On Wednesday, as a strong Nottingham Trent 3s side arrived at Cryfield, the #youfours bandwagon was ready to continue its steady push towards promotion. After a gentle warm-up involving a revival of ‘The Grid’, one of this country’s most beloved fielding drills, which inexplicably no one had heard of, the toss took place. Nottingham Trent won it and put the 4s into bat.
Jono Cook (0) fell early but the Yeti and Ben Stephenson stabilised the innings, putting on an excellent century stand for the 2nd wicket. However, a traditional UWMCC collapse was just around the corner. Firstly, the Yeti deftly guided the ball onto his stumps to end his fine knock of 75. Stephenson followed on 51 in probably the most bizarre dismissal in Cryfield history. Trying to flick a full ball through mid-wicket, it hit Stephenson’s back pad, ballooning onto the back of his bat from the unsuccessful shot, and somehow found its way into the keeper’s hands who was appealing for the L.B.W. Gujar continued his fine run of form with another duck, ‘sabotaging’ many a fantasy team. Piers Fisher (10) and Freddie Larkins (0) also fell cheaply and a couple of hefty blows from Hall (7) and Clobber (7) did little to alleviate matters. The skipper chipped in with an invaluable 25 but when he fell, the 4s were 210-9 with 5 overs remaining. However, some rather ugly blows from Rob Stileman (15*) and Sherbhaz Afridi (18*) enabled the total to creep up to 238-9 from the allotted 50 overs.
Sittampalam’s men entered the field knowing that if they bowled tightly and backed it up with good fielding then they would have every chance of taking the spoils. The opening spells from Stileman and Clobber did exactly that with Trent’s openers struggling to get it past the infield. Gujar at one stage felt obliged to comment that one of their opener’s had a strike rate of approximately 6 (at least he had one)! Both bowlers took a wicket each and after 15 overs Trent found themselves at 46-2. However, as the innings progressed Trent began to assert themselves and at drinks they were 90-2. Skipper Sitampalam turned to Larkins who, as so often is the case, provided the much need breakthrough, bowling their number 3 (47) just as he looked set to guide them to victory. The required rate continued to creep up as Larkins claimed another victim and Jonny Hall got in on the action too.
With 10 overs remaining Trent needed 83 more for victory and the match seemed to be there for the taking. Alas, the game slipped away from us at the last. Some very sloppy fielding failed to back up the bowling in the last few overs and Trent got across the line in the final over, their number 5 leading the way with an excellent 67*. It was a bitter pill to swallow, especially after the team had done so well to wrestle back control of a match which, as all the best cricket games do, ebbed and flowed till the final over. Unfortunately, the loss has scuppered any chance of promotion for #youfours, but if they win their remaining matches then it will still have been an excellent season.
To end this report on a happier note, I thought I would share with you these two snapchats received by Jonny Hall’s sister, a student at Nottingham Trent University, from two respective members of the Nottingham Trent 3rd XI…