It was perhaps the hottest day of the year so far and a poor toss for rookie Captain James Weir to lose. The pitch was bone dry and whitish in appearance. Nuxley were pleased to sit under the shade of the old oak trees as The Exiles fielders worked up a sweat, even before they started bowling. Old timer Paul Shorrock bent his back and bowled with some penetration but Heaney and Hahn were content to nudge the ball square when it was on the stumps or nick it over the slips when it was outside off stump. Chances came and went but only difficult ones. Kyle admonished himself for not holding a low chance to his right at slip, even though nobody else on the field would have even got a hand to it. James rested himself after only three overs but bowled Paul out at the far end. A crazy run nearly gifted the wicket of Heaney when Paul gathered the ball cleanly in his follow through but then threw hard at the wicket and missed when he had time to underarm gently to Roric who was poised by the bails. Rob Anderson, sleepless from a night on the razzle bowled with more zip than might be expected and his encouraging cries of "Look alive!" seemed ironic considering his cadaverous appearance. He too failed to make the breakthrough in spite of beating and finding the edge several times. Tony Brook was embarassed to appeal for a catch in the gully that he had to concede that he'd caught on the half-volley, nothing malicious. A skier fell safely between Doug and Guy at midwicket and mid-on respectively as neither called and both declined.
Eventually it was big Stephen O'Connor who broke the opening partnership, his extra bounce inducing Heaney to lob one to Steve Du Preez who took a good catch. John Hahn rode his luck to make a valuable fifty before his attempt to pull Steve Du Preez caused him to trod on his wicket. Martin Jones, still recuperating from a gall bladder removal, looked in scintillating form, penetrating the off side cover fielders like keyhole surgery. Stephen O'Connor then had to pull up after one ball of his fifth over, the hard surface and his vigorous action combining to put too much pressure on his weakened knee joint. Doug Macintyre was chosen as the man to finish his over and did for Jones with his lack of bounce, the first of three wickets, all clean bowled. This period represented a slight comeback for The Exiles, the run rate dipped a bit after the essential drinks break and Nuxley's fine foundation was not yielding the benefit it deserved. Nuxley persevered though and some impetus was added by A Hudson who's 42 came at a good rate and had James' Captaincy stretched somewhat as he shuffled his fielders in and out and the ball went wherever he had moved someone from the ball before. Rob Anderson picked up a wicket in his last over, too quick for Harris. A flurry of runs in the final overs lifted Nuxley above the psychologically important 200 mark, aided by a few byes that went to the short boundaries. The Exiles went to tea, hot, tired and feeling like the luck had gone against them but that it was a sporting total on what was still a reasonable batting wicket and a very fast outfield.
|M Heaney||Ct Du Preez||SD O'Connor||29|
|J Hahn||Hit Wicket||S Du Preez||51|
|M Jones||Bowled||D Macintyre||27|
|S Saunders||lbw||S Du Preez||4|
|T Russell||Bowled||D Macintyre||3|
|M Harris||Ct SD O'Connor||Anderson||0|
|Total||129 all out|
|S Du Preez||8||0||42||2|
Most of this season the Exiles have been hampered by a lack of regular openers, Sean O'Connor has been pursuing his career as a punk guitarist and Kevin had that hand injury. Occasionally a stand-in opener excels themselves, like Stephen with his maiden ton a fortnight ago but often the extra challenge of facing an opening bowler with a shiny ball is too much. Doug Macintyre certainly seemed to struggle with the extra pace of Hudson, edging behind in the first over but the catch wasn't held. He also edged along the ground for four but then played on off a back foot defensive shot. Stephen O'Connor seemed like he'd carried over some form from his last innings and looked pretty comfortable but he left one from Hudson that came back and bowled him. Steve Du Preez managed to hit three boundaries off Hudson's last over but then fell to his brother A who has less pace but more direction. Kyle Holling had hung around a while but showed none of the fluency we have been used to, when he was caught off Andrews it was a surprise that he had not yet scored a run. A duck will have done nothing to cheer him up as he slips from being Mr. Laid-Back to Mr. Grumpy. The only cure is a session in the nets, hitting the ball until it comes naturally. Rob Anderson, who'll bat anywhere in the order, sleep or no sleep, took on what should be one of the most coveted batting slots at number five but only managed two before becoming Andrews' second victim. Roric steadied the ship and with Tony Brook, the last recognised batsman, out first ball it was quite a wobble at 62 for 6. Gerry Stentiford, playing his first Exiles innings did everything right, took his time and very few chances, allowing Roric to do the bulk of the scoring, the pair added 41 runs. Thanks to some typical forceful shots from Roric the run-rate was still okay but the lack of wickets in hand was a major worry. Russell's leg breaks provided the breakthrough, removing Gerry and Roric and he was kept on as the tail collapsed. Saunder's bowled James then Paul managed to play on a full toss that was missing leg stump to bring the whole sorry mess to a farcical end with loads of overs left. A fine win for Nuxley and revenge for the close game at their ground earlier this season.
|S D O'Connor||bowled||Hudson||11|
|S Dupreez||Bowled||Hudson A||18|
|Total||28.5 overs||all out||111|
Nuxley bowling figures:
Next up The Pretenders away at home (so to speak).