The hottest day of the year and humid with it. Nuxley won the toss and decided to bowl, much to the relief of the Exiles who were glad not to have leave the shade except to bat or umpire. The pitch was dry and dusty, the outfield shorn and hard. there looked to be a lot of runs to be had. Nuxley opening bowler Martin Jones had other ideas, his run up started by the sightscreen and he thundered in to deliver medium pace. Sean edged him through slips for four in his first over then he didn't concede a run again until his fifth (and final) over. Good work in the conditions. At the other end Tony was working hard to rid himself of the demons that have plagued him all season. He got off the mark with a dabbed four to backwards point that equalled the sum of his last four innings and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Whilst never back to his belligerent best his 13 marks a recovery of some sort, whereas his dismissal, bowled by young tearaway T Hudson heralded a mini collapse of dramatic proportions, Wayne Holder and Andy Brook both lost their off stumps first ball to give Hudson a splendid hat-trick. It must have gone to his head a little because thereafter he never regained any control and his next two overs conceded 20 runs, 16 of them extras, a ragged bag of wides, no-balls and a deadly beamer that nearly decapitated plucky Stephen Brown. He also tagged Stephen on his un-protected thigh with a full pitch but Brown bravely stayed in line and drove to the long-off boundary later in the over, effectively ending T Hudson's spell. Quite the bravest bit of batting I've seen on any side this season. With Sean O'Connor he regrouped and when the latter fell for 25 some sort of calm after the storm had been regained. Ian Barker edged a good one and fell for 4, then Naem Khan settled in to a steady partnership with Stephen, content to work the singles and punish the bad ball. Stephen was then bowled by A Hudson, a slower but more accurate sibling for a 23 that was worth twice that in the context. Laiq, a cousin of Effie's who passes through these parts occasionally as he moves between continents, had a bright knock for 9 before he too was bowled. Tom McLaughlin then made his season opener for the Exiles, one of the most recalcitrant of the reluctant Exiles, you would think he didn't enjoy his Cricket, or that he wasn't any good, but he always brings to mind a right-handed Neil Fairbrother with his impish running and cunning deflections. He always seems to be grinning too as he nips back and forth. Before you knew it he had accumulated 22 at better than a run a ball but he too was bowled in the final over, leaving Naem on 45* at the non-strikers end and only skipper Paul Shorrock and three deliveries left. The first of these was a nice leg-side wide of a sighter, the next nimbly worked to fine leg for the single giving Naem strike and 2 balls to reach the land-mark. An agricultural on-drive was made into a desperate two, the throw was even more desperate and went to the third man boundary as the second run was completed! Six runs to Naem, 51 not out, one ball left. Another quick single, a shy at the bowlers end, it hits but the batsmen are safe, they steal another as the deflection takes the ball into vacant space. 201 the final total, Naem happy with 53* Paul pleased with his 1* ("the best 1* of my career!")
|S O'Connor||bowled||A Hudson||25|
|T Brook||bowled||T Hudson||13|
|W Holder||bowled||T Hudson||0 (first ball)|
|A Brook||bowled||T Hudson||0 (first ball)|
|S Brown||bowled||A Hudson||23|
|I Barker||Ct keeper||M Gillam||4|
|E Usman||Bowled||R Waller||10|
|T McLaughlin||Bowled||J Andrews||22|
Tea was taken in the sauna-like clubhouse, The Exiles feeling pretty clever to have recovered from a slow start and a sudden collapse to post a competitive total. Captain Shorrock warned against complacency, With only 3 fully fit bowlers and the sun still hot it was going to be hard work in the field.
Paul Shorrock opened the bowling with Naem Khan, stalwarts John Hahn and Martin Jones opened the batting for Nuxley. Hahn was stonewalling, Jones more expansive, chasing Naem's fast but short and wide stuff outside off stump. Naem was taken off after 3 overs to be tried again later and replaced with Effie in the hope of a breakthrough. It came in Shorrock's fifth over, Hahn who had been content to prop forward on the line of off stump was undone bay the simple ruse of one angled in from the edge of the crease that hit off stump, Hahn looked bemused. It was noted that Jones had been scoring his runs behind square then as if he had heard hit the next three balls straight to take ten off the first three balls of an Effie over. Effie is too proud to put up with that sort of punishment, and as Jones pinned his ears back and gave a mighty swing across the line we were all happy to see his stumps spread, bowled for a brisk 30 out of 40 on the board.. Ian Barker replaced Paul and bowled his usual parsimonious medium pace, beating the edge and finding a little bounce in the dead wicket, getting through his 8 overs "off-the -reel" for only 13 but no wickets. At the other end Wayne Holder and Stephen Brown were tried but both were treated with little respect as the field went on the defensive. A second spell by Naem was no more controlled than the first and it was not until the Captain brought Effie and himself back on that the partnership between Warner and Heaney was broken. Effie took a well judged caught and bowled running back towards mid-on and Paul Bowled Heaney. Saunders however played the innings of the game and took his side close to victory with 70. He was particularly harsh on Wayne, whose ankle injury has robbed him of his former nip. Tony Brook should have caught him at deep mid-wicket but allowed the ball to slip through his hands and between his legs for four crucial runs. Wayne dug deep and bowled him two balls later.Effies last two overs winkled out two more Nuxley men, A Hudson caught behind but reluctant to go and Gillam clean bowled for a duck. A rare keeping error gifted four runs to Nuxley with the fine leg up for the single and as the last over fell to Neem the equation was simple, 10 runs needed, two wickets in hand. Number 10 on strike. Two men in on the single the rest on the fence, everyone geeing on Naem, I would have put money on him getting both wickets, or at least restricting the runs, but the first ball was a deflating legside wide, the second a short one that was pulled over midwicket, just out of reach of the Captain in on the single down to the fence for 4. the third was another wide, five balls remaining and now only 4 runs needed, a blessed dot ball, and even though it was only yesterday I can't remember how the next four runs came but the scores were level with two balls left. It was full and punched out past mid-off, everyone in on the single, and a famous victory for Nuxley with one ball to spare. The shell-shocked Exiles wondering where they went wrong. Dr Naem Khan diagnosed himself as suffering from a knee strain, it may prevent him from bowling next week but not batting, which is evidently un-hindered. Looks like classic symptoms of Post Traumatic Slapping Syndrome to me! The only cure; quick wickets for not many runs.
|J Hahn||Bowled||P Shorrock||3|
|M Jones||Bowled||E Usman||30|
|R Warner||Caught and Bowled||E Usman||10|
|M Heaney||Bowled||P Shorrock||15|
|S Saunders||Bowled||W Holder||70|
|A Hudson||Ct McLaughlin||E Usman||17|
|M Gillam||Bowled||E Usman||0|
Fall of wickets: 28-40-111-132-142-161-161-192
Total 202 for 8 off 39.5 overs
Next Week: The Heavy Rollers away.
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