Occasionals CC v The Exiles CC, South Bank University, 1 September 2002

Exiles just edge it in a low-scoring thriller.

A beautiful day to mark the start of September, a straw coloured pitch not as hard as it looked but evenly grassed., two teams with a long history of good-natured rivalry. What more could you wish for? Well winning the toss would have been a bonus but The Exiles would probably have preferred to bat first anyway, relying on their depth of bowling to defend whatever total they could muster. It started promisingly, the pitch played well, the ball beat the bat, bad balls were put away by openers Kevin Hobley and Kyle Holling. A bellowing lbw appeal from the big Australian Harrison that was plainly missing leg was more to test the umpiring than anything. Fortunately it takes more than lung power to take a wicket. Kyle was dismissed by an instinctive catch at short gully by Ben Dale from the back of the bat when the shot intended was a leg glance off Harrison. A bright innings by Steve Dupreez was also cut short by Ben, taking a brilliant one handed catch high over his head from a full blooded cut shot, again at gully. Kevin Hobley was looking magisterial and with Pete Watts they rode out the rush of adrenalin the great catch had generated. Then Pete Watts fell to another catch and with the score on 61 for 3 and no specialist batsmen left in the hut things were looking a little precarious. Roric has batted as high as five before, and doesn't suffer from vertigo and again with Kevin they progressed steadily. Kevin fell in the 21st over, just after the delayed drinks were due. Perhaps with a glass of overpriced cordial inside him he may have gone on and on but another quality catch and The Exiles were just over half way on 79 for 4. Eddie Fuller, Kyle's Kiwi flatmate, did admit to a bit of nerves at batting at 6 but he acquitted himself excellently, having a sound defence, a good eye for a scoring opportunity and being quick between the wickets. He scored the majority of his runs in twos (14 out of 22) which is unusual. Afterwards he rated it his best ever innings. Not for long I suspect. His off-spin is his strongest card, but sadly wasn't required in this game. He'll be a useful addition to the squad if he sticks around next summer. Roric managed to be the only Exile wicket not caught, bowled for 11 by left arm seamer Josh. Eddie then put on 21 with Vincent Brooks. Vincent can be pleased with his watchful 7 and the support he gave Eddie with some good backing up and sure calling. He fell to yet another catch off Patel. Paul Shorrock, the man most likely to be number eleven but batting at eight justified his self-belief with a solid 19 including three boundaries. An on-drive all along the ground to the furthest corner of the boundary at wide long-on was perhaps the shot of his career. With just eight balls left of the innings he fell to a catch at the wicket off Dale's slingy seamers, stabbing down on a yorker. A tricky decision for the umpire when bat, ball and ground are all in contact almost simultaneously in a puff of dust. Interestingly Steve Sorba, the keeper didn't appeal. Stuart also singed the turf with a straight drive for four and managed to squeeze five more crucial runs to finish unbeaten on 10. James Weir was nought not out. 148 was not a big score, not much bigger than the 141 from last week that proved too few but with a wealth of bowling talent to draw on The Exiles were confident of at least making the Occasionals struggle.

Exiles Innings:

 Batsman How Out Bowler Runs
K Hobley Ct Josh 33
K Holling Ct B Dale Harrison 13
S Dupreez Ct B Dale M Reynolds 9
P Watts Ct N Fenn-Wiggin 8
R Coleman ¦ Bowled Josh 11
E Fuller Caught B Dale 22
V Brooks Caught M Patel 7
P Shorrock* Ct S Sorba B Dale 19
R Anderson Caught M Patel 0
S Lindsay Not Out 10*
J Weir Not Out 0*
     Extras 16
 Total 40 Overs for 9 wickets 148

Occasionals bowling figures:

 Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
M Reynolds 7 1 24 1
Harrison 8 1 29 1
Josh 8 1 25 2
Fenn-Wiggin 8 0 27 1
B Dale 6 0 26 2
M Patel 3 0 14 2

FOW: 1-21,2-43, 3-61, 4-79, 5-91, 6-112, 7-116, 8-117, 9-143

Stuart Lindsay quickly settled into a groove with his inswingers and his spell of six overs, five maidens, two wickets for three runs must go down as one of the best ever by an Exiles bowler. He removed Sorba for a duck and Dale for 4. James Weir at the other end was enjoying the extra bounce and picked up the wicket of Carrington for 9. The Occasionals knew it wasn't going to be cakewalk and at 20 for 3 after 11 overs they were behind the clock. then a solid partnership from Dunster and Wiles, who survived several early dramas, took the score on to 112 in the thirty-third over without further loss. Truth be told The Exiles squandered a few chances, the usual spate of dropped catches and some near run out fumbles almost had the doubts creeping in. The game looked to be running on the same lines as last week's loss when a failure to break a partnership resulted in the first loss of the season. Steve Dupreez bowled well enough to make the breakthrough. Rob Anderson was a little below par but still created chances. It was Pete Watts, toiling away with great pace and aggression who finally bowled Dunster in his seventh over. This precipitated a flurry of wickets as the Occasionals felt the pressure and The Exiles suddenly remembered how to catch. James Weir replaced Steve and immediately grabbed the wicket of the other half of the big partnership, Wiles for 37caught by Stuart. Two overs later Weir bowled Josh leaving five overs left just 31 runs were needed for victory, four wickets in hand. Stuart came back to finish off his remaining overs at the death and picked up the wicket of Harrison, who looked capable of doing damage. The catch was taken by Kyle running in from the deep cover boundary, a moment that lifted the Exiles spirits. Two boundaries from Mike Patel brought the pendulum back the other way and with two overs remaining fourteen runs were needed, three wickets in hand. Paul Shorrock, bowling the thirty-ninth over, skittled Lockhart with a yorker. Five runs came from the over. Stuart Lindsay to bowl the last over, nine runs required, a single to Captain Mike Reynolds then a long chase to the third man boundary brought Patel three vital runs. Two more risky singles, a run out chance squandered. Two balls left, three runs needed. Stuart dug deep and the ball flashed past Mike's outside edge to slap into the keeper's gloves with a satisfying thud. The last ball was a carbon copy, a swish, a miss. Roric held the ball and ran up to the stumps whooping with delight. The Exiles had held their nerve and won the tightest game ever against The Occasionals. A thrilling but disappointing end to The Occasionals' season but a very satisfying win for The Exiles. The Exiles have won every game against The Occasionals now since June 1999, a remarkable series of seven results.

Occasionals Innings:
 Batsman How Out Bowler Runs
 S Sorba Bowled S Lindsay 0
S Carrington Ct R Coleman J Weir 9
Dunster Bowled P Watts 53
B Dale Bowled Lindsay 4
Wiles Ct S Lindsay J Weir 37
M Patel Not Out 15
Josh Bowled J Weir 5
Harrison Ct K Hollings S Lindsay 4
Lockhart Bowled P Shorrock 2
M Reynolds Not Out 4
N Fenn-Wiggin , , ,
     Extras 13
 Total 40 Overs for 8 wickets 146

Exiles Bowling Figures:
 Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
S Lindsay 8 5 18 3
J Weir 8 1 24 3
P Shorrock 6 0 24 1
R Anderson 6 0 34 0
P Watts 8 1 16 1
S Dupreez 4 0 24 0

FOW: 1-2, 2-10, 3-20, 4-112,5-116, 6-118, 7-125, 8-137


From a season that began with a series of too-easy walkovers the later games in the season have been very close, exciting encounters. I for one wouldn't mind if next week's game against The Luddites was not quite so exciting!


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