Watermill v Exiles, 19 July 1998

It is always sunny when we play Watermill, and Nick Coleman is always last to the rendezvous at the Watermill pub in Wivelsfield, Sussex. After what has seemed like an endless grey summer the bright blue sky with wispy clouds came as a shock to the system, but a very welcome one. Also for the first time this season the Exiles fielded a team drawn entirely from paid up members. What a difference!
Tony won and decided it was a good day to bat, in spite of our record of failing to bowl teams out in these timed games. The decision was to prove correct, absolutely correct! Sean O'Connor opened with Soumitro Nagpal and against a youthful bowling attack made steady progress, the run rate soon climbing to around 5 an over, the well spread field was soon doing a lot of chasing the leather. Soumitro made the early running, forcing through the covers and driving straight he outscored Sean in a partnership worth 81, having made 43, his first sizeable score for the Exiles, that should see him retain his opening slot for the near future. Keith Marchbank then joined Sean, who accelerated his scoring so much so that in the 79 partnership they forged he scored at a ratio of 3:1. Keith was victim to some ribaldry from the bench that neither improved the rate or his humour, and he voiced his displeasure upon his return to the bench having skied a pull to midwicket.
Nick Coleman attempted to show how it should be done as he swiveled and swatted and scurried between the wickets like a man in a tight skirt. Sean became more agricultural in his shot selection, hitting three consecutive boundaries from the hapless Gentle in the first over of his second spell. Sean eventually fell to an edge to the keeper off the same bowler on 91 , his highest total for the Exiles to date. When Nick attempted a stride to cut at a wide one it almost killed him, and he fell to the ground clutching his groin like a South American defender. It looked as though his season was over. Moments later he was on his feet, keen to continue, unwiling to let an opportunity like this go by. New member Rohan West nicked a ball onto his stumps and missed out on the runs this week. But Dominic Wood's hurried singles were too much strain on Nick's groin and he limped off , Dominic was caught off the bowling of Barnes (whether R. or W. the scorebook is imprecise), Tony Brook smashed his first ball to the cover boundary, sparred at a few then was bowled, which brought Nick back to grab a few more with Naem as Effie was optimistic enough to have not bothered to pad up for the final over and was setting off for the middle bare-legged, before Nick pulled rank. Nick finished on 39* and Naem 6*, the Exiles had amassed 231 from 41 overs.
After tea the Exiles set about demolishing the Watermill batting with a ruthless efficiency. 2 leg-byes came from the first ball, one a pointless overthrow, which annoyed Paul Shorrock enough for his next ball to have added spite, it went through Shorland's defensive prod to knock back middle stump. Next over Naem Khan got in on the action, clean bowling the other opener. Then Paul appealed for an lbw before the ball had chance to continue it's path to middle stump, Watermill 3 for 2. M Shorland then fell clean bowled to Naem in the next over, playing a shot that was beneath description. Watermill 2 for 4, all four batsmen back in the hutch bowled for nought. Bren Cura then raised the Watermill's spirits by striking Naem straight for four, the first runs off the bat in the sixth over. Thanks to some sloppy fielding from Sean the same batsman managed a two off Paul in his fourth over to "dent" his figures to 2 for 2 from four overs. Barnes W. then left a fairly straight one from Naem that removed his off stump. His brother at least got an inside edge on one from Paul in the next over that cannoned off his pads onto the inevitable middle stump. Six batsmen down, all clean bowled, the Exiles bowlers sucessfully working around the fact that Exiles can't catch for toffee. They can throw however, and when Waseem's long hop was fielded in the deep by his brother the batsmen fancied a second, however a direct hit and a poorly grounded bat meant curtains for Gentle. Effie was bowling spin, and with 200 runs to play with nobody objected, he even managed a stumping, the first by new keeper Rohan. After realising that he is no Shane Warne he reverted to seam-up for his last over.
Bren Cura hit out to grab some self-respect, mainly at the expense of Waseem when he erred on the short side and was undefeated when he literally ran out of partners, Terry being stranded yards short after one too many quick singles. Watermill all out for 52, Exiles win by 179, I'm not sure if that is a record but it ought to be. Victory was too easy in the end, but it was good to see the Exiles working well as team again.

Next week sees a home game against The Old Antelopians, whom we have never met. Phil James and John Morgan return, Nick and Dominic are unavailable, otherwise a very similar team to last week.

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