100% Record Intact!

Ten times Marsh have faced Westcott and are still to taste defeat at their hands.  The record stretching back to 1996 was never in jeopardy,  but Mother Nature threatened to close in before the Last Rights could be read.

It started in the standard fashion with Skipper losing his 7th consecutive Toss and Mr Raynor electing to bowl.  A strategy he might want to reconsider for the teams’ next meeting as he has followed the same course each time, only to spend the proceeding couple hours chasing the ball around the park courtesy of the Marsh batsmen!

Though on the plus side for Westcott, Joe and Matt didn’t match the partnership of 150 between Stu and Matt on our last meeting, as they could only manage an opening stand of 131!   Joe was in a world of form and was coming forward to crisply despatch cover drives under the cars and into the field time after time (much better than poncing about trying to steer through Third Man Joseph!)   Fifteen 4’s and 85 runs later he was the first to fall.  Matt was playing an anchor role and I think he dropped at least 3 of them, reaching double figures in the 18th over!  Gregory came and went without creasing his Man at C&A Suit (white socks, really?) and then Skipper went to the wicket armed with bat and calculator!

When Matt departed for a battling 26, The Tamil Tubby walked out into the middle…and was clearly not happy with what he found there and marched back in again, but not before giving the keeper a bit of catching practice.

The 200 figure was an important target as this would bring maximum batting points and with a slim chance of promotion still dangling Skipper wanted all options to remain open.  Steady batting and calm heads were needed and first Crouch, then Jules and finally the scampering Guns controlled the final few overs to the rightful conclusion.  Indeed, when Jules pulled a classic maximum over deep square leg young Jacob calmly expressed his opinion on the shot and the innings in general “That’s Sick!”

Clouds had been amassing and during a magnificent Tea interval, the rain came down.  I am not sure what the collective noun for numerous umpires is?  But with Mr Summers, Frederico, Barry, Mr Standish and his partner all in attendance, not to mention The Greyhound Club Secretary, (who had decided the Gatepost could now stand up without assistance) there was no shortage of official opinions on the proceedings and after a spot of bailing out and about 30 minutes delay the match resumed.

Marsh set about the task in organised fashion and soon began to take wickets; first Crouch struck the timbers and then the Chairman got an edge to Skipper, before Skipper demonstrated the unconventional approach to stumping by kneeing the ball onto the stumps!  Another catch behind and Westcott were 39-4 off 13 overs and all was proceeding to plan.  Apart from the dark sky, that is, which was beginning to be a concern.  The game would not go the full course as Mr Standish had advised that proceedings would end at around 7.45pm. This would not be enough time for all 45 overs to be bowled.  Marsh must bowl out Westcott to win and get the necessary full 30 points.

A first ball of the ‘highest leg-side quality’ from Matthew took wicket number 5 and bowling in tandem with ‘do-I-get-extra-fantasy-points-if-I-catch-it-off-my-own-bowling-Pidge’, the two got through overs quickly and the required rate started to slowly rise….but this was not of concern – wickets were the order of the day.   Three wickets for Matt and two for Pidge in a steady flow just kept Marsh ahead of the weather!

With darkness continuing to descend Captain Raynor entered at number 11 to lead his team from the rear – an interesting concept in leadership which is still awaiting publication.  Game-fully he was looking to survive until play would have to be stopped, but Skipper brought back Crouch with no more than 20 minutes left and one swipe across the line later, and the deed was done!   Thirty Points Bagged!

The Pig was so well fed it appeared completely shattered by the occasion!

Later confirmation that Wantage and Swifts had both lost that same afternoon confirmed the importance of the victory.  And Marsh will start the final day requiring 5 points for promotion (at the first attempt).

The last game on 13th September carries the usual health warning to the liver!  Only this year it has double jeopardy because after the Pavilion antics we shall continue at the Beer Festival!  Then who knows where we shall end up?

There promises to be a considerable crowd after it was rumoured the fairy liquid will be making a return appearance……Please note all those under 18 will not be allowed alcohol and a supply of ice creams has been arranged for you…..

But most important of all…….DON’T FORGET YOUR SHIRTS!