The closest match of the season so far ended in a narrow defeat for the Cavaliers, in an exciting game that swung one way then the other. More than one of our opposition commented on the Cavaliers’ refusal to lie down and die, but that was scant consolation for a game that we could and should have won.

Rich and Karl embark on their short opening partnership

Rich and Karl embark on their short opening partnership

The game didn’t get off to the best of starts for us, when Karl was run out without facing a ball. Chalky came in and played a dashingly brief innings, and Jon was unable to repeat his Barton stonewalling and was bowled for a duck. Good grief. 12-3 after 6 overs.

Fortunately Aaron was in next and he has come on in leaps and bounds with the bat this year. We got our heads down and dug in, both determined to not get out, and slowly started to turn the tide. Milton were of course on a real high and looked able to bowl us out very cheaply, but we showed great resilience and hung on in there until drinks. We agreed then that AB would attack while I tried to bat out the innings, but a few balls later I was bowled on 18 while trying to give him the strike, with the job only half-done.

This brought Si to the crease on his 50th game for us, and we really needed some runs. Fortunately he was in the mood to score them. His first five scoring shots were all boundaries, and he quickly started to re-take the initiative. When AB was out for a hard-earned 20, Chris took over the support role and was quickly in the runs himself and also hit 20 good runs. Si finished not out on 45, a brilliant innings, and we finished on a competitive but perhaps slightly below-par 132.

Milton’s openers made a mockery of our batting travails. Our bowlers bowled really well but struggled to shift the opening pair, who lost a few balls as they reached 48 for the first wicket before AB took a good catch off Dion’s first over. Dion also got Gavan out in his second over, and then si overcame a shaky start to have Read caught-and-bowled and then Whitmarsh caught at square leg by Karl. When Perrin was somewhat fortuitously run out by Chris’s throw being rebounded onto the wicket by Si, we had pulled one out of the fire – Milton were 72-5 at drinks and really struggling.

Then came the real match-changing moment – Dion bowled a good delivery, the batsman got a thin but obvious edge and I took a routine catch. Everyone knew the batsman had nicked the ball except the umpire (it was even heard by our scorer) but the batsman refused to walk even though he virtually admitted he had hit it. Fair enough, the umpire didn’t give it and in a competitive match you’d forgive the batsman every time, but it seemed a bit naughty in a friendly. A few overs later, the same incident happened but with Aaron bowling, and this time the batsman survived because AB had run in front of the umpire and obscured his view. Again, the batsman stayed at the crease, and again, it didn’t really feel in the spirit of the game we were playing.

Even so, we contrived a close finish after AB bowled one of the Salinger brothers and I finally had the other caught behind off Karl’s bowling. It was just too little too late though as only seven runs were required off the last three overs and in the end Milton-On-Stour scraped home.

A really good game, then, and we enjoyed hosting ‘MCC’ on their tour of Torbay. We certainly hope to see them again in 2012.