Nothing gives me greater joy than writing this report, after a tough day at Bestwood Village.
3 weeks ago we played this time at home where we were beaten with ease. Bestwood Village play in an undisciplined way, they argue throughout the match with both officials and players. Finally we had our chance to mend the wrong and put things right in their back yard.
Having won the toss, we elected to field first as the strip looked like a bomb site, this gave us a clear indication of what we could expect when it was our turn to hold the willow. The track did not disappoint, staying low on a length one ball, and the next jagging and lifting from a similar length. Our opening bowlers made the most of it, low economy rates and valuable wickets picked up early doors. Laughton taking 2 for 23 off 8 and Collington 1 for 17 off 8, figures that do not do the opening pair justice. Either bowler could quite easily walked away with a 5 for, if lady luck had been on there side. It took an inspired bowling change to bring on Jimmy Kirkham who took no wickets with good balls, and 3 for 16 with bad balls. We don't know how you do it mate. Ian Richardson also got through his 8 overs picking up 1 wicket, but more importantly keeping the economy rate down. Richo enjoyed 28 for 1 off his 8. At 60 for 5 we began to believe an early finish may be in order, but the Mehdi brothers had other ideas, Dave Hedge dropped a dolly off Dan Collington at a crucial stage which allowed a partnership to develop. Bestwood Village limped there way to 149 before Kirkham picked up the final wicket.
The first and last over of our batting innings we have to thank Bestwood Village for there generosity, 11 extras coming in the first over and the last over I will come on to shortly. It was a day for grafting with the bat, and I am pleased to say that is what we as a team did. Rob Bailey and Max made a decent start, both scoring in the early twenties, Newby chipped in with a valuable 16 and Hedge made 26 before being trapped LBW. However the stars of the show were Kirkham and Laughton, cool heads in a highly pressurised game prevailed. Andy Laughton was exceptional and will not score a better 16* runs all season. The final over was a corker, we needed 14 runs with 3 wickets remaining, the first ball of the over we have to thank the Bestwood Village skipper for, as he placed 3 men behind square leg. NO BALL was the call from the umpire and we ran 2. So we now only needed 11 off 6 balls. The 2nd ball was a dot. The 3rd and 4th balls we forced through the off side by Laughton again, picking up 2 runs per ball. The 5th ball was driven down the ground where mid off did everything wrong, the pressure put on him by the quick running of Laughton & Kirkham made him too ambitious and he missed the ball, a boundary was the reward. So 3 off the last 2 balls, at this point mayhem is the only word that can be used to describe the fielders. Shouting, arguing and much confusion, the win was ours for the taking. Laughton glanced the ball through gully region for 2 off the 6th ball, the scores were tied. Finally off the last ball Andy Laughton made sure of the win by again thumping the ball through the offside. A fantastic performance and one that has to award him Man of the Match.
Plaudits also to our official umpire Richard Nevin for maintaining a high level of umpiring in a challenging game, great awareness of the laws of cricket made this victory possible.