Vora and Davis steal the show as UWMCC 4s further their bid for promotion with a hard-fought win against Worcester 3s.
After their blistering win against fellow Midlanders Aston 2s, Cryfield-residents UWMCC 4s were given another opportunity to climb up the table towards promotion. All the pre-match talk however had been focused on the weather, and with ominous heavy showers predicted for 1800 hours, the two captains agreed to reduce the match to 40 overs each way. Beauclerk went to toss, having lost 11 of his last 15 tosses, and only half-heartedly backed by probability, won the toss and elected to bowl.
Andy Davis took the first over, and on a pitch that had produced 300 runs in an innings against Birmingham the week before, he found more venom hiding within than legend would tell. Beauclerk partnered the islander with the new ball, finding some nice shape, but also guilty of overpitching on occasions. Davis then got one to spit up off a length, rocketing into the batsman’s box, and after 10 minutes interruption, he went off retired hurt. The new batsman, with a back lift a la Brian Lara or Jonny Bradshaw, dispatched a few to the boundary and looked confident from the outset. With the stalemate not broken by the two openers, Beauclerk brought on Berger-North, who sprayed leg-side wides like no tomorrow, resulting in a 14 ball over.
Vora replaced Davis, and the change of angle worked immediately, as some nice shape outdid the batsman and disturbed his timbers. Smulian replaced Berger-North, and a mis-timed hook was skied to Baun at midwicket, who took a good catch running backwards and to his left. An admittedly awful full bunger deceived the other opener, who missed it and was plumb LBW.
Vora continued, with the good posture of an 18th century aristocrat, and bowled the opposing captain. The retired batsman re-entered to the fore, with a runner needed. Conversation on the sidelines went along the lines of “How are the balls mate? One’s ok.” With reduced mobility but still confident in his strokeplay, he was the only real thorn in Warwick’s side. Vora provided the breakthrough however, trapping him LBW. The next bastman fell to the same fate, and the next was bowled, giving Vora the first 5 wicket haul of his young career, and a place on the coveted honours board at Cryfield.
Smulian persisted in his efforts, and extra bounce and seam saw the batsman feather one to Jewson behind the stumps. Fern was brought on, and tidy leg breaks made the bastman drift out of his crease, with Jewson cleaning up behind. “You know you can just take the bails off” said one umpire to the Juice, who had made a demolition job out of the stumps.
An impressive fightback in the field, with Vora finishing with brilliant figures of 8-2-23-5, which saw the Worcester outfit bowled out for 114 in 32.3 overs.
A Brit’s history is one littered with stories of people making it difficult for themselves. The German Spring Offensive of 1918, Liverpool conceding 3 before coming back in Istanbul, England losing 7 wickets chasing 129 at Trent Bridge in 2005 are all examples of the great British tendency to always make it interesting for the one reporting, at the expense of the nerves of those watching.
Bellm and Howe started off proceedings for Warwick, and were instantly pegged back by an impressive opening spell by the 2 Worcester openers. Bellm fell to one that straightened, back in the hutch LBW, Howe was undone by a straight one, Watts played all round a yorker on off-stump, and Jewson feathered one to the keeper. Another yorker saw the end of Baun’s resilient defence, as the ball somehow looped up invitingly to mid-off. Davis joined Beauclerk out in the middle, a bit earlier than expected, at 27-5.
The captain’s only orders were not to let the ship go down. They were faced however with a fired-up opening bowler, chasing his fifth wicket to have his name engraved alongside Vora’s on the Honours Board. The two held tight, seeing him off, and slowly – with the emphasis on the ‘slowly’ – edging towards the target. Davis took advantage of a tiring second bowler, cover driving to the boundary, cutting and flicking with the same outcome. The two got ample practice for the forward defensive, the leave, and let the kind chap called Extras take care of the rest.
When the heavens opened, Warwick were 89-5 off 27 overs, a 62 run partnership between the two, with Davis on 35 off 59, and Beauclerk on a fittingly snail-like 9 off 46. The giraffe and frog hopped aboard the Ark, letting the rain do the rest, as the match was washed out and Warwick were awarded the win through a better run rate (3.3/over to Worcester’s 2.9).
A trip to top-of-the-table Oxford Brookes tomorrow will no doubt be another challenge for the UWMCC men, but one that they will definitely be willing to take up.
Man of the match: Alay Vora for his impressive 5 wicket haul/ Andy Davis for his match-saving knock.
Champagne moment: When delivered a saucy beamer, Davis leaning back and helping it on its way over the slips for four.
Dick of the day: Jewson for taking more catches than runs scored in this year’s BUCS competition.