Having lost the toss and asked to bowl on a scorching July afternoon The Exiles field was well spread for the opening overs, spread between Blackpool and Walton Heath! Three of the side having failed to make the ground by the 2.30pm start. Faisal's friend Khuram substituted in the field and Faisal took the gloves until Guy Sneesby could make it after his party in Blackpool. Effie Usman and Sean O'Connor were stuck in traffic apparently. It is worth mentioning that Effie's driving strikes fear into his passengers, and on this occasion he promised me he was picking Sean up at 11.30. I had told him the start was 2pm to allow for his usual diversions, so how it took him until 3pm to reach Walton Heath I will never know! Make a note of those late-comers, their names will be cropping up again!
The pitch was straw coloured, dry as a bone and the outfield football pitches were like stony washboards. The first two deliveries from Paul Shorrock were forced to the point and third man boundaries by Captain Richard Friend, hardly slowing as they skipped into the long grass. A degree of control was regained and no more runs conceded from the first over. Waseem's first ball was cleanly off-driven for four by Llewelyn who thereafter played a positive stroke to every ball he faced, and with luck riding with him he made hay whist the sun shone as Effie and Sean finally took the field. Effie made the first break through, a leg stump half-volley glanced fine by Friend straight into the gloves of Faisal who had tracked well across to leg. Then Waseem had Llewelyn caught behind although the batsmen later protested his innocence, another fine catch by Faisal, a man for all Seasons. Crosthwaite and Self then settled in for a period of slow play where the improving bowling was treated with a degree of respect, probably more than it deserved. Paul Shorrock even turned to his quickish non-turning off-breaks in an attempt to induce some shots form this pair, but a maiden and an raising of the over rate were all that was achieved, Effie's spin was also without fruit, so he reverted to seam up. Naem replaced his brother at the other end for five overs but failed to create many chances on what was proving to be a very batsman-friendly wicket. New boy Greg Hollings got briefly into the act with three overs that broke the stand, Self edging to give Faisal his third catch. Crosthwaite started to come out of his shell somewhat and found the off-side boundary several times bamboozling Tony Brook who had the thankless task of sweeping the wide bumpy boundary.
Effie's ability to swing the ball in unfavourable conditions proved decisive in his second spell. He pitched leg and hit off with consecutive deliveries to remove Bowsted and Unsworth. His hat-trick ball next over was wide down the leg but three balls later he repeated the swing thing to send Burrel back with a duck playing an identical swish to leg. This brought Khuram in to bat, and Faisal was at last relieved of his substitute 'keeping duties as a sheepish Guy Sneesby strolled onto the ground and had a chance to bowl at his friend. It was obvious that Khuram had not spent too many winter nights reading the MCC coaching manual, indeed he admitted to never having played Cricket before, so when he smashed a cross-batted swipe back past Faisal to the long-off boundary he could allow himself a smile. Effie seized the chance for a bag of five though and had the young Pakistani caught and bowled for 5. In what would be the final over before tea new batsman played his first ball to the right hand of Paul Shorrock at short cover and called for the single, admonishing Crossthwaite on 55 that he "had to run for those", the throw was good and Crossthwaite was two yards short, Guy nipped the bails off and the Exiles trooped off for a posh tea of smoked salmon sandwiches and chocolate biscuits having successfully bowled the Rollers out, which is so much nicer than 156 for 8 declared.
Heavy Rollers Innings:
|R Friend||Caught F Ansari||Effie Usman||22|
|Llewelyn||Caught F Ansari||W Khan||35|
|J Self||Caught Faisal||G Hollings||11|
|Khuram||Caught and Bowled||Effie Usman||5|
|Total||156 all out|
The temperature had hardly dropped by the time Guy and Sean strode out to start the Exile's reply at 5.45pm. Unsworth and Self opened the bowling, both less scary than Effie's driving by far, but less penetrative than his bowling too. Unsworth was the steadier, but after his first over Self became Help-yer-Self, the batsmen taking turns to claim a brace of fours of each over. Thereafter Richard Friend ran through his small repertoire of spin bowlers from the far end as Unsworth slowly unravelled at the pavilion end. Sean and Guy settled into a rhythm of blocking the good balls and spanking the two bad balls to the boundary. Paul came nearest to a wicket when the Captain allowed one to slip through his fingers for six at long-on. The last 20 overs started after the drinks break. Khuram was give a last roll of the dice and nearly made the consolation breakthrough, a long-hop skied to mid-on but Llewelyn failed to get under it in spite of a brave dive onto the abrasive grass. Guy pulled the winning runs off Khuram's first bowl of his next over to take his own score to 71, Sean O'Connor finished unbeaten on 73.
Exiles win by 10 wickets with 15.5 overs to spare, ample revenge for the 8 wicket drubbing we received last time these two sides met. Perhaps our most crushing win ever? Eclipsing the defeat of Nuxley by 10 wickets when chasing a much lower total. Although on second thoughts bowling out Nuxley for 12 was pretty decisive! A morale booster for the acheing Exiles, and "Jugs in" for all the late arrivals, 5 wickets for Effie, Fifties for Sean and Guy. I hope this doesn't start a precedent amongst the superstitious Exiles, we'll never get a team out on time!
Heavy Rollers' Bowling:
Exiles win by 10 wickets.
Next week, The Old Antelopians at home.
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