Exiles v The Pretenders, 22 September 2002.

Exiles lose out on the last ball of the season.

The cream of the Exiles batting line up contrived to give catching practise which flattered the Pretenders' bowling, which was at best "good in parts". Tony Brook fell to an excellent throw from the short point boundary and was run out by some distance. James Booth and Rob Anderson had a minor partnership of 31 before both fell to catches with the score on 68. Martin Saunders failed to move the score on before he too was caught. Stuart Lindsay was elevated to seven to add some clout to the middle order that was potentially stodgy. He got off the mark with a six and his eighteen was entirely scored in boundaries, raising some cheer in the gloomy Exiles ranks. Vincent Brooks almost ran him out but profited from the overthrows before he was bowled to become the third of Fellowes victims. The Exiles were now deep in the mire at 93 for 8 after 25 overs and The Pretenders must have started thinking about an early tea. Kevin Elderfield and Paul Shorrock (only batting at ten rather than eleven because Eddie Fuller was reported hung over and likely to miss the start) managed to dig in and slowly the runs began to come. Small landmarks were passed 100, 120, the pair grew in confidence but batted with reduced risk, keeping an eye on the overs remaining. The opening bowler Heal returned but failed to make the breakthrough. As the innings neared it's finale the shot selection became more agricultural, mowing pull shots to the square leg boundary, slashes to backward point. The running between the wickets became breathless but never reckless. 140, 150, one over to go and first Paul then Kevin were bowled trying to squeeze the maximum runs out of Forrester's last over. Eddie managed a cameo single. Remarkably Paul and Kevin's stand had produced 61 valuable runs in thirteen overs. Would it be enough?

FOW: 11-1, 32-2, 37-3. 68-4, 68-5, 68-6, 93-7, 93-8, 154-9, 159-10.

Exiles Innings:

 Batsman How Out Bowler Runs
S Dupreez Caught Heal 5
K Holling Caught Heal 13
J Booth Caught Fellowes 21
T Brook Run Out 1
R Anderson Caught Fellowes 8
M Saunders Caught Allan 0
S Lindsay Caught Allan 18
V Brooks Bowled Fellowes 3
K Elderfield Bowled Forrester 18
P Shorrock Bowled Forrester 32
E Fuller Not Out 1
. . Extras 39
 Total 40 all out 159

Pretenders' bowling figures:

 Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
Heal 8 1 31 2
Swann 8 2 29 0
Fellowes 8 4 13 3
Allan 5 0 19 2
Forrester 7 2 27 2
Money 4 0 26 0

With comparatively limited bowling resources to draw on, further reduced by the need for handy SLA Steve Dupreez to wear the gloves early inroads were a necessity. Paul started from the far end and Stuart from the pavilion end, a combination that has worked well in the past. Runs came very slowly but the wickets wouldn't come, the batsman enjoying the umpiring somewhat more that the bowlers. A direct hit run out from thirty yards by Rob Anderson (new look, new luck!) could not be denied and The Exiles gathered in a happy huddle to slap the shorn South African on the back and bitch about some of the decisions. Fired up now and backed by some spirited fielding The Exiles bowlers kept the lid on tight. Rob Anderson replaced Paul and bowled with real pace from the first ball. After a minor but bruising duel with Money, Rob rearranged his timbers then a sharp catch by James Booth removed opener Manson. The pace slowed down at the other end when Eddie Fuller, hangover almost dissipated, wheeled in to deliver his mazy off-breaks. Bowling to the plan, he rarely needed the legside protection, dot ball after dot ball, slapping into Steve's gloves or poked without conviction into the covers where three good men prevented the single. A quicker ball brought the wicket of Allan, who seemed to have been around for a long time for his three. A wicket maiden followed by a maiden and Eddie was turning the screws. This pair bowled out their allotted overs, putting The Pretenders further behind the rate. Stuart Lindsay returned at the far end and with his last ball bowled Angus. He deserved more than one wicket and can be happy with his season's work. Kevin Elderfield replaced Eddie but it was not like for like. Kevin has hardly played all season and was understandably a little ring-rusty. His off breaks were slower and somehow lacked the menace that he had shown in the winter nets. I'm sure with a little more time in the middle he'll find his tempo. The problem of who should bowl the remaining overs brought a conference between Skipper Paul and "senior pro" Tony who keenly suggested himself. Kyle, however was more diffident when asked to come on for a couple of overs from the far end. He didn't even raise much enthusiasm when his third ball produced a wicket and much rejoicing amongst the other Exiles. "Over-excitable" is not an adjective you would readily apply to the languid Kiwi! Enthusiasm isn't everything though, and Tony was blasted out of the attack in a single over that disappeared mostly over midwicket for 15 runs and a consolation wicket. Desperate measures were called for as the runs required fell within the easily attainable for the first time since the start. Steve Dupreez was asked to hand over the gloves to James and bowl his slow left arm stuff. He precipitated a run out that was almost a stumping for James. Paul used his two remaining overs to some economy, in spite of the straightest "wide" you'll ever see, and an attempted yorker that was driven back past him for four. It all came down to the last over and fourteen needed. Steve Dupreez, hands numbed from keeping wicket, knees weakened by countless squats, head spinning with the tension held the hopes of the Exiles in his strong left hand. A six from Heal just cleared Kyle's up stretched hands at Long Off and took a big chunk off the requirement, then a four clubbed towards the oak tree dissected the two fielders perfectly. An lbw shout was turned down, inevitably, and an improbable leg-bye conceded. Three were needed from the last ball, but THE HORROR, it was a legside wide! James stopped it mostly with his face. A single bye was snatched and to every Exile's incredulity, the umpire called "the scores are level!". There followed a brief but heated exchange as to whether byes are added to wides that included the line "Oh we always do, that's what they do in One Day Test Matches" (sic). When it was pointed out that numerous "four-wides" hadn't been scored as five in our innings, the mental arithmetic of the umpire's position revealed it's own folly. There was further confusion because in setting off for the run the striking batsman destroyed his own stumps, preventing the prone James from effecting a direct hit run out! The umpire, correctly in my mind at the time, declared that it was not in playing a stroke. Only after I got home and read the laws again did I notice the line in Law 35 Hit Wicket: "He is also out if in setting off for his first run, immediately after playing or playing at the ball, he breaks his wicket". If only I'd known that fact, I would have appealed most loudly. He wouldn't have had a peg to stand on! To bring the game down the last ball of the season, two runs needed was a thrilling finale. To see Steve's faster ball snicked to the fine leg boundary, too fine even for the the two men back was heartbreaking. The thump as it hit the fence was matched by the sinking feeling in the stomachs of all The Exiles.

The Pretenders' Innings

 Batsman How Out Bowler Runs
Williams Run Out 1
Manson Ct J Booth R Anderson 22
Money Bowled R Anderson 15
Allan Bowled E Fuller 3
Forrester A Bowled T Brook 18
Angus Bowled S Lindsay 11
Forrester D Ct Lindsay K Holling 6
Fellowes Run Out 9
Swann Not Out 21
Heal Not Out 11
Forrester R , , ,
. . Extras 44
 Total 40 Overs 3 wickets 161

Exiles bowling figures:

 Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets
 P Shorrock 8 2 15 0
S Lindsay 8 1 14 1
R Anderson 8 0 30 2
E Fuller 8 2 18 1
K Elderfield 3 0 19 0
K Holling 2 0 13 1
T Brook 1 0 15 1
S Dupreez 2 0 26 0

The last game is usually bitter-sweet, this one cruelly so. A great game, a first win for our fellow tenants The Pretenders. Most who played in this one will be eager to ensure it is their last. That's all for this season. See you in the Spring!

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