One Day Competition - President Cardinals vs St Albans, Ilam #3, Presidents, 19th January 2013
This game became a lottery towards its end, but unfortunately, one where literally the final ball didn't quite tumble our way. In fact Bertie's involvement in the last ball of each innings probably won't have such focus again in the rest of his cricketing career.
We don't often get to play on Ilam 3, a nice little ground on the western site of the field, but also a heat bowl on warm days, and this was really hot, surely 30 plus at times. Whilst no one particularly wanted to field in the heat, we had no choice when Saints won the toss and decided to bat (but actually as it turned out, the slightly cooler time to field). They started well, in fact very well considering the few of us who saw more issues with the track, after a couple of wet days, than actually proved to be the case. They maintained a four run rate for much of the first 15 overs or so, and with wickets in hand throughout most of the innings, Jimmy Alabaster's 82 not out from no. 3 was able to play their mainstay. However, we managed to get that back towards 3..5 in the middle stages of the innings, and with some good death bowling, not much more than 4 at the end when they finished at 172/5.
It was a very good bowling and fielding display from our guys (the latter clearly better than Saints who missed a few easier catches). Making a rare appearance at the crease, bearing in mind his "dicky" calf, Matt Loose for mine was clearly the pick of the bowlers, and again highlighting what we miss when it keeps him away. But all the bowlers bowled well with no one really going for much more than fours. Whilst there was a couple of catches dropped; Flem's well struck high return catch, and Bertie's last ball non-catch on the boundary (more on that later), the overall standard was very good. The highlight was Kev's standout high, wide, and almost behind him, take at mid-off, from a massive drive that must surely win the catch of the season award. And that's not to mention Geoff's very competent display behind the stumps that makes him look like he's always been there.
A run chase of 173 on that track would normally be approached with more confidence, but recent batting form suggested a real test - so it proved to be. The fact that we got it down to the last ball of the match was almost solely due to Kev Moore's 78. This was one of Kev's most mature innings, where despite the heat, he seemingly had the run chase under control for most of the innings; careful when it was necessary, but with the ability to strike a boundary when it truly became required. Spency's return to the team ensured a better opening partnership of 29, the best in 4 matches, and it was disappointing to see him run out when he looked set to play the anchor for Kev's innings (Indeed equally was Matt's high LBW, but I won't go there Flem). Yogi did well with a solid 21, but we struggled to form a match winning partnership from there. with the best being Kev & Ralphy's 42 that took us through to 153/6, and a probable match winning position. At that point we required 5 an over with 4 overs to go, but then Kev got out and the drama started, a game in miniature developed.
Flem came and went quickly, retired with a pulled groin taking one of the quick singles that were needed at that stage - then Jason came to the crease and gave us a real chance. An inside out lofted four over cover took some pressure off, but then when a low scoring 3rd over pushed us up to 6 per over, we eventually required 8 off the last over, 8 wickets down. Two impossibly run two's by Jason off the first two balls made it 4 needed off 4 balls, then a dot ball, a two, and finally just two runs required off two balls, but with the field now well up around the bat. Wicket! Jason bowled second last ball, no run, and out strides Bertie requiring two runs off the final ball to win it. The obvious decision was for Bert to attempt the two, and barring that, no matter what, try to run the single for the tie. A swing and a miss, and KC run out two-thirds of the way down without facing a ball.
Despite the disappointing result, it was an otherwise enjoyable game played in good spirits with only Jules and Jonny Price sledging each other, but you'd expect nothing else from those niggly two). Man of the match was undoubtedly Jason Miller who came back from an apparent visit to the dairy between innings with a chilly bin full of ice and beers (special mention to Kev who also did OK).
Check out the scorecard from the game.