The first T20 of the season, and a late rearrangement the team line up saw Simon Lee stepping aside, leaving an eleven packed with pace bowlers, and captained for the first time since Turville Park, [away], by Tim House; not that he still had nightmares about that day in the field.
Isis arrived early, as did the full MSCC contingent, including our club captain who might have sensed a chance to snaffle the Michael Martin award, or even sneak back onto one of the team sheets. History relates that our opposition are not always able to field a full team. As it turned out, Elliot Barton managed to find himself a game, and an innings, for our visitors.
Tim H duly lost the toss and the Isis skipper decided to bat; the lack of hesitation and his grin hinted at confidence.
On a wicket that looked slower than we have been used to, and potentially one that could prove sticky, alongside the decision to play with the pink ball (well done and thanks to Rob Barton, and Howard Lancaster), the bowling line up looked to be a captain’s dream. Tim C, Alex O, Simon P, Matt D and Rob B. Good toss to lose perhaps…
Of the two Isis openers, one looked dangerous, the other secure. But both of those attributes can be a benefit to the fielding team in a T20, on a MSCC track. However, the former soon dispatched the new pink ball into the newly grown long grass. On a gloomy evening, the delay could have proved a problem if we were out there batting after 8pm.
However, Tim Cranston soon outfoxed the dangerous opener, and he fell to a smart catch by Alex Ooms. Joe Moorman took a well-judged catch very soon after, off Simon P’s late in-swing and MSCC were on a roll.
The innings followed a pattern that MSCC had planned and bowled for. Frustrate the batsmen (and they were indeed scoring very slowly) which usually led to a flash of desperation, which in turn led to wickets falling at regular intervals. And it should be mentioned that the pink ball really was swinging considerably under the control of all five main bowlers. Tim C and Matt Dipple were bowling with considerable pace, with Rob, Simon P and Alex O moving it all over the place, whilst hardly conceding any runs.
Eventually even the “safe” opener, their captain, was overly frustrated and was another to fall, caught on the leg side. Elliot had managed to clip one over his father’s head to everyone’s amusement, apart from his father and the bowler, Simon Pettit. However, Simon had the final word and proceeded to bowl him.
Wickets were spread throughout this impressive quintet as Isis were pegged back to 85 for 7 in their allotted twenty overs. No catches spilled. A workmanlike and impressive T20 fielding display.
This part may not take too long to describe.
Under strict instructions not to let the run rate get out of hand, Joe M and Mark F-L opened the innings, and immediately tucked into the bowling. You would not have guessed it was a tricky wicket in fading, or gloomy light.
A couple of early highlights were Joe Moorman’s six that cleared Tim Cranston’s car (just) and landed behind the groundsmen’s shed.
On that note many congratulations and thanks to Nick Thompson and Simon Pettit for managing to even prepare the ground and a pitch. Amazing work.
Another mighty six from Mark soon followed, (that did manage to bounce off a car) and heralded the sight of a few off the MSCC batsmen unpadding, in the belief that this would be over in less than ten overs.
Too fast gentlemen, as Mark immediately followed one down the leg side and was caught behind.
Alex Silverman celebrated his season’s debut at number three, and (this is truly a non-sequitur) Ben Breaker, who had fielder like a panther (with hands obviously) was told to be ready at 4.
However, Joe Moorman and Alex S had other ideas; the latter smote two cracking boundaries, giving him a season’s strike-rate of 137.50, and Joe strode onto a stylish and quick-fire 50 as they won the game almost at the same time as Rona had once again managed to start the BBQ. Ben Breaker kindly took over and everyone feasted well.
Over a pint, their captain remarked that we would be visiting their home ground next year and they would smash us. He wasn’t joking, but he might be wrong…