Yet another sunny day greeted Crossbats as the arrived at the very picturesque
Bank of England Sports Centre.
A very popular fixture due to the location, the wicket and the tea, captain Dunbar had some tough decisions to make to choose only 11 from an available 14.
With the side selected, Crossbats were in the mood to avenge last year’s very disappointing defeat. The captains tossed and BOE sent the visitors into bat.
Wright, who was due to open the innings with Collier, had come down with the increasingly on the rise illness ‘another pint of pride thanks’ (Scientific name not yet available) and was swiftly bumped to number 6. Nicholls, ready and willing as ever, stepped into Wrights position at the top of the order and this prompted a double change, dropping Collier to 3 and bringing Brentford’s hometown hero, Spiro, into to number 1 to face the first ball.
The pair got off to a cautious start – some buffs and some swipes, but before to long found a little rhythm and bat began to connect with ball.
Nicholls was the first to collect some decent runs with a couple of well timed boundaries behind square – The running between wickets was also impressive, with Spiro, Crossbats only genuine sprinter between the wickets, pushing Nicholls hard for the
However, Nicholls was first to perish, after a gallant 12.
Collier arrived at the crease with intent and it wasn’t long before the boundary fielders
Were running out of puff. Colliers first 5 scoring shots were boundaries and from that solid base he set about building himself an innings.
Spiro at the other end was seemingly confident, having spent the majority of the first ten overs at the crease, but was undone by a lovely straight delivery for 8.
Winch joined Collier and the pair looked to consolidate against some nigly slow bowling.
Both Winch and Collier managed to find the boundary on regular occasion, frustrating the opposition who were staring down the barrel of a very healthy total.
At drinks, Crossbats were 92/2 – with roughly an hour to 1hr 20min to bat, Dunbar set a task of reaching 200 with approx 15 mins to play. Try as they might after drinks, the BOE hunkered down, put as many chaps on the boundary as possible and dried up the runs.
Collier, hitting some very sweet shots, just couldn’t get past the boundary fielders and was reduced to numerous singles – however, these singles took him past 50 in what was a very controlled innings.
Winch tried to up the anti, smashing a lovely six down the ground, to only try the same thing again two balls later and give up his wicket for a well earned 48.
Carter arrived at the crease and his stay was brief, being trapped absolutely plum LBW off just two deliveries for 0.
Wright, having nicked some lucozade, was ready for the challenge ahead. He played tentatively early on but slowly settled in at the crease.
Collier meanwhile, continued to work the ball into the gaps before frustration got the better of him and he holed out for an impressive 61.
Fraser joined Wright at the crease for his first innings of the year after injuring his nick.
He too looked solid, playing confident defensive strokes and working the ball into the gaps on occasion.
Wright was next to go, continuing a run of catches for 11.
Dunbar arrived at the crease, but was only there for a matter of five balls, losing his head and heaving at a ball that should not be heaved at, joining Carter in the duck club.
With Crossbats struggling to post a competitive total, Van Vuuren arrived to help save face. Fraser looked good before holing out for 11 which bought Lawrence to the crease for the final push.
Van Vuuren and Lawrence played cautiously but took there chances when they came and on 180/8, Dunbar decided enough was enough and called the pair in, Van Vuuren compiling a valuable 16 not out, assisted by Lawrence with 8.
Crossbats sat down to enjoy another lavish BOE tea – nobody gets sick of the scones and cream!!
With tea taken care of, Crossbats huddled in the middle, determined to put right the wrongs of last year.
Dunbar and Van vuuren opened the attack, both bowling sharply and accurately.
Dunbar claimed the first wicket when Andrew’s fished at one outside off and edged it through to an outstretched Collier, who took a brilliant catch. And it wasn’t long before Dunbar struck again, claiming the wicket of old foe Hilton, to another brilliant collier catch, this time gloved down the leg side. BOE were in trouble at 24/2.
There was no let up on the horizon as Dunbar claimed a third, this time relieving Collier of any duties, slipping one under the bat and sending the bails flying.
Van Vuuren had toiled at the other end and was unlucky not to have claimed a wicket, proving just a little too quick for the top order batsmen.
The pace was slowed by a change that bought Winch to the crease. It had immediate results as Winch tossed one up and the batsmen mis-timed, holing out to Van Vuuren, leaving BOE 29/4. Winch struck again moments later, tricking the batsmen with the quicker one and trapping him plum in front – 42/5 and crossbats could smell victory.
A double change was made, with Gumbley replacing Dunbar and Lawrence taking the ball from Winch. Gumbley, as always, didn’t take long at all to produce a wicket ball, lulling the batsmen into a false stroke, straight into the safe hands of Nicholls.
Gumbley chipped in again, when the batsmen again mistimed, scooping the ball up high
To a running Van Vuuren, who took a wonderful catch.
Lawrence wasn’t going to miss out on the action, and with a customary grunt, forced the ball past the batsmen, taking off stump to leave Bank 62/8 and only a slim chance of holding out for the draw.
All but the slimmest chances were dashed when Gumbley picked up his third, bamboozling the batsmen and bowling him middle stump.
With one wicket left, the job was left to Lawrence, and after a few overs of resistance and some momentary nerves, Lawrence produced another corker to wrap up the innings and Crossbats 4th victory from four matches.
It was a wonderful performance by all involved, in batting, bowling and fielding – The man of the match must go to Collier for his excellent contribution with the bat and his wonderful effort behind the stumps.
Crossbats relaxed in the evening sun on the balcony at the beautiful Bank of England Sports complex, beer in hand, looking forward to the next chance we have to come back here….unfortunately not until next season and we can only hope it is as successful as today’s performance.
Next week Morden, always an interesting fixture and a good contest!