Exiles maintain unbeaten record by narrowest margin possible, a Tied Match!
In a game packed with incident and excitement and balanced on a knife edge throughout it is inevitable a Captain looks for simple things done differently that would have tipped the balance. There are many but no regrets. Indeed everyone on the field can probably look into themselves and find at least one run they could have created or prevented that would have made the difference. The fact is that the blend of the brilliant and the banal, heroical and comical, good ,bad and ugly, together created the finest game of the season. It went down to the wire, the wire was stretched and when it snapped the two teams found themselves equal. The Game was the winner. It was an exciting and refreshing change to a run of results where occasionally the opposition have seemed to give up the game half way through and is testament to what great sport it is when battle is joined wholeheartedly. There were a few events so unique that I must document them for future generations, though protagonists may have wished me to gloss over them. I must stress that I am not laying the blame for not winning, we all had a hand in that. I cannot let a scorecard entry "presumed bowled" go unexplained!
As ever with Old Antelopian fixtures it was a hot, hot day, into the 90'sºF for those of you still using old money. The win of the toss was gladly received by the Exiles sweating in the shade of the oaks. Sean O'Connor was out in the second over for one, a big comedown after carrying his bat last time out. There followed a 106 run partnership between the two Kiwis, Doug Macintyre and Kyle Holling in 22 overs as The Old Antelopians bowlers strained, toiled and wilted in the still air. Rarely has the drinks break been so anticipated. At 20 overs with the score on 94 for 1 The Exiles were well set to push on for a big total. Kyle and Doug where running on empty by now though and both departed in successive overs. Steve Parsons, in only his second game this year and kitted out in cheap gear he'd bought in India batted like a dream, playing the ball to all corners with minimum fuss and effort, and skipping between the wickets like a young'un. When he was on 24 the wicketkeeper appealed yet again and Steve walked. It was certainly perplexing for the scorers because the keeper was hold of the ball but there was no sign of a catch. Before James Weir, the bowlers umpire, could ascertain what had occurred (an umpires duty after all) Steve was taking off his pads. It was written into the book as caught behind and not until some time later did Steve reveal that he believed he had been *bowled! "But the bails were still on!" we cried in exasperated unison. Steve claims to have heard the timbers rattled and never looked at the damage before walking off. I dare say he will from now on! Suffice to say he felt rather foolish. Apologies to him for having to write this but I believe it best serves the public interest etc... Steve Dupreez was just hitting his straps when he was caught on the long-off boundary for 5. As usual Pete Watts kept the scoreboard moving, a straight six into the trees raising a cheer. He was bowled for 28 when the total was past 200 and just 5 overs to go. Roric Coleman and Rob Anderson biffed and scurried for the last few overs, Rob being caught off the penultimate ball and Roric managing three off the last ball, James Weir at the non strikers' end puffing in his wake. (it should be noted that the batting analysis doesn't add up, I must take partial responsibility having done half the scoring, the bowling analysis was closer but not perfect. I suspect some batsmen were not credited with all their runs. In matches as close as this it would be desirable if everything tallied. Having one volunteer do the scoring and change the numbers is too much to ask. From now on there should always be two men keeping the score and correcting the others mistakes. We don't want to win or lose by false accounting!)
|S O'Connor||Ct keeper||Brown||1|
|S Parsons||presumed||bowled* (Treverton)||24|
|Total||40 Overs||7 wickets||238|
Old Antelopians bowling figures:
The Old Antelopians made a solid if unspectacular start. Temple in his too-tight helmet and lots of sun screen batted two feet in front of his crease, giving Roric the wicketkeeper many opportunities to practise his underarm shies at the stumps, all unsuccessful. It inoculated against the numerous lbw shouts he survived though. Paul and James failed to make the breakthrough. At drinks they were a bit behind the clock but had all their wickets in hand. A glance at the scoreboard and a team talk obviously awakened their dormant aggression. Immediately afterwards the big shots started to appear. After a flurry of runs Tiss mistimed a cross-batted shot to midwicket off Matt Champkin and was caught. Hewwes (sp?), an unlikely number three, had the audacity/nerve/bravery/stupidity to charge down the wicket to Pete Watts, the quickest bowler in The Exiles' armoury. It more resembled a Japanese infantry charge, give or take the bandoliers of grenades and the cry of Banzai!, than Cricket. Luckily the ball passed bat and batsman and Hewwes was Champkin's next victim before he could do himself any real harm. Pete also let slip a beamer past the white helmet of Temple, which was rightly called a no-ball. He did get his man legitimately though, caught for 33. The Antelopians middle order,Treverton and Collar in particular batted well, but both fell to Anderson. The former bowled trying to repeat the straight drive that brought six the ball before. Don't get mad, get even! All the while the run rate was big but not impossible, and each new batsman threw himself at the ramparts with total conviction. As with all teams pressure in the field leads to errors, misfields and overthrows. Steve Dupreez was never allowed to settle into any rhythm with his left arm spin. A couple of early boundaries reduced him to firing it in flat, losing any chance of spin from the dry but greenish wicket. He's been a reliable partnership-breaker all season, and a change of tempo from the seam-up dominated Exiles attack. Today he was below his best, blown off course by aggressive batting. Rob Anderson's second spell was proving expensive too but the wickets kept the Exiles spirit buoyant. Their temperament was tested by some partisan umpiring from Tiss at deep, deep square leg, who failed to raise the finger when Kyle clearly had a direct-hit run out. The batsman would have been out of the frame the umpire so feebly drew in his defence, mimicking the Test umpires who have the TV replay technology at their disposal. To their credit The Exiles let it pass, trusting in the laws of Cricket Karma to redress any wrongdoing. Captain Paul brought himself back on and did a reasonable job of stemming the runs, firing in yorker after yorker mixed up with a few slower balls, but The Antelopians ran for everything and a big six out of the park made up for any shortfall earlier. The pressure was high but I think everyone on both sides was enjoying it, perhaps with the exception of the incoming batsmen. Matt Champkin's second spell brought a couple of more wickets, but still the boundaries came, James Weir bowled the penultimate over for 7 runs leaving Matt to bowl that last with 9 runs needed for victory. Simpson was bowled fourth ball in leaving 6 needed from two. A straight drive half-volleyed into the sitescreen and was erroneously signalled 6 until corrected by the fielders closest to the impact. Two off the last ball, the non striker arrived at the same speed as the ball it seemed as it rattled around in the batsman's crease under his bat and feet. Roric broke the stumps, then threatened to uproot one if the non striker dared attempt a second run. Then it sank in, that most unlikely of results, a Tied match. It was 8.30, the sun had set, everyone was drained but somehow satisfied. In many ways it was more enjoyable than an easy win. It may have been the wake-up call the Exiles needed to get them out of any sense of complacency that may have developed after a series of seven straight victories. Coming next week The Scandinavian Wanderers, who were looking pretty good until the heavens opened in the first game of the season.
|Total||40 Overs||8 wickets||238|
Exiles bowling figures: