Going into this match on 11 August, we knew that in order to get automatically promoted we need to, not just beat Forest Row, but also make sure they got less than 10 bonus points. On paper this looked a tough task given that they are third in the table and the last time we clashed was a close run thing.
When I arrived at the ground someone mentioned the opposition had been putting in a couple of hours practice – I admit to feeling slightly nervous – in the event, though, I needn’t have worried : Grinstead 4s played with supreme confidence that befits a team with our win rate and ultimately we put in a performance which was a masterclass in professionalism and discipline.
Winning the toss on a rain sodden wicket I had no hesitation in putting them into bat, looking around at our bowling line up we seemed to have a plethora of spinners – not ideal on a pitch that had the consistency of a half-baked blancmange. So (for I think for the first time ever) I was left holding a new cherry and having a bowl. Fortunately myself and Ned restricted their batsman to around 20 off the first tens overs but in fairness to them its wasn’t an easy track to bat on. I was happy to make way for a proper bowlers and tossed the ball to Avi whilst Ned kept plugging away getting plenty of bounce.
Rohan, Kevan and Nabil focused on the spin attack and Nabil was the real standout of the trio claiming 2 wickets and was the only EG bowler not bowling a single wide.
But given the conditions it was always going to be quicks wicket – Ned bowled his usual high level and it was great to see Avi’s consistency coming right back to the high level he bowled all of last year.
Above all though this was a highly disciplined fielding unit exemplified by Will Goodwin’s superb boundary stop early on this innings which made sure we kept their score low. Infact we could have easily had them out in double figures had we kept onto a catch that that Bhav juggled for what seemed about 5 minutes before it cruelly slipped to the ground due to the spin. Its worth pointing out that he more than made up for that the week before with an amazing Joss Butler style run out. Sadly, for us, their final pair got a fifty partnership – leaving them at 130 as we headed to their panoramic bar for tea.
Being the supreme athlete that I am, I loaded up on a plate load of pork pies at tea before myself and Mark (or the weasel brothers as we are now affectionately known to some members of the team) stepped into the wicket to see if we could start to clawback the runs.
Given the conditions we just weren’t quite sure what could be achieved. The main thing from our side was just to avoid any kind of batting collapse so we went about things in a business like manner. Mark had a couple of scares but plugged on brilliantly to get a half century before retiring. I got a ball soon after which I can only assume hit a mole on the head as it was short and immediately flew down to my stumps without getting more than an inch off the ground.
And so it was left to Nabil and R. Goodwin to get another twenty or so runs between them to get us over the line.
In fairness this turned out to be a one sided affair against a side that are not far away from us on points – a clear demonstration (if one is needed) of how much we have improved during the course of this season.
Moreover, it’s great to see that we are not getting these results through drafting in players from higher teams etc but results are coming through from improved performances from the same team we have played with in the last 2 years. Well done to everyone involved.
Players of the day:
Batsman : M. Wills for a half century
Bowler : Avi – he didn’t play at all at the first half of the season and I know he has worked hard to get his consistency back so I was delighted to see him doing so well.