The last match of the season was upon us and we had a new look team as many of our usual XI found other things to keep them busy on a Saturday. This meant first Saturday appearances of the season for Mikey Konschell and Ben Rendell as we struggled to ten players. Despite this we had one of our longer warm ups of the season, and learned that Colin, in his final appearance as skipper, had lost the toss (why change the habit of a lifetime?!) and we were asked to field.
We laboured for some time before our first wicket, although on another day with eleven players and a bit more luck with the ball going to hand, we might have got it earlier. That said, Ryan bowled an excellent opening spell without success and Will couldn’t force a breakthrough either. Mikey and Barry were the replacements, and Barry started off nicely, managing to knock the stump out the ground and gain us our first wicket with the score in the 70s. Sadly his line to the incoming left-hander was all over the place, though, and he was despatched for some big runs past point and gully after bowling many full tosses. It was one of these full tosses that eventually brought him another wicket, however, caught at gully; an amazing one handed grasp above his head by Will.
At the other end Mikey was bowling tightly, and eventually gained some success when the opener nicked behind to Ben Rendell, who was keeping. The batsman reluctantly left the pitch and Mikey saw for the next batsmen first ball, too, bowling him. He was as close to a hat trick as he could ever be, too, as he forced the incoming batsman (who Barry ‘remembered from last time’!) into an inside-edge which narrowly evaded the stumps. With the run rate remaining high as ever, we were beginning to take wickets and hoped to be able to get all ten before the runs got too much to chase. Our cause was helped after Will replaced Colin, who had bowled a 3 over spell without success. He got two wickets in his first over back – one a catch at the wicket by Ben, and the very next ball he bowled the incoming batsman to put our second bowler of the match on a hat-trick. Although this was not to be, he snared a third wicket his next over when the batsmen prodded to NiB at point.
Mikey finished a twelve over spell with 3-44 and PicNic took over at his end. If Barry had been standing in the right place he would have had a wicket with his first ball, but alas it was not to be. Instead his over went for 14 and he was instead replaced by Barry. Barry got a third wicket when the batsmen hit to Ian at deep cow corner, where he just about clasped the chance between his knee and the back of his hand. Ryan then finished off the innings at 220 all out when he forced the last batsman to hit in the air to Colin, who took a good catch running round at mid-off.
Colin, on hot form after last week, opened the batting with NiB. They got us off to a great start with some clean hitting off the front foot and we were racing along at 5 an over. Fate was tempted more than a couple of times as they saw us past 50 and then past 100 and the watching fans all declared the two were ‘looking very comfortable’. Colin in particular was in imperious form and he saw himself to a rapid 50. He kept going and going, working the leg-side boundary with regularity. Will proposed that he would reach 100 before NiB reached 50, and he achieved this off 88 balls as he bashed his way to his second century in succession.
NiB later commented that it had been a pleasure to watch him from the other end, but he was batting just as well, playing a customary reserved role. He was well worth his 50 which he brought up the over after Colin’s hundred, and from there the two continued going, until with the score on 205 Colin holed out to mid-wicket for a breathtaking 126, to warm applause from everyone at the ground. On the sidelines Barry breathed a sigh of relief, as it apparently meant he ended the season with the highest average of any of our batsmen – but only by a small margin! Mikey was bowled before the end, attempting to win the match with a big shot, but fittingly it was Nick who hooked a full toss for four to see us over the line for a comfortable 8 wicket win and a personal total of 75*.
Colin and Nick’s partnership had been truly remarkable and evidently it had a positive effect on the watching players, as the banter didn’t plumb its usual depths and everyone behaved very well. Ben kept excellently and there were no drastic pieces of terrible fielding. All in all it was a pleasant end to a disappointing season for us; as we finished fourth in the table but with high hopes for next season.
Champagne Moment was Will’s one-handed pluck from mid air. Also nominated were a 6 over the top from Colin, and both Mikey and Will’s two wickets in two balls.
Pig’s Ear was NiB – for tucking his bat under his arm and walking off, even though the ball had disappeared to the third man boundary! Also nominated were Baz for walking in from the boundary and missing the opportunity to take PicNic’s first Saturday wicket, Ryan for dropping a catch at fine leg (which actually turned out to be a no-ball – luckily for him!) and Mikey for fannying out of a catch at fine-leg, and giving away four runs in the process.
Man of the Match was of course Colin. NiB very much deserved a nomination too, for 75*. It’s not every day you bat like that and fail to win an award!