By John Thompson
Who said ‘win-lose-draw’ cricket resulted in boring draws ?!?! – this one certainly wasn’t, with almost every result possible until the final ball the 1st’s came away from Swifts with a winning draw in the bag that could very easily have gone the other way.
As seems to be the norm, we started in electric fashion with Martin (63) and Saurabh (26) bringing up another 50 opening partnership in the 8th over before Saurabh was well caught. Martin went to a second consecutive 50, again with 11 boundaries as he and Sandeep (59) added 77 for the 2nd wicket and at halfway we were 120-odd for 1 with another huge total on the cards. The onslaught continued after Martin’s departure with Romi promoted to four, making 37 and Mansour his first sizeable contribution with 38 as we went past first 200, and then 250 in the final over thanks to late cameos from Sam and Lucky.
Defending 258 on most days would be straightforward, but the outfield was quick and the opposition intent on playing their shots so securing a result did not come easily.
Govind made the first breakthrough, quickly followed by Rakesh as both Swifts’ openers were gone before 30 was on the board. This brought in the engine room of their batting with Tom Davies (86) and Josh Bishop (28) leading the fightback. They took the score to 93 before the latter gifted JT a wicket hitting the ball straight to Lucky at backward square. With Martin off the field following recurrence of his groin injury we were down to 10 men and this made stopping boundaries harder. With Rakesh needing to leave early Martin was forced to return to the fray (courtesy of nurse Lynne’s medicine cabinet) but this turned out to be a decisive moment in our favour as he bowled Davies for 86 with the score on 186. Govind plucked a great running catch out of the air off Romi soon after but Swifts kept in touch as they passed 200. Connor Clarke now took over the bulk of the scoring and with a brace of 6s kept the asking rate around 7 an over as we entered the final half a dozen overs. We were not to be beaten though as the ‘death’ overs were entrusted to Govind and Lucky who were able to cut off the flow of boundaries. And with no fielding restrictions we were able to push everyone back in the last couple of overs to prevent the rope being reached and even picked up a pair of run outs in the final over as Clarke’s partners committed batting suicide to keep him on strike. It all boiled down to 6 off the final ball to draw the scores level, but Govind kept his nerve and Clarke was only able to drive a single down to long on.
A game that showed us at our best with the bat, but where old bad habits resurfaced in the field as we gave away too many runs in the outfield and by bowling too many extra deliveries that in the end could well have cost us dear.