CLS are one of our favourite opponents, and their return was a thrilling game that could have gone either way. At a number of points in the game, CLS had the upper hand, but our experience got us a narrow 9-run victory in the end.

After a long day of driving around the Bay with Kev trying to find a replacement for our ancient barbecue gas canister, I was glad to be put in to bat by Roy, the CLS captain. Chris and I opened the batting and it proved to be a chastening appearance for our regular opening bowler as he was dismissed before we’d even reached double figures. Chip was next in but oddly one of our big hitters couldn’t get the ball off the square and was eventually out for seven, and Si followed a few balls later for a rare duck. We were 44-3 after 9 overs – not a bad start, but with the tail starting at 7 we needed a partnership soon.

Fortunately AB has matured as a batsman since last year and with 12 overs left we knew there was no need to panic. We spent three or four overs consolidating, then we decided I’d try to bat out the overs while he had a go. I was bowled by Steve Breed in the 16th over, but by then we’d passed 100 largely thanks to some lovely shots from Aaron. Dion gave him great support in the last few overs, and we finished on 120-4 – a run-a-ball required.

It was a score big enough to give us confidence we could defend it, but not beyond the CLS batsmen. They certainly have one or two who can play a bit. So it was something of a surprise when Lee Chamberlain tapped the ball to mid-off and set off for a suicidal run. Chris had time to pick his nose, pick up the ball, give it a shine, take aim and still run out his man by about two metres.

CLS had tougher nuts than this though, and Howes and Jamie Chamberlain put together an excellent batting partnership. We had Mick at one end swinging the ball away beautifully and Kev bowling (mostly) nagging line and length at the other, but the batsmen rode their luck and played some great shots. 14 off Kev’s last over persuaded us it was time for a change with CLS at 40-1, so we played our joker – on came Aaron. With the last ball of the over he did what we’d brought him on for, bowling Jamie with a cracker of a delivery. Roy Chamberlain was caught-and-bowled by James for a good 10 shortly afterwards, and it drinks CLS were well on target at 60-3.

Barry and James had done a really good job at keeping things tight – Barry’s 3-0-10-0 was a lesson in line and length – but with such a tight game it would only take an expensive over to swing the game back the other way. James conceded 9 off one over, Dion 11, Andy 8. In amongst all this I recalled a batsman who had been bowled by Dion off a beamer; he then hit two massive fours and was out plumb lbw off the last ball of an eventful over. It got pretty chaotic with misfields, missed stumpings and dropped catches, but in the end it all got rather finely-poised – CLS needed 18 to win from as many balls. It all got a bit tense.

Fortunately we had the men for the job at this point. First Si had the dangerous-looking Broadbent lbw in the middle of a tight over. Chip was also mean and had Enriques dropped by his own brother. By his own brother. It came down to 12 off the last over, and Chris bowled a superb over, taking two wickets for three runs to win us the match.

All in all it was a tremendous game won by a narrow margin, and hopefully we’ll get to play a 40-over game against them at some point this year.


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