deflated to be reduced to 10 men by Alex’s late call up to the firsts. (This is always a problem for the lower sides in any club. Can we find a way around it? Named reserves?).

St. Lawrence set off at a good pace and their scoring rate remained at between six and eight an over for a long while. Cobb plundered 77 off our attack after being dropped behind on nought and later lobbing a ball to Matt Robinson at mid on who, fatigued by his frequent (and ultimately fruitless) trips to Sheffield, mournfully watched it fall six feet in front of him without moving.

After hours of toiling in the field under a burning sun we had seen St. Lawrence reach 160 for 1, Deadly Dave taking our single wicket. All seemed lost but then, with wisps of straw in his hair from the morning’s haymaking and bits of steak in his teeth from his interrupted barbecue, Montie came to our rescue. His psychological impact on the game was immediate: his appearance confused the batsmen who dithered over an attempted run and Deadeye Dave threw down the stumps of the retreating striker.

Next into the attack was the ferocious Paul Styles who first caused St. Lawrence’s number 4 to retreat onto his stumps and then hospitalised their next batsman. (Graham advanced on the stricken player with a gleaming syringe and a bill – though not in that order – and seemed disappointed that his offer to put him down was declined). With one eye on the ambulance parked outside the pavilion the remaining St. Lawrence batsman couldn’t cope with Paul’s extravagantly flighted deliveries and he finished with 5 for 28 off his 8 overs. Wyn meanwhile exploited his natural variation from the other end and picked up 2 for 41 in his 9 overs.

Honourable mention should be made of John Austen, one of Nick Walker’s protegees returning for his first game for Shoreham, who troubled the batsmen without reward in his five overs. George and Graham contributed 3 and 5 overs respectively at a point when the St. Lawrence batsmen were at their most settled and bowling was difficult.

It had seemed that we might be looking at 300+ to chase but the last 8 batsmen were only allowed to accumulate 26 runs between them and we dismissed St. Lawrence for 216 - still a challenging total given that our best previous league performance had been 184.

Hardly had Paul finished his bowling heroics than he was sent in to open with Montie and they put together a steady opening partnership of over 80. Wyn joined Montie very briefly. Then the man with the huge carbon footprint, first team reject Martin Wells, entered the fray. Martin set about imposing himself on the bowling and a succession of boundaries from both batsmen kept the field pegged back, creating scope for hard run ones and twos, the occasional three and even a four. Just when it seemed that a few more overs would see us to victory Montie belatedly remembered that he was meant to be haymaking and scythed across a good delivery, putting an end to his well paced 64.

Graham stepped up to the crease and despatched a couple of trademark shots before holing out. John Austen then helped Martin to carry the score on to 205. 12 runs were still needed for victory with 3 overs remaining as John headed for the pavilion . We were so close to our first win but the awful prospect of somehow losing out silenced what passes for a crowd at a second XI game. Then Captain Marvel strode nervelessly to the crease. In the 38th over with the score at 212, and the field brought in to prevent Martin regaining the strike, Chris despatched a crunching drive to the long on boundary. At the end of the over the scores remained tied and so it fell to Martin to clip the ball away for the winning runs.

Yeeeeees!

In the glow of victory the evening assumed a kind of radiance, fatigue was forgotten, teammates were dearer than ever, the beer was better, the conversation more brilliant than on any other Saturday. We must do this again!

Who then was Shoreham’s man of the match? Martin’s aggressive 75 not out certainly catches the eye but given that he dropped the man who made 77 when he was on nought this leaves his net contribution at minus 2. Alright I know it was a difficult chance but let’s not allow that to get in the way of what passes for humour in these annals. Likewise Montie’s splendid 64 is worthy of consideration but how much more could he have done if he hadn’t allowed work and social commitments to delay his arrival? Really Montie, get your priorities sorted! So, this week’s award has to go to Paul for his amazing all round performance.

- Wyn

PS – thanks to whoever left the pies and cake at the crease: they were much appreciated.