Walton-on-Thames has a wonderful cricket ground which no doubt has seen some spectacular matches over the years. But our latest game must surely rank among the most exciting played there in a long time.
The evening got off to a bang with a first ball wicket – clean bowled by Ben.
This early dominance for the Richmond bowlers was short lived as the WoTs fought back with a beautifully constructed second wicket partnership. Some strong hitting by both batsmen led to them being retired at the regulation 30. Retirements were to become an important feature of the game!! Arthur was keeping things very tidy behind the stumps as we conceded a mere 3 byes in the innings (to WoTs 5 – a crucial difference)
Our bowlers worked hard to contain the onslaught and the WoTs closed on 154 for 4 off of 20 overs.
At the change of innings the lads were a little glum but with a reminder that we’d scored more than 150 twice already this season on grounds with much larger boundaries we had every reason to give it a go. The lads were reminded to keep a close eye on the scoreboard and to utilise their 8 times tables when assessing how they were doing.
We got off to a shaky start with two run outs among 3 early dismissals– scoreboard pressure was playing its part. The winning score was looking a long way off when James and then Tom came to the crease. The game then took on the nature of an IPL Twenty-Twenty game with both players crashing 4s and 6s to all parts of the ground. Fred’s sister will surely never forget this match especially when James crashed the hardest shot of the night straight back past the bowler for a 6 to long off or what we will now call Crowther Corner. To shouts of LOOK OUT, evasive action was taken in the nick of time as the ball whistled past the spectators and was last seen sailing mid-air for the Homebase car park. What WoT did so did we – with James and Tom our own pair of retirees. Nicholas spent Monday afternoon in the nets at ODP working on his batting in readiness for today’s game and his hard work paid off with a first ball 4 but fell on 11. Arthur scored a quickfire 5 including another first ball 4 to keep us right up with the run rate ....but the wickets were falling too quickly. Josh was not seeing much of the strike but hit his own boundaries when he got the chance. A couple of quick wickets led to Leon being the last man in to join Josh. With 4 overs to go and 30 runs needed and no wickets left (bar the retirees). Rule books were consulted. The correct ruling that retired players may not return in this league was agreed to but with telephone consultations on-going as the game reached boiling point; unnecessarily so, as it turned out, as Josh and Leon steered their way to the final over.
So it was that ten were needed off of the last six with no wickets remaining. With two balls left and the deficit one run, Leon duly crashed a 4 through midwicket to seal the match – “Never in doubt” he whispered to me as the boys justifiably celebrated an amazing victory.
Well played lads