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Archive for July, 2014

Heavy rain on Friday had cast doubt on Boycie’s ability to produce a fast hard track for this week’s encounter with Albury. Boycie, Phippsy and Badger made an early start on Saturday and before long the wicket was shaping up and a few hours hot sun was all that was required to produce a fine batting track.

Our away fixture against Albury had been abandoned due to rain, so this match was eagerly anticipated for several reasons. First there was the desire to get back to winning ways after our unbeaten run of 6 games ended at Stansted last week; secondly there was the prospect of an encounter with one of the best batsmen in the league in the shape of Keith Wheatley, and lastly, Arif Munden’s official chef was in town to cook up a feast of his tasty Pukka Pakoras for tea.

We had toiled in the field in the heat at Stansted after putting them in to bat. Ahmed had resolved that since the weather conditions were similar this Saturday, Munden would bat if he won the toss. Another correct call by le tosser numer uno, saw Ashley and Simon don their pads and take guard in the middle. On a hot sunny day with a good hard track and with the knowledge that Mr Wheatley senior could flourish under these conditions, a score in excess of 250 was required._DSC0015

We got off to a great start when Ashley cut the first ball of the innings for four. Our openers had read the script and Munden passed 50 in the 8th over without incident. Numerical landmarks often trigger a change in approach from batsmen and so Simon and Ashley began to find the boundary with regularity as they could sense that a big innings was there to be had.

With the score on 81, Ashley hit a lofted shot that looked to be clearing the fielder comfortably ….  so much so that he called to Simon not to worry, ‘it’s over him’. This must have inspired Josh Wheatley (son of Keith), as he turned and scuttled back towards the boundary and took an incredible catch over his shoulder – very unlucky for Ashley, but you could only admire the athleticism of the fielder.

Ashley was replaced by Nadir. Ned was his usual cautious self, he played safe up until he faced his first ball and then attacked the bowling from the off. Before long he was skipping down the track, taking the ball early and scoring with freedom.

He contributed 40 runs in his partnership of 64 with Simon before a lofted shot was caught in the deep. Meanwhile Simon was replicating his innings of 2 weeks ago, building slowly and patiently and taking on the responsibility of anchor in order to achieve a winning total.

Nooris are like buses, you wait for ever and then 2 come along at once. Nihal replaced his big brother at the crease and also in terms of his natural attacking game. After Nihal’s heroics with the bat last week, anything seemed possible. Unfortunately Nihal’s inning came to a premature end when he too was caught.

Munden were 180 for 3, on course to break 250 and with some big guns still to come.

Dave B likes a six. His first scoring shot was a big six. Then he hit a four followed by a couple of singles …. and then he decided to play a defensive shot and was bowled! He wasn’t happy with himself, and was heard to mutter that he should have given it the kitchen sink.

Phippsy came to the crease and played with skill and intelligence picking off the quick singles and rotating the strike in favour of his high scoring partner.

All the time, Simon was building his innings. His first 50 came at a gentle pace, his second was somewhat swifter, his 3rd 50 was at breakneck speed as it comprised 5 sixes and 3 fours. It was clear that Simon was tiring after his epic innings and he almost seemed disappointed when one of his lofted shots fell short of a fielder. Simon could hardly drag himself to the pavilion when he was finally out on 152 having guided Munden past the coveted 250 to 274 for 5._DSC0066

But the fireworks were far from over. Boycie was impressive with the power and timing of his shots last week, but this week he surpassed himself. Whilst Phippsy fed Boycie the strike, Munden’s shrinking violet took full advantage of the injection of pace from Albury’s newly introduced fast bowler. His first shot was a 6. His third shot was a 6. His 5th shot was a 6. His last 2 scoring shots were sixes. I estimate Boycie faced 16 deliveries; 34 of his 39 runs came in boundaries (he scored one 4). This was not slogging, this was exquisite timing and confidence from a batsman very much in form.

Munden’s innings concluded with on 324 for 5.

Munden batting

Ashley 29

Simon 152

Nadir 40

Nihal 11

Dave B 13

Phippsy 16 not out

Boycie 39 not out

_DSC0052After a feast of batting we were presented with a banquet of Pukka Pakoras. Munden may be getting a reputation for having some big hitters, but I doubt many teams can boast a better spread than presented by Arif and his charming assistant. Players from both sides ate in almost complete silence just savouring the delicious food on offer.

Burly opened the bowling for Munden with Dave B coming on at the other end. Burly removed the No.2 bat for a duck in his second over when Simon held on to a catch in the covers. Albury were 3 for 1.

The incoming batsman settled in and Albury began to build a score although falling behind the required rate of 7.3 an over all the time. As a team, you always want to take wickets, but the sight of Keith Wheatley sitting in the pavilion padded up and ready to go in next may have cast doubt in the minds of some.

But Munden play to win and when Simon took a second catch in the same position off Dave’s bowling, we clapped in a player who certainly is capable of scoring at the required rate.

It didn’t take long before KW was striking the ball with incredible power and the runs began to flow. Munden needed to remain calm and efficient and sooner or later chances would come.

Ahmed took over from Dave B and although the batsmen attacked his bowling, he stuck to his task and pulled off his second excellent caught and bowled in as many weeks to remove Albury’s opener. Albury were 97 for 3.

Josh, son of Keith, joined his dad in the middle and showed that he too is an intimidating batsman. The pair shared a partnership of 68 when Ahmed captured the prize wicket of Wheatley senior when a lofted straight drive was snapped up by Boycie in the deep.

The new batsman also knew where the boundary was and Albury continued to maintain a decent rate of scoring with an achievable target of 8 an over going into the last 15.

Nadir and Ashley joined the bowling attack and soon chances were being created. Ashley claimed the wicket of Josh Wheatley when he mistimed a shot and was caught by Burly.

Munden were into Albury’s tail and had taken control of the match. Nadir had been beating the edge with pace and swing and was rewarded with a wicket when Martin took a good catch behind.

Albury’s scoring  slowed up as the light faded and Munden’s bowlers began to dominate. Nadir bowled the No.8 bat for 1 and then Dave B came on and replicated the feat and bowled the new baysman for a duck.

It came to the last over, Albury had 228 on the board with their last 2 batsmen at the crease.

Ahmed nominated Phippsy to bowl the final over. Amid great encouragement from his teammates, Phippsy charged in and produced the perfect delivery which the obliging batsman duly edged into Boycie’s reliable hands at slip.

Game over, Albury were all out for 228 in the final over.

Munden bowling

Burly: 10 overs, 1 maiden, 1 for 52

Dave B: 10 overs, 2 maidens, 2 for 38

Ahmed: 9 overs, 2 for 71

Nadir: 10 overs, 1 maiden, 2 for 44

Ashley: 5 overs, 1 maiden, 1 for 8

Phippsy: 0.1 overs, 1 for 0

This was a great game of cricket. Man of the match has to go to Simon for his epic innings of 152. Boycie’s good natured destruction of the bowling in those last few overs brought a smile to everyone’s faces …. not so much a cameo as an explosion in a paint factory.

There had been questions about poor performance in the field last week and this week we weren’t perfect, but once again the whole team tried.

Ahmed is democratic in his captaincy. He prefers to share responsibility and to listen to the opinions of the players whilst hoping that we all understand the importance of supporting one another. Our tendency to let our heads go down when under pressure shows that we still lack confidence as a team. Everyone should look at the league table and be proud of what we have achieved this season.

Thanks to the guys from Albury for a super game of cricket. Thanks to Chris for doing the book and taking the photos. Thanks to Arif for his culinary expertise and to Martin for the post match liquid refreshment.

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Ahmed

Ashley

Boycie

Burly

Dave B

Dave M

Martin

Nadir

Nihal

Phippsy

Simon

12th man Chris/Dave P

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This game was always going to be a challenge – the team at the top of the table against an in-form Munden side who had recorded 6 wins in a row.

It was an oppressively hot day with rain was forecast for later in the afternoon, so no change there then! Stansted is renowned for the quality of its pitches, they are hard and true and favour batting.

It has been apparent from recent victories that we perform best when chasing a total, so when tosser numero uno called correctly, he put our hosts in to bat.

Munden opened the bowling with Burly and Jamie who had returned to the side after an absence of a year and was, by his own admission, a bit rusty.

Whilst Burly was his usual accurate and economical self, Jamie struggled with his line, and despite having bowled a maiden over (she was watching from the sidelines) he failed to bowl a maiden over and Dave B took over the bowling duties.

The Stansted side is packed with experience. Their openers looked confident and comfortable as they got off to a good start  and pushed the scoring rate up to 6 an over. Munden’s first breakthrough came with the score in the 80’s when Burly moved the field around and pushed Badger back on to the boundary. Two deliveries later the batsman took the bait and hooked the ball high into the air and into Badger’s grateful grasp.

The new batsman looked to take on the bowling straight away and the run rate accelerated. Burly completed his 10 overs for a mere 31 runs and Ahmed took over.

Ahmed would admit to not being the most athletic in the field, but he generally takes at least one amazing diving catch a season (oddly usually off his own bowling 🙂 ). His dismissal of the big hitting opener who had notched up 80 runs was executed by means of a spectacular caught and bowled, diving full length and clasping the ball an inch off the ground.

Stansted were 2 down but their depth of talent meant that their middle order was more than capable of piling on the runs. Ashley joined the bowling attack and before long we had a Boyce father and son combo slowing the pace and inviting the batsmen to go for the aerial route.

This strategy paid dividends as Ashley took 3 wickets – all to good catches in the deep. First Nihal took a catch right on the longest boundary from a ball that was travelling like a rocket. Burly then  held on to a looping ball that hung in the air before Dave B joined the party with another good catch.

This temporarily put the brakes on Stansted’s scoring, but they were already past 200 and still had batting to come.

Boycie had a smile on his face when he claimed the wicket of his ex-teammate from his Stansted days, Steve Peachey, LBW as he attempted an audacious reverse sweep shot. Stansted were over 250 by now and Munden had to dig deep in the oppressive heat to maintain concentration.

Boycie took his second wicket when the incoming batsman took a swipe and skied the ball into the air to give Burly his second catch of the day. Ahmed took the 8th and last wicket to fall clean bowled.

Stansted completed their innings on 298 for 8.

Munden bowling

Burly: 10 overs, 2 maidens, 1 for 31

Jamie: 4 overs for 37

Dave B: 6 overs, 1 maiden, for 42

Ashley: 10 overs, 3 for 64

Ahmed: 6 overs, 1 maiden, 2 for 42

Boycie: 7 overs, 2 for 42

Nihal: 2 overs for 30

Munden’s players took a well earned rest over tea and reflected on a hard fought session in the field.

In the absence of Simon and Nadir, Martin accompanied Ashley to the middle to start Munden’s reply. One thing you don’t want to do when chasing 300 is to lose early wickets so our openers banished any thought of the daunting 6.7 runs per over required to overhaul Stansted’s total.

Immediately we were reminded of why Stansted are top of the league. Their opening bowlers are very experienced and although not pacey, their consistency of nagging line and length together with swing and movement off the pitch make scoring very difficult.

Munden were only picking up ones and twos for the first 6 or 7 overs and unfortunately when Ashley finally received a rare poor delivery in the shape of a full toss he  latched onto it and was caught on the boundary.

Munden were 16 for 1 as Ahmed came to the middle to join Martin. Ahmed scored Munden’s first boundary of the innings with his trademark pull shot but was undone a few balls later when he was deceived by the swing and was bowled. We were now 28 for 2 and looking for someone to steady the innings.

_DSC0012Nihal was next to the crease to face the tricky late swing of Chambers who had already taken the first 2 wickets to fall. Nihal’s first 10 scoring shots were all singles, this is very unusual for him as he is a naturally attacking batsman.

Meanwhile Martin had been doing a sterling job at the other end taking the quick singles and eventually producing a boundary to boost his and Munden’s figures. Martin was out caught, with Munden on 33 for 3 at a run rate of barely 3 an over – well below the required rate.

Dave Beardsley relishes coming in at 4 or 5 as it usually allows him to play his natural attacking game. What Munden needed was a solid partnership between Dave and Nihal for the next 10-15 overs to get us back on track and then see if we had a chance of overhauling Stansted’s total.

The two played with controlled aggression as they upped the run rate and finally began to give our hosts some exercise chasing the ball in the outfield. Much to the relief of our batsmen, Stansted’s openers had used up their 10 overs and bowling changes were made. Nihal and Dave’s partnership of 77 brought respectability to Munden’s score. Nihal played the anchor role, still scoring mostly in singles whilst Dave took on the bowlers and started to find the boundary. He hit 2 fours followed by his 6 for the day followed by another four and then swung once too often and departed having scored 40 making way for our other big hitter in the ample shape of Boycie.

_DSC0014Boycie’s banter with his old teammates had been lively throughout and continued whilst he was at the crease. By now we knew it would take a miracle to win the game. Our realistic target was to reach 200 to get maximum batting points and to show that we can compete at Stansted’s level.

Boycie scored 26 of his quick-fire 33 runs in boundaries including one 6 and by the time he was out for 33, Munden had reached 197 and the game was over as a contest.

Jamie is used more often as a batter these days and would normally have featured higher up the order as he is also capable of scoring very quickly, but he had dislocated his finger earlier trying to take a catch on the boundary and had asked to be put lower down the list. As there was little to play for at this stage, Jamie asked to be excused batting duties altogether and Phippsy took over from Boycie in the middle.

Once again Phippsy looked confident and scored runs keeping up his middle order consistency and proving his worth to the team. When Phippsy was out for 15 it was decided to give Chris some time at the crease because his previous 2 batting appearances had been brief and without score.

_DSC0013

All the time, Nihal had been toiling in the heat. He was a  hero. His superhuman effort to keep going with no food or fluids to sustain him whilst holding the innings together and scoring 70 vital runs for Munden makes him the obvious candidate for Man of the Match.

Nihal was out caught when on 70 in the penultimate over. Badger came to the crease and clipped a 4 off his legs to finish the 44th over leaving Chris to face the last over having already taken 2 singles. Chris added a 3rd single off the last ball of the innings and Munden finished on 233 for 6.

Munden batting

Ashley 7

Martin 18

Ahmed 9

Nihal 70

Dave B 40

Boycie 33

Phippsy 15

Chris 3 not out

Dave M 4 not out

Boycie called us all together after the game to put some perspective on the performance. Stansted are a class side with a fantastic organisation behind them. They have swept most teams aside this season. They routinely score 300 runs at home and usually bowl the opposition out.

Not only did we take 8 of their wickets (they only took 6 of ours!) we came within 60 odd runs or their total with a side missing Simon, Nadir and Andy and with one of our top batsmen unable play on the day.

This was a much better performance than our home fixture and who knows, if we’d been a bit more tidy in the field and had those missing players in the side, victory could have been ours.

It’s all still to play for in the league, we should take heart from this performance.

Other results:

Although we lost to Stansted, the other 2 teams above us also lost at the weekend so there was no real damage done to our hopes of finishing higher up the table. Takeley beat Stortford and Matching Green beat South Loughton. Fyfield had a walk-over against Foresters as they were unable to raise a side and Albury beat Potter Street.

 

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Ahmed

Ashley

Boycie

Burly

Chris

Dave B

Dave M

Jamie

Martin

Nihal

Phippsy

Address:

Hargrave Park, Cambridge Road

Stansted, Essex CM24 8BY

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Stansted,+Essex+CM24+8BY/@51.9066844,0.1953342,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x47d88f636eca1553:0xa988b0e3a4af5c7d?hl=en

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Well at least this was a day when we thought the weather wasn’t going to be a problem ……….. Rain had been forecast for the previous day and the pitch was covered on Thursday night after nets. Boycie was up early before the game to remove the covers for what we expected to be a long hot day.

The away fixture at Stortford early in the season was not our best for many reasons. We only had ten men, there were several spells of heavy rain and by the end of the game we only had 4 fully fit players to patrol the outfield. So a strong Munden side welcomed Stortford IVs to Green End after 5 wins in a row and eager to test ourselves against a team at the top of the table.

Despite the oppressively hot and humid conditions, Ahmed had decided he would put Stortford in to bat if he won the toss, so he wasn’t disappointed when he lost but the result was the same.

The Stortford side comprised a mix of experience and youth. Their young players are all talented and are brought through their impressive coaching system, so it came as no surprise that their opening pair included a 14 year old.

Burly opened the bowling for Munden and was rewarded in his first over when the youngster got an edge that cannoned off Martin’s knee and was deftly caught by Boycie at first slip.

Stortford were 0 for 1. The dismissal brought Stansted’s captain to the crease who we knew from the first game was a powerful and obdurate batsman.

_DSC0006Dave B was Burly’s bowling partner from the other end. The pair toiled in the heat but soon the runs were flowing and Stortford passed 50 looking to be in little trouble. Our breakthrough came shortly after the first drinks break when Dave B caught and bowled the dangerous No. 2 bat. Stortford were 74 for 2.

The No.4 bat got off the mark with a four and the Stortford innings continued to gain momentum. Ahmed and Boycie took over from Burly and Dave B in an attempt to slow the scoring rate by slowing the bowling. Nevertheless, Stortford passed the 150 mark for the loss of only 2 wickets and a score of 275 looked to be on the cards.

But then Ahmed struck. _DSC0033He took the wicket of the dangerous No.4 bat who had scored 35 (caught by Boycie), and then claimed the prize wicket of Stortford’s captain (caught by Dave B) who was on 83 and had been taking the attack to our bowlers.

Dave completed his hat trick of catches when he snapped up the new batsman off Boycie and Stortford were 156 for 5 with their best batsmen back in the pavilion.

Munden’s tails were up. We’d been pretty sharp in the field and had several close calls for run-outs as the Stortford batsmen tried to milk the singles. They came undone when  there was a mix up between the batters and a sharp throw from Ashley found Ahmed at the stumps to remove the bails and send the No.6 bat back to the pavilion.

_DSC0054Burly came back into the bowling attack to try to make inroads into Stortford’s tail and was successful when he trapped the No.7 LBW. Shortly afterwards Ahmed upped his tally to 3 wickets when Simon took a good catch and another of Stortford’s youngsters by the name of Ealy came to the crease. We closed the field in around him expecting the youngster to crumble under the pressure. Not a bit of it, he proved to be an excellent young cricketer and carried his bat and later bowled very well for Stortford.

Unfortunately for Ealy, there was no one the other end to support him. Ashley cleaned up Stortford’s tail taking the last 2 wickets, one bowled and the last caught and bowled.

Stortford were all out in the last over for 216.

Munden bowling

Burly: 8 overs, 1 maiden, 2 for 37

Dave B: 10 overs, 1 for 51

Boycie: 10 overs, 1 for 53

Ahmed: 10 overs, 3 for 47

Ashley: 6.2 overs, 2 for 26

Tea was taken, the skies looked clear and Munden’s opening pairing of Simon and Ashley strode to the square with an air of confidence.

We had shown the previous week that this team is capable of chasing a total as we have strength in depth and batsmen who can score quickly lower down the order if need be.

_DSC0068So it was not a problem when after 10 overs we were scoring at about 3 an over well below the required rate of 4.8. What we needed was a solid partnership to give the foundation for a winning innings. Our openers did not disappoint, we passed the 100 mark without loss. After his mammoth performance last week, Ashley was frustrated at the slow pace of the game and uncharacteristically had scored more than half his runs in singles. Having reached the 100, he gave himself the go ahead to open his shoulders …. and he hit a powerful 6. Unfortunately he mistimed the next shot which was intended to have a similar outcome and was caught.

Munden were 102 for 1 but the required run rate had been slowly creeping up and now stood at just below 6 an over.

What we needed was someone to go out there and take on the bowlers …… luckily we had just the man for the job. Dave B took his guard. There was an air of excited expectation amongst those of us watching from the pavilion.

By his standards, Dave’s innings started quietly – he didn’t hit a boundary until his 11th scoring shot, but what he did do was to score off pretty much every ball he faced to rotate the batting and push the score along.

All the while Simon was going along almost unnoticed as he not only anchored the innings but accelerated his own scoring in line with the target ahead.

_DSC0071

After playing well within himself Dave grew in confidence and hit a massive six and 3 fours in quick succession and Munden looked to be taking a grip on the game. The physical effort of bowilng and batting in the heat was taking its toll on Dave. Inevitably, he cramped up at the crease and was reduced to swinging the bat with very little movement of his feet. The result was that he was bowled on 43, but his innings had pushed the required rate down to just over 3 an over and Munden looked favourites to win.

Nihal replaced Dave under ever darkening skies as the prospect of rain cast a shadow over our hopes. Sure enough, before long the heavens opened and the Munden boys scurried to the middle to install the covers to protect the pitch. Munden were in the 190’s with only 2 down and plenty of overs in hand.

_DSC0084The heavy rain was accompanied by the occasional clap of thunder and we feared the worst. But after about 15 minutes, the rain stopped and we were able to remove the covers and prepare the pitch for the restart.

Nihal took over Dave’s mantle and attacked the bowling outscoring Simon in the last few overs. Simon reached his hundred to appreciative applause and Nihal hit the winning runs with a drive for 4.

Munden won the game in the 38th over on 217 for 2.

Munden batting

Ashley 36

Simon 100 not out

Dave B 43

Nihal 15 not out

That makes it 6 wins in a row for Munden. It was a terrific team performance and a deserved victory against quality opposition. We play with our heads these days. Perseverance in the field and patience in the batting are paramount. The depth of quality in the squad is the key factor.

Simon produced the stand out performance of the day with his 100 not out. His innings was as classy as it was patient. He built his innings in classical style, punishing the bad balls and concentrating throughout.

Dave B’s 3 catches matched Ashley’s tally the previous week and Ahmed’s wickets and his decision to promote Dave B up the order were also pivotal to the result.

I’d also just like to mention that had it not been for Boycie’s persistence and Ahmed’s generosity, Munden would not have had covers – and without them we would not have won the game as the pitch would have been unplayable – so thank you both.

Arguably our greatest challenge this season lies next week away to Stansted who are still clear at the top of the table after our defeat of their main rivals (it is reported that Stansted also lost yesterday)  – so its getting interesting at the top of the table!

We need the strongest 11 possible for next week’s encounter, so please, can everyone make their availability known if not already on the list.

As ever, Chris did a great job with the book and the camera lens  -thanks to him once again.

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Ahmed

Ashley

Boycie

Burly

Dave B

Dave M

Martin

Nihal

Phippsy

Ricky

Simon

12th man Dave P/Chris

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In common with many games this season, Saturday’s weather forecast predicted scattered heavy rain showers.

Munden was on a roll with four wins in a row but this week we knew there was a stiff challenge in store because 5 players who would normally be in our first choice eleven were unavailable. And so it was that on Saturday morning we still could only muster 10 men until the Chairman added his name to the list to complete the team for the day.

_DSC0008

Matching Green’s ground is in a picturesque village setting with 2 ponds on the periphery of the pitch to give Dave B a target. They also boast a recently constructed impressive new pavilion funded by a grant from the ECCB.

Ahmed won the toss and put Matching in to bat.

Burly opened the bowling for Munden and carried on seamlessly from his performance last week and was accompanied by Dave B at the other end. I’m sure Dave would be the first to admit that his bowling has been a tad wayward so far this season, so we needed him to concentrate on line and length and to try to emulate Burly’s frugal figures to get Munden off to a good start.

Our wishes were granted as Dave actually eclipsed Burly in maidens and runs conceded (although Burly’s figures were obviously very good!). Matching’s experienced openers struggled to score with any fluency and reached the 10 over mark with 34 on the board without loss. Then Burly struck, clean bowling the No.2 bat.

Shortly after, Dave was rewarded with his first wicket when Ashley took the first of his hat trick of catches for the game. Burly collected his second wicket courtesy of Ashley’s second catch and completed his 10 over spell taking 2 for 32. The last of Ashley’s catches came as Dave’s 10 over spell came to an end having conceded only 22 runs. All three catches were well taken and resulted from putting the right man in the right place in the field – they were also important as they dismissed potentially destructive batsmen.

Ahmed and Boycie took over the bowling attack. Matching had been floundering somewhat on 54 for 3, but they have strength in depth and their middle order batsmen began to up the run rate and Munden knew they had a game on their hands.

Matching’s hard hitting No.4 bat had been taking the attack to our bowlers and had just passed his 50 when he was bowled by Boycie. Shortly after, Boycie pulled a muscle in his calf but soldiered on regardless off an even shorter run up. It was just as well he did because he clean bowled Matching’s second highest scorer and put the brakes on their run rate.

Ashley came on to bowl in place of Ahmed and obviously thought that taking 3 catches wasn’t sufficient contribution as he cleaned up the 4 remaining Matching wickets – two clean bowled, one LBW and a catch taken by Boycie senior.

Matching were all out in the last over recording a challenging 185.

Munden bowling

Burly: 10 overs, 3 maidens, 2 for 32

Dave B: 10 overs, 5 maidens, 2 for 22

Ahmed: 7 overs, 0 maidens, 0 for 46

Boycie: 10 overs, 0 maidens, 2 for 40

Ashley: 7.5 overs, 0 maidens, 4 for 41

Tea was taken, as were all the jam doughnuts and wine gums 😛

There was no denying that we were missing some top batsmen for this game so it was imperative that the players who could build an innings stuck around.

With the absence of Simon, Andy, Nadir and Nihal, Ahmed asked Martin to open alongside Ashley. The required run rate was 4 an over. Matching had started off well below that figure but had accelerated their scoring during the innings so we weren’t too concerned when we were behind their rate after 10 overs. _DSC0032We still had wickets in hand, and importantly, Ashley was looking in fine form.

Martin did his job and partnered Ashley. He was replaced by Badger when he was caught on 9 and when Badger’s rush of blood to the newly introduced slow bowler (and matching’s captain) presented a gift of a top edge to first slip, Dave B took on the responsibility of supporting Ashley.

Trouble is, Dave doesn’t do ‘supporting’ so after a cautious single he accepted the challenge and launched a 6 into the inviting pond. The next ball was powerfully despatched for 4. That was 10 off the over ….. no need to go mad! So any way …….. he smashed the next ball high towards the same pond and picked out the fielder on the boundary. No criticism of Dave … it’s his nature, but this was a blow to Munden. Whilst Ashley was still scoring we had a chance but others needed to play their part.

So ‘olden’, as Ashley affectionately refers to his dad, hobbled out to the middle with Dave B as his runner – paying penance for his rash shot 🙂

The required rate had slowly been escalating and was now more than 6 an over. The Boyce family had the perfect solution, open the shoulders and take the attack to the bowlers. This was a key point in Munden’s innings.

By the time Boycie  senior departed to a catch in the deep, he had recorded a quickfire 17, outscoring Ashley in the process but more importantly raising the momentum of Munden’s innings._DSC0043

The responsibility of supporting Ashley now fell firmly on Ricky’s shoulders. This was Ricky’s first game for Munden this season as he has been nursing a back injury and was still not fully fit. I should point out that Ashley himself had not been at all well the night before and was suffering from a bad headache and required frequent water breaks just to be able to continue batting.

At this point Munden were 120 for 6 and with the required run rate up to 5.5 an over, were second favourites to win the game.

_DSC0029What happened next was straight out of the coaching manual. Ashley farmed the bowling brilliantly and Ricky did an excellent job working the singles and giving Ashley the strike. The run rate came down as the runs flowed and Munden’s confidence grew. The pair shared a partnership of 69 to win the game for Munden. It was all over in the 41st over with Munden scoring 189 for 5.

This was a magnificent performance from Ashley. He took 3 catches, 4 wickets and batted for 41 overs  top scoring on 113 not out, and all whilst feeling well below par.

Not only did he orchestrate the innings, he offered constant encouragement and advice to whoever was at the other end.

 

Munden batting

Ashley 113 not out

Martin 9

Dave M 1

Dave B 11

Boycie 17

ahmed 4

Ricky 11 not out

That’s a superb 5 wins in a row for Munden. Boycie said after the game that Matching didn’t lose the game ….. Munden won it. I know what he means.

We had a plan. We needed to restrict their scoring and maximise our batting potential, and in that we succeeded. It wasn’t luck, it was good cricket. We’ve said many times that it is the team that wins games. Several of us may not feel we contributed greatly to the cause, but every run, every stopped ball counts, and others will get their chance on another day.

This was undoubtedly Ashley’s day, well played to him and all the team.

Thanks to our hosts for playing their part in a memorable game of cricket.

Thanks also to Chris for doing the book and the photos.

 

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