Exiles v Hornets at Honour Oak 10 May 1998

Exiles badly stung by Hornets

On the hottest day of the year (so far), newly-wed Vice captain Paul Shorrock standing in for injured Tony Brook, won the toss with an Eastern Carribean Dollar (like a 50p piece with too many sides) and decided to bat on what looked like a belter of a wicket. Sean O'Connor and James Booth (wearing the yellow and black hooped cap of the opposition) opened the batting. Immediately bonus runs were given away by the stand-in wicketkeeper as the first two deliveries from Tregeard (?) beat everything and thudded into the sightscreen, the third ball was a wide. Sean swung and missed at everything. James soon benefitted from four overthrows as the Hornets seemed keener to show off thier throwing skills than their backing-up skills. Glares from the bowler and catcalls from teammates did little to iron out the problem and at least another ten runs were to be gifted that way before the close, but it did produce one run out, eventually, when Sean O'Connor fell for 62, to follow his 61 last week, in the dying overs. Before then James Booth had fallen to a splendid one-handed catch in the gully from the Captain Marcus Williams' first ball, a rank long-hop, so it goes. Wayne Holder then added 38 in a stand of 81 before being caught and bowled of a full blooded drive that may have decapitated Fox had he not held the catch. Keith Marchbank continued his rennaisance with some punchy cuts and pulls and a bit of nurdling until he fell to a catch off Williams. Nick Coleman struck a swift and wristy 33 not out inspite of his hangover and sore leg ably supported by Dominic Woods who added some urgency to procedings with his quick singles until he too fell to a good catch. Naem Khan swung lustily and briefly, managed only a single before he too was caught, brother Waseem got a first baller slashing to gully, for the sixth catch of the innings. Chris Cheshire survived on 1 not out, his first run for two seasons. Nick managed to get the score past 200 with a nice straight drive and the Exiles retired to tea fairly satisfied that 202 for 7 was a sporting score and that The Hornets would have to play well to overtake it.

The first ball of Paul Shorrock's over, indeed his first of the season, was a little short as could be expected and was pulled for four through square leg, two balls later he strayed onto leg stump and was again hit square for four, nine came from the first over, just as it had from the Hornets', but nine came from Wayne's first over too, and the Hornet batsmen soon began to enjoy the batting conditions, as the bowlers toiled, the fielders missed chances that on another day would have been held, and before long The Hornets were in the box seat. The Khan brothers were brought into the attack and Naem brought a degree of control, but the score was still moving along nicely and, still chances were shelved. Chris Cheshire was brought on into the wind to toss his looping leg breaks, which caused a moments concern to the batsmen when pitched up, but gave easy runs to leg when dropped short, he did however get the breakthrough, removing the opener who had done most damage when a chance off bat and pad looped up for James running round from behind the stumps to pouch an easy catch. A harder chance skied to Keith running in from deep square leg was shelved and a close stumping chance was turned down, but all in all there were few alarms as the Hornets closed on the Total. Steve Howard was given too short a spell to settle into a rhythym with his more twirly leg breaks and in an attempt to stem the tide Paul brought himself back into the wind and Naem from the far end. For the first time in the innings a degree of pressure was exerted, both bowlers beating the edge, or finding the edge but beating the field. Shorrock desperate appeal for lbw against Fox was upheld, to give a crumb of comfort but not precipitating the collapse that might save the Exiles. Waseem Khan brought reluctantly into the attack with only three runs needed for victory gained a consolation wicket, the only clean bowled in either innings, which says something of the quality of the batting and of the batting surface, but two ball later it was all over with an emphatic straight drive that mirrored Nick Coleman's at the end of the Exiles innings. Hornets win by seven wickets, as comprehensive a defeat as the Exiles can remember. The sun shone all day, the sandwiches were better than last season and the pitch was one to be proud of; other than that not much cheer for the Exiles.

Next week's fixture against Rode in Somerset has been cancelled (by them) because it clashes with the FA Cup Final, god how I hate Football!
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