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Holmesdale (a)

28 May 2012 - Gavan Burden

Team: Alfie Berger-North, Harry Bevan-Thomas, Angus Chambers, Sam Collens, Ryan Gavin, Zak Iqbal, Michael Jacob, Hugh Jones C, Matt Oster WK & VC, Callum Turner, Henry Woods, 12th Man- Thomas Spurin

And so, after losing a game we could have won against last year’s league winners, our brave boys marched onto Sundridge Rec and a needle match against local rivals Holmesdale. Well I say needle but, given that our boys are best mates with most of the oppo, trying to get them focussed for battle beforehand was not an easy exercise as friendly banter and bonhomie prevailed ! Anyhow, ‘Dale won the toss and elected to bat, which again suited us, and so we set about keeping them down to a reasonable total, something which we’ve found difficult on this ground in recent times.

First up to the bowling ramp were Callum Turner and Ryan Gavin and after 4 overs we had the oppo nicely contained at 15-0. Enter Michael Jacob with another wonderful opening over followed by another over-stretched second over, but with last week’s batting hero Angus Chambers in good support we were still keeping them trimmed back at 37-1 after a fine run-out. Our fielding generally was much improved on last week, and our long-barrier work on Sunday and in pre-match warm ups was obviously bearing us in good stead, but the Holmesdale batsmen were finding scoring relatively easy and we saw two batsmen Easton and Green each retire on 28*. MJ returned to form in his third over with a well-deserved wicket after some fine work behind the stumps from Matt Oster.

Harry Bevan-Thomas took another much needed wicket in his first over ( a wicket maiden in fact ) but then went for 13 in his next and skipper Hugh Jones was unable to penetrate at the other end conceding 10 runs in his first two over spell. Sam Collens came on and struggled to find his normally good line and length while HB-T completed his allocation was unfortunate to be hit for another 8 runs and finishing 3-0-21-1. Enter debutant Zak Iqbal into the attack and showed great line and length conceding just one run in his over to add to some fine fielding.

HJ then decided to give his first string of bowlers another over each to finish the 20 and attempt to pin the oppo back to a total under 100. CT ended with respectable figures of 3-1-13-0, RG finished with 3-0-14-0, and AG 3-0-15-0 but it was skipper Jones who completed the final over in scintillating fashion with a double wicket maiden to finish with terrific figures of 3-1-10-2. The home side had, however, crept up to 104 so we knew we had to bat sensibly and with good discipline against their decent attack to achieve victory, but it was certainly within our grasp.

Until, that is, we lost both openers CT and HJ to some ill-disciplined strokes and found ourselves 2 wickets down without a run on the board. But cometh the hour and cometh the Oster as he has proved on more than a couple of occasions before !

Matt was in imperious form making a mockery both of the good bowling attack and our early dismissals and with good support from last week’s batting star AC the pair were soon rocking the ‘Dale bowlers back on their heels, much to your writer’s delight. No playground friendships to deter me from my burning desire to win this one !

And then Angus was out LBW for 10 bringing young SC to the crease but quickly becoming the first of four excellent stumpings from the home ‘keeper. MO retired with a brilliant 28* including 5 boundaries bringing another youngster SI to the heat of the battle but he too went soon after to another stumping off the bowling of Hogan. So we were 45-5 and struggling to cope, and we were soon 49-7 after HB-T was run-out in a mix up with MJ, and Henry Woods became the third stumping victim. MJ was then out for 4, caught and bowled after some decent resistance and a couple of fine shots that deserved better and at 58-9 it was time for MO to come back in and dish out some punishment.

Sadly for him and the team he was only able to add a couple of runs before becoming the fourth stumping victim and was out for 30, leaving Alfie Berger-North unbeaten on 1 in our total of 64.

Thanks again to Tom Spurin for being our 12th Man and once again accounting for himself admirably in the field.

In brief summary I’d say we fielded well and mostly bowled well, although still giving away 17 extras, but were let down by our batters, albeit against a good attack. If you consider that of the 50 runs actually scored by our side 30 of those were hit by one boy, this week’s man- of –the- match Matt Oster, then it’s easy to see where we need to do the work this Sunday. Having said that I was proud of the boys again and told them so after. When you consider that Holmesdale have a Border League U11 squad of 40 boys in their Friday night “academy” from which they run two sides, and another 120 or so boys aged between 8-11on a Saturday (who I find out don’t even get to play any competitive matches ) then you see both my frustration and anger at the situation.

But I know this. We may have a small squad this year, including three U9’s, but it’s a good squad brimming with talent that will win matches, and I’m proud to be working with them.

Well done lads and let’s get that first win next week.