Our latest game against Barton brought a great performance with the ball and in the field, but once again our batting let us down as we lost by 30 runs. It was a closer game than expected, but ultimately we had no answer to some excellent swing bowling by Bowker, who we really had no answer to.
We lost the toss and started off really well, with Chris getting a plumb lbw decision when Styles was on just two. Kev’s opening spell was brought to a premature end when he fell awkwardly, but Mick proved a more than adequate replacement and took a couple of early wickets in a great spell of 6-0-13-2. Dion’s first over for a month went for a few, but Karl came back and took his first wicket since you-know-when to leave Barton at 60-4 at drinks. It was a brilliant start.
And there was better to come as Si slowly found his rythmn and the wickets kept coming. Kev took one more (bowled, so in his eyes the first of the year) as did Dion and Karl. The real achievement was Si’s, however, as a fine edge through to me brought his 50th wicket for the Cavaliers – a wonderful record. (We actually thought at the time that that was his 49th, so we celebrated when Chris took a good catch at mid-on a few overs later.) Si rightly led off the field at the end of the innings.
We had been set 127 to win and, given our recent performances, felt this was a hard but gettable total. Chalky hit the first delivery he faced for six and followed it with a four, and he played such attacking cricket you could sense that Barton were becoming just a little uncomfortable. However Bowker soon had me bowled with a viscous inswinger, and Karl and Chalky soon followed. We’d contributed 33 between us, and given the lack of batting to come it was never going to be enough.
And so it proved, as the lads tried their absolute best – Jon’s duck was probably the best zero you’ll see all year as he fended off Bowker until his penultimate delivery – but five of the next six went without scoring. There were late cameos from Si and Mick, but the game had long gone by then. Mick batted brilliantly and only let us know after the game that he used to open the batting for his club in Worcester! At least he had a sense of humour about it, saying ‘it’s taken me a long time to get up to no 11, Rich…’
All in all another great game and Barton were hospitable as ever, and largely inexperienced Cavaliers side did incredibly well to run them so close.