7 May Keevil v AVCC

The sun favoured us with its presence as AVCC’s warriors assembled in good time at Keevil’s ground in the Manor House gardens. It was an ideal setting for a day’s cricket to welcome the new season. We had a late re-shuffle of the team as star batsman Greg Caswell had damaged his back, but our Zim friends had liberated Matt Boothway to join us (welcome back). Graham Newland won the toss and elected to bat. There was no thought to that we would go on to score our 2nd highest 35 overs score of our history….239 vs a strong Wiltshire league side. Shorn of our usual openers, we went with a big-hitting strategy and it worked. Jeremy Richards and Jon Wolverson opened. They looked in good nick…..especially Jeremy who looked in top form. The scoreboard rattled along…..15 off 2, 45 off 6, 61 off 8 as they smashed the ball around this lovely ground. Much time was lost hunting lost balls in hedges, pastures, gardens, ditches. Jeremy was the first to go in the 9th over, unluckily on 27 (2x6, 3x4’s), to a catch off their newly introduced spin/slow bowler, by our own Adam Stephens who we had leant to Keevil as a substitute fielder. Then mayhem started as Michael Rae (5) and Matt Boothway (0) quickly succumbed to the same slow bowler. Was the middle-order collapse about to happen? Adam Stephens then went in and redeemed himself with a very strong and good-looking 23 - including 1x6 and 3x4”s - before being caught off the same slow bowler (Tyler), who was by now appealing for everything and anything. So Graham came in to steady the ship, and forged a good partnership with Jon Wolverson who was still bludgeoning the ball around the ground. We had some good cameos; when their fast bowling captain came on, Graham smashed him, first ball, straight back to the boundary for 4 and repeated the trick a couple of balls later. That took the wind out of their sails. The scoreboard continued to tick over, until Jon was out for 61, bowled. Great innings, and his highest AVCC score to date. Peter Williams, fresh from Canada and jet-lagged, came in and defended stoutly against accurate fast bowling, but was bowled for 0 by their captain who had now found his radar. Tim Gent then came in and fended off some sharp and fast grass-cutters. The pitch was now playing unpredictably and Graham was out shortly afterwards for a captains innings of 42 (7x4’s) to keep the momentum going. Bruce Carter came and went for a silver (0) before Ben Eveling was welcomed back after a long break. He and Tim led an entertaining last few overs smashing the ball around before Tim was out for 13. Dudley Perrins came in for 2 balls at the end of the innings and managed to get himself LBW for a silver (0) on the last ball, leaving Ben triumphant but stranded on 11 not out. 239 - a very high score and a great effort. After an excellent tea….chocolate cakes, a great selection of cheeses, salamis, bread and butter, pizza, sausages and ham….but no tea (the urn was not switched on)…..we made our way back out into the warm conditions to field. There was a determined air about the team, as we knew the total would be tough to defend and that we would need to be at our best. Well, simply, put, I was very proud of a great team effort. We fielded like men possessed and kept the run rate down to get them all out for 192…a win of 47 runs. Most excellent! Indeed, one of the best team efforts I have witnessed at AVCC, and every player can feel pleased and proud of their contributions. Highlights of our fielding:- Jeremy Richards 1-12 off 7 overs - extremely well bowled; always menacing. Michael Rae looked constantly dangerous and aggressive and was 1-23 off 7 overs. Adam Stephens looked a handful and bowled super-tight for 0-9 off 4 overs. Matt Boothway bowled very tight and deservedly took 2-26 off 6.3 overs - including a well-taken hard-hit catch off his own bowling. Without these contributions, plus some major fielding efforts, we might well have lost. Peter Williams was like a terrier in the field, looking after leg-side almost by himself….very well done. Bruce Carter had probably his finest game behind the stumps and kept the byes down to a paltry 5….not easy on such a pitch with small boundaries. (they let 30 byes for comparison). Ben Eveling was lively in the field and came on to bowl 3 overs of spin (0-37) and variation to keep them guessing, and Jon Wolverson bowled a complete range of stuff and took 2-78 off 7 including tempting their 2 most dangerous batsmen to give catches away…one being an absolutely stunning diving catch by Michael Rae, running in off the boundary. Indeed, we had time for comedy, as one of their pairs managed to run themselves out - apparently the same pair for the second day running. The one run out (for the 2nd time) was giving the other a lift home…would be interesting to know if they got there in one piece! And Dudley created (near) history by being nut-megged in the slips and only just avoiding serious mid-wicket and bails damage by doing an unexpected little jump beforehand. Not sure whether to fine him for catch-avoidance, or marvel at his jump! And a special mention from a proud dad…. Skye managed the scoreboard for both innings. She will undoubtedly play for us one day. Back to the Well in Bucklington, and a good pint and some rather nice roast potatoes and gravy. Good end to a great day. We need a repeat vs Marden next week. Richard Cox memorial trophy to be defended. Have a good week.

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