UWMCC’s fours arrived at cryfield on a delightful summers day without a cloud in sight for perhaps the biggest match of the fours season against bitter local rivals Coventry 2s. With the side having failed to get off the mark in the league in their first two games of the season, this fixture was considered the short wide delivery that every batsman dreams of as he strolls to the crease. As the sun shone down, the peaceful serenity was finally broken by Gemes’ particularly loud voice echoing the sentiments of the team with the cries of “Bat first day” and “That’s the M25 out there”. However much to the dismay of his side, Ballo questioned this sound logic saying he would love to bowl first and that losing the toss would be ideal as it wouldn’t risk losing the dressing room.
Fortunately, the other captain obliged and elected to bat, leaving the 4s with what looked like a rather long 50 in the dirt. The umpires being well acquainted with Coventry, decided to give our whole team some advice that they in fact had multiple 1s players in their side (only a small drop of 3 divisions) and one that if we failed to remove it would be a long hard day. Safe to say this only filled the side with confidence having come in seeing this as a winnable game. After an incredibly uninspiring team talk from the skipper, the boys headed out into the supposed storm.
Coventry’s openers left the blocks with surprising speed with some ropey looking tee shots from one end and some high-class cricket from the certified gun. They raced into the 30s for no loss inside 5 overs off the bowling of Curtis and Choppy with no less than 3 drops of Coventry’s own Bubba Watson. 300 looked on the cards and a torrid time in store for the team. Then in a stroke of genius Choppy decided to bowl a cross seam delivery to negate the hooping inswing that would go on to define the day. The edge of the gun bat found and Ballo a willing recipient at first with a low catch. Setting the standard for the rest of the day in the field with not a single mistake from the side, the storm began but it would infact be ours as the wickets began to tumble, Curtis joining the party picking up the next 2 for very few. Number 5 walked in and instantly took a shining to Gemes’ “interesting” chat, after a booming drive straight to a fielder, Seb’s eyes lit up as the bat wheeled round to respond in an incredibly angry voice “Watch what you say when you’re playing this standard”. A couple of balls later and multiple angry exchanges the batsmen chipped a drive to Topper dropping a very loud C-Bomb whilst in the air. Seb enjoying having chatted out a 1s batsman gave him a helping hand in finding the shed with a ludicrous dance. The seamers had found their rhythm and were enjoying a spell of high class bowling picking up more wickets with encouraging regularity, leaving the oppo 77-7 off 17 overs.
A harsh call from Ballo taking Choppy out of the attack despite requiring only one more for the elusive 5fer/Baggy combo, replacing him with Sam King. The offspinner displayed incredible control despite his complaints about the ball, picking up 1 wicket amongst a handful of runs and several maidens. At the other end Dan Reed replaced Curtis who having completed a 9 over spell, looked about as mobile as Ballo on the dance floor. Dan bowled 4 overs for 4 runs, 3 of which were wides, Coventry had recoiled into their shell and were simply playing to survive. A partnership began as their number 6 took himself to 30 whilst joining in the Bieber related banter around Dan’s hair by asking his bat “Where are you now that I need you”. Ballo decided he would turn his arm over. Alas another master stroke, breaking the partnership, trapping his first Bucs victim leg before. Sam King finished the job collecting their number 11 without troubling the scorers and Coventry were bowled out for 101. An incredible fielding performance excluding the first 5 overs, Choppy having the pick of the figures with 4-31 off 8 overs and deserving of more. Curtis ended 3-37 off his 9, together providing the most potent seam attack I have personally witnessed on a Cryfield pitch.
Veteran Alex Walker on his return to Bucs cricket after several years out, headed out alongside Sam Topper with the aim of chasing 101. One might imagine him to be rusty after such a long break, however what followed was a masterful innings. The second over saw the introduction of a quick that would proceed to place his mark on the 30 yard circle causing Warwick to laugh hysterically at what is surely a waste of effort. His first delivery borderline impossible to see from the boundary, zipped past walkers throat and carried to a keeper standing equally far back as the laughable run up. It made sense. This left the rest of the top order praying not to be required to make the long walk to the middle with all the subtlety of Turner on the pull post circle. Thankfully the openers did an incredible job, Walker demonstrating with authority his ability to score runs and look top class doing it and Topper soaking up deliveries off a high quality seam attack. We went to 70 for no loss in 16 overs, until Coventry turned to spin at one end. Walker was dismissed lbw to the spinner for in reality a match winning knock of 46 in a small chase that has so often been the demise of the club.
Taha joined Topper at the crease, the latter of whom was dismissed for an important 14 in the penultimate over of the quick who had finally figured out that hitting the stumps is an important part of being a bowler. One more over to survive of the seamer and the game was in touching distance as Ballington sauntered out with a real swagger to proceed to put the dog spinner to the boundary with regularity. At the other end calamity struck as Taha headed back to the hut bat under arm for 4 as the seamer continued his destructive ways. Gemes headed out with 3 balls to survive, ball 1 whizzed over his head, an impressive feat considering his 6’5 frame. Ball 2 flew by outside off and Seb swung to no avail. One more he muttered to himself. Ball 3- cleaned up with a peach of a delivery that would be too good for most, responding in a humbling manner saying he was “simply too quick for me” a fair observation considering. Seb continuing an impressive bucs run of sending more items post dismissal than balls whilst batting.
Ballo took it to the end trying to play the captains role and see it over the line, however sadly fell trying to hit a six to win it. 22 from just 14 deliveries made finishing it off all the easier. Blaming his teams unwillingness to move the sight screen considering it being the end of the game he was left enraged but was cheered up by Rhys Probert finishing it off from the next ball with a wonderful lofted cover drive. Finished by 5 the boys were able to enjoy the end of the 2s match before the last circle pre exams. With the club winning all 3 fixtures, the night promised to be a big one and for many it did not disappoint as many clubmen partied with Disco Dave well into the early hours.