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Penn Street Cricket Club PSCC v Rivets on Sat 23 Jun 2012 at 14.00
Penn Street Cricket Club Won by 169 runs
It was an inauspicious day, as these days often are. A patchwork Penn Street side, assembled from around the country, gathered on the Squirrel lawn looking at the threatening sky, wondering whether they would be able to complete a full game before the heavens opened.
It started well. Club Captain Chris Fletcher called correctly and elected to bat on a firm and true pitch sending Rivets to stand under the gloomy sky. One final cigarette, and Fletch marched out to bat with opening partner Peter Jupp – a formidable combination! Not wishing to face old adversary Shamas, Fletch quickly got off the mark with a single, leaving Juppy to hit the first boundary. Following suit, Fletch heaved his first six off Travers’ over the long-on boundary and Penn Street were on their way.
As Fletch continued to hit out, he had a couple of lucky escapes, most notably a sharp caught and bowled chance to old friend, Shamas, when suddenly he cut a full toss straight to mid-off – straight at the fielder – gone!
But wait. An eagle-eyed Chris Herriott, square leg umpire, was standing, arm outstretched.
It had been above waist height. Reprieved, Fletch retreated slightly into his shell while, with a fifty partnership looming, Juppy, trying to get things moving, skied one to cover, but failed to enjoy the same luck Fletch was having at the other end, his chance being gobbled up by the hungry fielder at cover.
This brought to the crease debutant Chris Spry, AKA Buffalo Senior, fresh from the Hampshire over-50s side, who flicked a couple of stylish leg side balls for four before succumbing to a caught behind, leaving Penn Street nicely poised on 83-2.
Enter ex-Rivets player, Steve Exton, having thankfully bought new Penn Street embroidered whites the week before, coinciding with a lovely run of form. A few good-natured digs from his former teammates, he showed them his full intentions by smacking his second ball for four.
Fletch, having reached 50 in a rather pedestrian 53 balls, then exploded, hitting four fours in sequential balls off Atteq and then blasting Fenty for a six for good measure to reach his hundred off 29 more balls. But he showed no signs of slowing down, and a crowd started to gather. 150 was passed in no time at all, Steve Exton ably pushing the singles to give Fletch the strike.
163, Fletch’s previous high score, surpassed in a blur with a six in an over that yielded 20, and the score rose higher. Juppy, pacing, muttering “he could do this, he could really do this”, CHerriott, sucking furiously on a cigarette, counting Fletch’s runs as he made them, Lofty, peering repeatedly at the scorebook, wondering whether reaching for his camera would jinx it. Time stood still, adrenaline racing.
A nervous wobble. A heave and a miss. Steve Exton imploring him to keep his head down.
“Keep going, Fletch. Easy does it.”
Gathering himself, he pulled his way to 200, the record now in sight, needing only 7 to surpass it.
“This could be it. We could be witnessing history! This may never happen again!”
A two, to place level with Penn Street legend, Tim Coombes, the whole crowd tense with anticipation.
The bowler ran in, bowled, Fletch nudged the ball straight, and hared off for the single, yelling for Steve Exton to run, run!
He’s done it! Penn Street history made before our very eyes, Fletch leaping into his ground, throwing himself into the air with joy, an enormous roar of applause swallowing the ground. But he wasn’t finished there.
A few more fours, a couple of sixes, enough to push the record higher than previously imagined, and he handed over to Steve Exton, who had played the anchor role admirably, while quietly accumulating strike giving singles and a few lusty sixes of his own, marching his way towards 50, his second for the season.
A guard of honour ushered Fletch off the pitch, bats held high.
The final total? 327-2, 230 of them scored by Fletch, ably assisted by Steve Exton in an unbeaten partnership of 244.
After yet another delicious tea, Penn Street took the field, aware that the job was only half done. A stinging catch from Jack Slade to his left in the third over got rid of one of the openers, while a sharp run out from Chris Spry took care of the other, who had been hitting out in an attempt to chase the runs down, leaving them with little chance.
A surprising lack of bowlers meant Fletch’s work was not over, bringing himself into bowl – a fruitful spell which yielded four wickets, although the fifth proved elusive, a spirited final wicket partnership taking up the last of his overs, before Travers finally succumbed to Peter Lofty, taking a caught and bowled opportunity, leaving Rivets on 158 and Penn Street the victors.
Unsurprisingly, Chris Fletcher takes the Man of the Match award for his 230* off 137 balls and four wickets.
Penn Street Cricket Club PSCC Batting
14nb 3w 6b
for 2 wickets
ct Ateeq b Travers
ct Buddiha b Gulfraz
1nb 6w 16b 2lb
for 10 wickets
158 (35.5 overs)
run out (C. Spry)
ct J. Slade b P. Goodchild
ct P. Lofty b C. Fletcher
ct W. Spry b C. Herriott
b P. Goodchild
run out (C. Herriott)
b C. Fletcher
b C. Fletcher
lbw b C. Fletcher
ct & b P. Lofty
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