Tim Young reports on a result that secured Premier League status
University of Warwick Men’s 1st XI vs Newcastle University 1st XI
Newcastle 162 All Out (43 Overs) lost to Warwick 163-8 (42.2 Overs)
On a glorious summer Sunday in leafy Warwickshire the men of the Warwick assembled at Fortress Cryfield to take on their visitors from Tyneside. With Simon Knott stuck in the library the captain’s armband was handed over to Tim Young, who many felt failed in his most important task of the day when he lost the toss and was duly asked to bowl first on what looked like a very flat pitch.
Fortunately for Young and for Warwick, Mark Phillips and Aashil both bowled well with the new ball, but without luck. A couple of catches went down in the outfield – Crick conspiring to make a mess of a catch that looked harder to drop (in the process endangering the structural integrity of his glasses) – and the acceptance that this could be a long 50 overs in the field fell on the Warwick players, who set about their task of restricting Newcastle by honouring modern coaching parlance and bowling ‘good areas’. With Crick having gotten through four overs unharmed and Mark having finished an excellent first spell unrewarded, sub-continental stars Nirru (described here as a promising all-rounder) and Varun entered the fray and started to turn the tide in favour of the home side. Some tight bowling, some good fielding and some bizarre batting saw Warwick keep the scoring rate down to 3 an over (although the length of the Cryfield outfield did also play its part; speculation as to the reasoning behind the generous levels of growth was rife, although it was eventually decided that it must be down to deficient equipment as opposed to tactical forethought), but whilst Newcastle were never running away with the game they did go into the last 20 overs with plenty of wickets in hand and were in a position to post a competitive total. That is until Captain Young indulged himself with a bowl and his part-time off-spin proceeded to cause the visitors to self-destruct. Young took a wicket in every over and finished with career-best figures of 5-10 as Newcastle collapsed from 100-3 to 162 All Out.
Tea mainly consisted of the players marvelling at England’s and more specifically Jade Dernbach’s deficiencies in the One Day Format and certainly there was much more optimism about Warwick’s chances of chasing 162 than there was about England’s chances of chasing 359. Such optimism seemed well place as openers Marjot and Varun progressed serenely through the opening overs until Varun chased a wide one and gave Newcastle their breakthrough. This brought to the crease Nirru and the fans were hoping to have reason to replicate the scenes of celebration that broke out when the Sri Lankan scored a century for his school – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_3EGzee81U). Attention on the sidelines turned to Nirru’s approach to playing spin (for the full uncensored version you will have to ask a member of the 1st team who played at Manchester last year to recount the anecdote) but was quickly brought back to the match when Newcastle decided to place 6 slips in the cordon for Marjot, whom they had clearly decided was incapable of playing in front of square. However it was to be Nirru who fell next for a quick 20 and he was very swiftly followed by Young who was well held at slip first ball. This classical Warwick collapse had turned what should have been a simple run chase into a nervy one and despite a number of mini partnerships the balance of power swung in favour of Newcastle for the first time in the day as Warwick lost Marjot for a battling 36, Siddarth, Faal and Mitten in quick succession, the latter two having good reason to feel aggrieved at the decisions they received.
With seven wickets down and more than 50 needed Warwick had left themselves a lot to do, but Nedmonds and the lower order were determined to see the side home and secure Premier League status for another year. Some resilient batting, that took advantage of the bad balls on offer, edged Warwick towards their target ten runs at a time. For a while the infamous Aashil slog-sweep appeased the nerves of the numerous supporters who had amassed to bask in the evening sun but he fell to leave the home side 8 down and still 20 runs short of the target. With Crick striding to the crease Nedmonds had clearly decided that he would have to score all 20 of the remaining runs and proceeded to controversially farm the strike; turning down singles to the cover boundary despite the protestations from his teammates. With the match in the balance, Newcastle brought back their opening bowler, but unfortunately he had clearly not been informed that no-balls cost his team 2 runs apiece and proceeded to overstep the mark on numerous occasions and bowl Warwick towards victory. Fittingly Nedmonds, who had played the perfect innings, hit the winning runs and Warwick had secured their Premier League status for yet another year. A great all round effort and a fantastic achievement.