Occasionals CC v The Exiles, South Bank University Ground, 7 July 2002

Exiles maintain 100% record thanks to a sticky innings and committed fielding

Sean O'Connor has patience, perseverance and a solid defence. He took 33 balls faced to get off the mark but then carried his bat for 74 valuable runs on this big ground with a slow outfield. Other "hares" like Kevin Hobley and Ros Atkins had completed their innings before he had started his but it was the "tortoise" who lasted the course, and ultimately was responsible for ensuring a competitive total that proved just a bit too good for The Occasionals. Kevin was undone by a leg stump yorker, Ros watched a ball balloon off his pad, over his head and fall onto off stump, an unlucky dismissal but one which will have Ros practising bending his front leg beyond the perpendicular to avoid a repetition. Doug holed out at deep midwicket, picking out the fielder Ben Dale in acres of space. Then Roric joined Sean for the partnership of the innings. Relieved of his wicketkeeping duties Roric managed to be a very useful specialist batsman who applied himself very well against the spirited Occasionals bowlers. Sean meanwhile was well out of his shell by now and beginning to find the boundary. The scoring rate climbed towards 4 an over before Roric played back to one that kept low and got through his defences. The partnership was worth 87. John Morgan who had been padded up for 17 overs dashed and crashed for 3 then a mini collapse followed as Martin Saunders playing his first game on grass for a year, and watched with little encouragement by his wife and friends was bowled for a duck. Kevin Elderfield marked his debut with a golden duck, also bowled. Things can only get better. Matt Champkin managed a couple of singles and rotated the strike to Sean before he chipped a catch. A few extras in the last over from Betterson must have depressed the long-suffering Occasionals Captain Mike but when James Weir nearly chipped a catch to mid off and picked up three with the resultant overthrows he must have known it wasn't his day. No Exile will begrudge Jimmy a few bonus runs.

Exiles Innings:

 Batsman How Out Bowler Runs
S O'Connor Not Out 74*
K Hobley Bowled Marsden 13
R Atkins Bowled Reynolds 13
D Macintyre Ct Dale Betterson 11
R Coleman Bowled Marsden 27
J Morgan Caught Marsden 3
M Saunders Bowled Dale 0
K Elderfield Bowled Marsden 0
M Champkin Caught Marsden 2
J Weir Not Out 3*
P Shorrock . . .
 Total 40 Overs for 8 wickets 160

Occasionals bowling figures:

 Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
M Reynolds 8 4 18 1
Marsden 8 1 36 4
B Dale 8 1 23 1
Betterson 8 0 40 2
Burt 5 0 28 0
Stebbings 3 0 16 0

The Occasionals reply stumbled at the first hurdle, Richard Strange strangled third ball gloving one down the legside to the keeper from perhaps the worst ball that will bring a wicket to Paul Shorrock this season. Paul (the author) had an excuse to be below par, having had a surprise party for his 40th Birthday sprung upon him the night before. At his age he rarely warms up for a match by dancing into the small hours fuelled by champagne and nostalgia. Two members of the Occasionals were present as well as several Exiles but they all left at a reasonable hour. Richard Strange apologised for his absence, he'd got the wrong week. That's twice he missed out in less than 24 hours. James Weir at the other end also managed to keep the scoring to a minimum, removing Woodham for 3 and Jacobs also for 3, caught by Ros Atkins who fielded like man possessed all afternoon. Matt Champkin bowled another metronomic spell that inhibited the scoring still further, having Dale trapped lbw, a decision that Reynolds later considered to be an error that cost them the match. Also inducing Betterson to edge one that flew high to Kevin Elderfield's left at Gully and he held the catch seemingly without looking at the ball. It was spectacular! Ros Atkin's effort bowling removed Burt's leg bail on the full but didn't break it like Pete Watts had done a fortnight earlier. This constant chipping away at the Occasionals' batting order was only halted when Tilley joined Stebbings. The pair put on 35 and although they were behind the rate they managed to keep Occasionals hopes alive. Kevin Elderfield made his debut, that rare creature and Exiles spinner who turns the ball. Bowling into the wind he got good flight and beat the bat. He was unlucky not to pick up a wicket. He was pulled repeatedly when he dropped it a little short but Ros Atkins toiled like a Trojan at deep midwicket, his howitzer arm ensuring that ones were nor turned into twos. I would say at least half the winning margin was down to his unflagging efforts out in the deep. Doug Macintyre managed to strangle Stebbings in a manner not dissimilar to the wicket of Richard Strange, but this time it was from the face of the bat and veteran keeper Morgan had to dive to make the catch well to his left. Steve Sorba strode to the wicket, hardly able to hold his bat due to taking a knock on the right index when keeping wicket. Matt Chamkin returning for his second spell induced a top handed swipe that went to Doug at mid on and in spite of nearly getting tangled in his sweater he held the catch. Mike Reynolds then set about trying to slog his way to an improbable victory in the final overs, taking a particular pleasure in repeatedly hitting James to the midwicket boundary after getting a blow on the side of his head playing a ducking pull shot to the same bowler. Tilley joined in the run riot and the run rate above ten an over seemed not so impregnable. Paul returned and after suffering a couple of blows removed Reynolds with one that was straight enough and too far up for the cross batted swipes Reynolds had been applying to anything he could reach. With only one wicket remaining the task became impossible and although Tilley and Marsden tried their best the runs wouldn't come quick enough. Ros Atkins finished it off with the last ball of the 39th over, thirty one runs still needed for victory. The Exiles continue their run against The Occasionals and maintain a hundred percent record so far, although by the narrowest margin yet.

Occasionals Innings:
 Batsman How Out Bowler Runs
 R Strange Ct Morgan P Shorrock 0
Betterson K Elderfield M Champkin 27
Woodham Ct Atkins J Weir 3
Jacobs Ct ? J Weir 3
B Dale lbw M Champkin 2
Burt Bowled R Atkins 3
Tilley ? R Atkins 31
Stebbings Ct Morgan D Macintyre 15
S Sorba Ct D Macintyre Champkin 1
M Reynolds Bowled P Shorrock 20
Marsden Not Out 5
 Total 39 Overs all out 130

Exiles Bowling Figures:
 Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
P Shorrock 8 1 28 2
J Weir 7 2 25 2
M Champkin 8 4 13 3
R Atkins 6 0 16 2
K Elderfield 6 1 27 0
 D Macintyre 4 0 12 1


Next up Nuxley at home.


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