The Gibbon returned to Base Camp and to a well prepared track looking every bit ‘The Road To Batting Paradise’ as Bob Hope might have said (if he’d played Cricket). The Wootton Skipper, Webb, certainly saw it that way when he called correctly and chose to bat first.
The day was sunny and dry with a slight breeze, perhaps welcomed by those MGFC players that had been out to the early hours and DOM without a doubt by the look of them! Scotty was back from Espana too, having evaded the Border Force with his mate Hugo who turned up still in his bearded disguise!
Big Stu laid out his plans before the start: Tight bowling and sharp fielding required. The words were still ringing in Joey’s ears as he spilled the first slip chance in only the 3rd over! Needham and Callow found the required line and length to restrict Morton and Benson from the start. And with only 15 from the first 6 overs Crouch went through Morton to strike the first blow. Wootton’s dangerous skipper Webb came to the middle and still Marsh bowlers gave little to attack. Benson bogged down on 8 after 11 overs desperately swung at Needham and Mitchell got into the action for the first time that day, but not the last, as he pouched a simple catch on the square. To Marsh’s delight and especially Cubby’s he clutched a sharp 2nd slip chance next over to dismiss Webb, off Crouch and Wootton were 35 for 3 off 13 overs.
Wootton looked to accelerate with Wiskin at the crease, but scoring only 20 from the next 7 overs brought more premeditated risky shots. Needham had moved Jules back outside the ring and on cue Wiskin dutifully picked him out! Jules took it on the run with aplomb.
Mitchell took over from Crouch and found a consistency that had eluded him so far this term. He was now getting it to go round corners – the right way. And on the hard track was also getting bounce and carry forcing the batsman to play late. This quickly created two sharp catches behind to Skipper in the gloves and Hugo (still in disguise) at 2nd slip, both taken.
Meanwhile O. Morton was playing the innings the wicket deserved and notched up a fluent 50, but with wickets tumbling around him, he needed to accelerate and Big Stu took the pace away to try and create the error with Vadivale’s tweakers. The plan worked and a top edge into the skippers gloves brought the 4th catch behind. Mitchell wrapped up the innings with his 4th and 5th scalps straight bowled. His inaugural Marsh 5fer (11-1-39-5) and much congratulating from his team mates as he led them from the field.
Tea was richly deserved and was a veritable feast of selections from crudités to classic quarter filled sarnies, and home made caaakkkeeee! Thanks to Amy and Mum Amy.
Joe and Jules opened up and Wootton immediately set the trap for the mistimed Hook with 2 catchers on the fence behind square, as Cam King banged in the occasional short ball. But hooking was not a required shot as Joe repeatedly clipped Wiskin to the boundary to keep the board clicking.
King was probing and found some good deliveries to bring the game abruptly level with a double strike removing both openers trapped in front and Marsh were suddenly 30-2 from 10. Marsh needed to consolidate and there’s no one more consolidated than Vadivale! In partnership with the Skipper, they kept things moving along. Webb had replaced Wiskin and was bowling with greater control, but the occasional err from line or length and Leonard pounced for a boundary and scoreboard pressure was kept in check.
A Marsh win was staring to look like a formality as 80 runs clocked by in the 23rd over and evening drinking plans were being hatched in the pavilion, that was until the 25th over when Vadivale (18) chipped lamely to mid on with Marsh on 83 – and a very useful partnership of 53 ended. Then in Webb’s next over, Skipper Leonard (40 including 6 4’s) missed a straight one and Guns Leonard (10) after 2 glorious pulls to the boundary (hitting the LES Mobile) edged a turning delivery to slip. The concern of 5 wickets down was looking calamitous when Scotty hit across the line as King returned to take the 6th wicket. From 85 for 2, Marsh were now 106 for 6.
Hugo and The Silver Fox were now in the middle neither having faced a ball and the opening bowlers back for the remaining overs. Although Hugo was still wearing his bearded disguise, his class with the bat was in plain view and with the Old-Timer, (familiar with this situation from many times before) the two set about a calm count down. A single here and a brace there they kept the board moving and didn’t even let a maiden pass.
30 runs were required and 30 runs were scored in 9 overs. Hugo finished unbeaten on 17 and The Silver Fox, who had started the game with ball in hand, finished it with the bat in hand (16*) 6 hours later.
Skipper presented James with the match ball and we look forward to it being the first such presentation of many. Well done you lanky streak of pi**!