Sunday 23rd June 2019, 11.30am
Amersham CC v Cryptics CC
Cryptics CC won toss and elected to bowl
Another cracking contest between the Cryptics and Amersham, that went down to the wire, and could have gone either way!
Ben Westhead was unfortunate not to take any wickets in his spell of sharp bowling, and twice came close to pulling off, what would have been, stunning catches at full length. Mike Stafford was similarly wicket-less, despite a very tidy pre-lunch spell. William Wilkins, bowling through the ever-present pain barrier, looked lively and bowled with good control. Picked up the first wicket and then coached Edd Rogers into taking his 2 wickets before the break. After lunch, Tim Forte and Alex Gunn sent down an eclectic array of slow deliveries that kept the batsmen guessing. Interspersed with some "Barnes Wallace" deliveries Forte got some rip and picked up 3 wickets. Despite finding a good line and length, Gunn was unsuccessful. A rather helpful direct hit from Rob Paine at deep mid on, dismissed the dangerous Amersham batsman, Rajapaksa (41), and definitely slowed down the scoring for the remainder of the innings. Wilkins and Rogers were returned in an attempt to bowl out the hosts, but despite Wilkins picking up his second wicket, the declaration came first.
In a repeat of the successful opening partnership of 2018, Stafford and Ed Montague went out to bat. Some lusty blows took the scoreboard to 50 for 0 at tea, but soon after Montague (27) was out missing a straight one on the back foot! Similarly, in a repeat of 2018, enter Matt Pugh to partner Stafford. Both scored with ease, and put the Cryptics in a strong position. Pugh reached his 50, and almost immediately, Stafford was adjudged LBW, and immediately on leaving the field of play, questioned his score! In all fairness, and on count-back, Mike probably did reach 50 (may be even 62) and so should be offered a small applause when he next steps onto the turf for the Club in commemoration! Enter Westhead. With 20 overs to go, and only 2 wickets down, requiring 6 an over, the Cryptics were in good position. Westhead and Pugh kept ahead of the required run rate, and batted sensibly. Sadly, Pugh holed out for 77, and when Guy Gibson was run out soon after, the tables were turning ever so slightly. With Westhead, the last of the more recognised batsmen, still at the crease, the advantage was just about with the Cryptics. Ably supported by Gunn, the target got closer, but the fall of both batsmen saw a dramatic twist of the game. The Amersham players were getting excited, and the Cryptics a bit more nervous. Rogers hit a boundary, and then got the faintest of edges to the wicketkeeper, and very honestly walked (as it was doubtful that the umpire would have given it). Paine stepped up to the crease, hit a boundary and got out. Last over, 5 needed for the win, Forte and Wilkins at the crease. Great excitement....
So near and yet so far.! Another year, another great effort at a run chase, and another draw. The Club is getting closer. In 2018, we were 6 runs short. In 2019, we were 4 runs short. Maybe 2020?
Thank you to all that played - especially the last minute call ups of Guy Gibson and Rob Paine, and also to Amersham CC, our excellent hosts, who even put on a big band orchestra for the last 20 overs (much to the delight of Mike Stafford, whose hips started to swing in time to the music). Cricket was the winner today!
Amersham CC 266 for 8 dec (52 overs)
N Palmer 47, A Rajapaksa 41, R Treadwell 39, P Weston 36, A Palmer 33, T Forte 3-73
Cryptics CC 263 for 8 (53 overs)
M Pugh 77, M Stafford 62, B Westhead 51