A bright morning at Babbacombe turned into a grey and damp afternoon that was only just suitable for cricket, and in difficult conditions it was the Nomads who prevailed despite a spirited batting performance from the Cavaliers.
Tony called wrongly at the toss, and I called wrongly in electing to field. The pitch was still dry, and I wanted our spinners to have the best use of it before the light rain began to fall. As it happened, the rain began to fall almost as we reached the dressing rooms, and by the time Jonathan, Si and Chip came on the ball was skidding rather than turning.
The Nomads got off to a great start, taking nine from James’s first over and 25 from a surprisingly-erratic Andy’s first three, and by the time the rain worsened at the seven-over mark they were already 49 without loss. The rain was heavy enough for us to take an early tea at that stage, and the match was reduced from 30 to 35 overs.
After tea, Hartridge and Jackson continued untroubled, offering few chances; a sharp one to Doug at second slip, an edge from James that didn’t carry to the keeper, and a couple of played-and-missed to Chris Hubbard. The outfield was now so wet that it was almost impossible to hit boundaries, and the ball sent droplets of water shimmering through the air as it aquaplaned along. The century partnership came up, and shortly afterwards the Nomads batsmen and umpires agreed to go off, prompted by some wet and dispirited Cavaliers. We’d been set 109 to win off 20 overs – presuming we could get out there again.
I opened the batting with yet another new partner, realising that Si’s big hitting and aggressive running could get us into the game if he could bat for long enough. ‘None of this Boycott stuff’ he warned me. I gulped; a straight bat is what I do best.
Even with me alongside him, Si took the attack to the opposition. It was now virtually impossible to reach the boundary – Si actually managed this three times, incredibly – but we ran well and often dangerously, and we reached our fifty partnership after just 52 balls. It was one hell of an achievement, in hindsight. The following ball, though, the momentum swung back in the Nomads’ favour.
First Si skied one, and was well-caught by Cruickshank. This precipitated a collapse, when we went from 51-0 to 51-4 in the space of eight balls. First Ben was bowled second ball on début, then Doug fell asleep and was run out chasing a quick bye, then Matt was bowled for a maiden golden duck. I was relieved when Jonathan came out and started to lay bat on ball, and at last we managed to get the score creeping up. We’d lost a couple of overs, though, and needed to get it moving rather more quickly.
Clive Porter came on with his wily spin, and won the game. Somehow he was getting the ball to turn to leg in the mud, cramping us for room; when I came down the wicket he dropped it short, and the drive was well-covered. When I missed a pull – the only scoring shot available to me – he bowled the next one dead straight, and I missed it for an lbw I almost walked to.
Chip gave us a little hope with a quickfire 13, but when he was stumped by a couple of inches the game was up. Chris, James and Jonathan all played well and showed that they’re all capable of getting runs, and Kev made a career-best 3, but we finished 23 runs short after a promising start.
As an interesting footnote, I plugged the match details into the Duckworth-Lewis calculator to see what D-L would have set us as a total. I was expecting it to give us a target of 130-140, as the Nomads had ten wickets and 15 overs left when their innings was curtailed. Thanks goodness we didn’t have it available to us or enough pedantry to use it; D-L would have actually set us 74 to win, and the team that batted and bowled best would have lost the game.
So well played the Nomads, and particularly to Andrew and Robbie, whose superb partnership was ultimately the difference between the two sides.
|A Hartridge||not out||60||70||86||6||0||85.71|
|R Jackson||not out||29||51||86||3||0||56.86|
|R Blagden||lbw Porter||22||46||50||0||0||47.83|
|S Cahill||c Cruickshank b Guilford||30||24||27||3||0||125.00|
|H Bennett||b Guilford||0||2||2||0||0||0.00|
|D Muir||run out (Jackson)||0||2||3||0||0||0.00|
|M Thursfield||b Guilford||0||1||1||0||0||0.00|
|J Mark||b Porter||7||18||26||0||0||38.89|
|C Ryder||st O’Connor b Hayton||13||17||14||1||0||76.47|
|C Hubbard||not out||3||3||10||0||0||100.00|
|J Ryder||b Porter||2||4||3||0||0||50.00|
|K Johns||not out||3||5||3||0||0||60.00|