Warwick 4th XI (H) 153-8 (50) def. by Northampton 1st XI (A) 156-9 (49.2) by 1 wicket
The 7th June saw an absolute thriller of a game between #YouFours and Northampton 1s. A strengthened 4th XI turned up to a glorious day and what appeared to be an absolute road. After some heated discussion between the ‘leadership group’, UWMCC won the toss and elected to bat first. Stand-in skipper Turner elected to open with himself and Nish in order to protect purported ‘gun’ player George Ballington from the new ball. This lasted all of three overs before Turner was trapped plumb in front and Ballo was in.
Ballo displayed some excellent stroke-play, punishing the short-pitched bowling from one end as he and Nish tried to keep out the one decent Northants bowler. However, Ballo (31) eventually perished going back and being trapped lbw by the decent bowler. The rest of the top order offered little resistance: Nish scratched around for 13 before being dismissed schnicked behind (keeper admittedly taking a gun grab); Carter (0) tried to bomb the spinner into Kenilworth and ended up nowhere; and Tembey was plumb lbw for a golden duck, spectators on the sidelines tried their best not to enjoy this.
Luckily, Nikhil Bolar showed the top 5 how it was done, batting all the overs available to him and keeping his head against the spinners. JEde’s no-nonsense approach to batting (and life in general) allowed him to support Nikhil as UWMCC rebuilt to 80-6. Bozza and Jinesh stayed around for a few balls, but both were tied down by the spinners. One was a mystery chinaman who turned it miles and had an unpickable straighter ball, according to Bozza. In reality he was just bowling areas and this did for Boz and Jinesh. A 40-run partnership between Nik and Murphy was the real highlight, as UWMCC batted the 50 for 153-8 and Nihkil finished 59*.
With something to bowl at, and buoyed with the knowledge that Northants were likely to be two guns bats and nine bodies, Turner and Robson opened the bowling. Despite the odd dispatched short ball, Robson and Turner restricted Northants to 30-2 off 10 and we were in with a sniff, Robson with two wickets. After Carter bowled their no. 3, Jinesh and Bozza were bought on, and Northants began to rebuild. Their number 4 batted nicely against the spinners for 34 before a brain-dead piece of cricket, picking out Ballo at cow, who took a smart catch and gave Boz his first wicket.
This would be the theme of the middle overs, as Ballo took not one, not two, but three catches all at cow corner off Bozza’s bowling. Jinesh was bowling with control at the other end, getting the only other set bat (24) lbw, and a smart stumping by JEde (one for the Barbados bank) bought Boz his fourth wicket and a sniff at a baggy. Northants were reeling at 125/8.
Unfortunately, neither spinner could dismiss the two tail-enders despite trying all sort of variations. Boz was unlucky not to collect his baggy with Jinesh making a valiant effort to take a diving catch from point around to third man (Bozza would go on to exact some unfortunate revenge in the next 4s game). Golden-arm Ballo was into the attack and managed to pick up the wicket off the no. 9, snaffled down the leg-side by JEde. All of a sudden Warwick were back in the game at 142-9, Northants still requiring 12 to win.
Warwick would fall agonisingly close, unable to pick up the wicket of the last bats. They scraped their way to the total in the last over, hitting a straight four of Ballo to take the day. Nikhil was MOTM for giving us something to bowl at in the first place, and most of the team were distraught at losing what was our biggest chance of safety in the division, especially given the manner of defeat.