A great tour deserved a really good final game and crikey did we get it at Abbotsbury. For a start – what a stunning place to play, overlooked by the ruins of St Catherine’s Chapel, the Channel sparkling just off Chesil beach below us, and just up hill the glorious thatch of rural Dorset. We were greeted by smiling faces and warm welcomes (this may have been due to the thatch) and after lots of cooing and ‘isn’t this lovely’s we were duly sent out to field.
The match started quietly with Hill happy to accumulate but it wasn’t long before Sami Rathnayake at the other end started to do some damage. This guys can really hit the ball and Kev and Dan really took a battering from him. He hit Kev’s first ball to him for four and lost the second in a neighbouring field. 54 runs came off the first six overs and Sami scored most of them. Dan Homer appeared particularly pleased not to be opening the bowling today:
Whether Mike Barlow had done something to upset Dave we don’t know, but there were one or two raised eyebrows when Dave brought his Dad on into this carnage, only to concede 24 runs in the over. Raj came on to calm things down a bit but Sami still retired for 64 off just 20 balls and Abbotsbury had the bit between their teeth. The score had reached 130 before we got our first wicket, Al bowling a well-flighted delivery that bowled Hill with the batsman playing across the line. Soon after the ball was hit to midwicket where Jules misfielded and threw in some distance down the wicket. Somehow I managed to push the ball onto the stumps from a few metres away with the batsman not running his bat in and we had another wicket. In general though the Abbotsbury batsmen were too strong. There was a flattering late flurry of wickets, with Jules and Jake taking catches off one another’s bowling and Jake taking another wicket right at the end, but Abbotsbury had batted well and reached 230-5 from their 30 overs.
Jules and Jake opened the batting and all was going well until the score reached 26-0 after five overs. The left-armer hadn’t seemed particularly threatening but Jules picked out a fielder and was out for 9. Dan Homer, needing 31 for a tour aggregate of 100, smashed a four to square leg before picking out Jules’s fielder with another catch. I then came in and survived one delivery before trying to drive a ball that dribbled under my bat and rolled gently onto my off-stump with just enough energy to remove a bail. 30-3 and our reply was in trouble. Gareth got in and was looking comfortable until he was bowled:
Raj was out shortly afterwards for a duck and we were 68-5. Oh dear.
At the other end, though, Jake was playing some good shots among the chaos. With nothing to lose, he got better and better, passing his 50 and closing in on the club record. It’s fair to say that Abbotsbury were probably not worried about the result but Jake was proving a thorn in their side, and they threw everything at him. He faced good spinners and the pace of Sami and played beautifully, blocking the straight balls and punishing anything wide. After passing the club record there was one question left – could he go on to three figures?
On the sidelines the tension mounted as we worked out how many runs he had left to score and how many overs were left, and it was definitely on. He passed 90 and the boundaries, as they often do, dried up. Dot balls, the odd single or two, but he crept closer and closer and we tried to steal him a couple of runs with our collective will. And then on 98 it came: a ball on the pads, whipped away square of the wicket, and he was there – 102 not out. Absolutely incredible. What a moment:
Jake retired and the rest of the game was inevitably a bit of an anticlimax. We had a few overs to bat out to get the draw but Bob and Kev couldn’t see them out and Dan Harris was last man out, charging down the wicket and being stumped. But today wasn’t about the result – it’ll always go down as the game where Jake became the first Cavalier to score a century, and those of us who were there will never forget it.
Abbotsbury 230-5 (Sami 64; Brown 2-17)
Cavendish Cavaliers 180 all out (Brown 102*, Marsden 11)
Abbotsbury won by 50 runs
|Uday Kishore Rajarapu||Bowled||7||0/0||0||0|
|Mike Barlow||Not Out||7||0/0||43||3|
|Alan Bristow||Not Out||2||1/0||250||5|
|Dave Barlow||Did Not Bat|
|Graeme Bond||Did Not Bat|
|Uday Kishore Rajarapu||4||0||10||0||2.50||0.00|