After we left the field on Saturday the news came through that we had clinched the divisional championship; inevitably leading a few of the player breaking out into a chorus of ‘we are the champions’ and there was no doubt in our final match against St. Andrews, we certainly did ‘keep fighting till the end’. With a total almost 500 runs and 13 wickets this was an action packed match that had more twists and turns than the Hai Van Pass.
Winning the toss I decided to get some runs on the board, and have a bat. After 10 overs and 70 or so runs up this looked like a canny decision. Sadly, after a great start from myself and Mark I lost my footing, as well as my wicket, turning back from a potential run. I have to say lying face down on pitch looking up as their keeper dispatched the bails wasn’t exactly what I had in mind as a way to finish the season, but as is life.
More serious problems were about to materialise; with the quick wickets of Simon, Mark and Will within just a few overs of each other. Ash came in and made his usual quick fire innings : hitting no fewer than four 4s in one over, off their slow arm spinner but he too got out trying to make it 5 out of 6.
Anyone who watches England’s test team will know the feeling of seeing a top order batting collapse and so we desperately looked around hoping we could find a Jonny Bairstow or Jos Buttler amongst our middle order –we didn’t need to wait too long : Avi and Ned stepped into those shoes quick enough, and both put on an excellent partnership with some great shot making and maturity beyond their years. Ned was unlucky to get out in the 40’s letting Oliver come in and carry his bat. Avi, staying in slightly longer, for an excellent 67 not out – leaving us at a very healthy 267 by the time the scoreboard clocked its 40th overs.
Unusually for us we didn’t have any spinners so we knew we would be heavily reliant on our pace trio of Ned, Avi and Oliver to lead our bowling attack. Ned and Avi opened well and kept their top order well under wraps during the first 10 overs or so. It was clear they were going to have to rely on their middle order to up their run rate – something they did with aplomb getting a solid 10 runs and over and piling on the pressure. In the meantime Pete came into our attack and got 2 wickets – one caught by his young brother (hopefully resulting in less arguments at the Kinnear household later on). Oliver bowled some great in swingers which resulted in getting the wickets of their two main shot makers – thus by the time their skipper came in the run rate was pretty much beyond what they were going to realistically achieve. So it was just a case of setting a defensive field and coasting to victory for the remaining overs.
All credit to the junior players – this was a victory that was all down to the youngsters both with the ball and the bat.
In the dressing room after we heard the result from the other match : the 30 points was easily enough for us to be crowned champions of our league for 2018. A fantastic effort for all those concerned and, I feel a well-deserved one, for a team that has an over 80% win rate this year.
We can look back on this season with a huge amount of pride – a season where the participation and fun levels have equalled the high levels of our results.
Looking forward to next season (and a higher division) obviously will be more of a challenge, but we look forward to taking up our task with buoyancy and hope.
Batting : Avi scored a brilliant 67 not out, innings which oozed class.
Bowler : Oliver got out their two main danger men which effectively killed of their chances.
Fielder –Richard Goodwin even an injured shoulder at the end didn’t stop him from giving 110%
(Avinash Ashok 67no, Ned Rowland 42)
Thanks to Steve and Julie Rowland for their usual excellent support and for Julie for scoring.