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Cranbourne v Penn Street Cricket Club PSCC on Sun 22 Jun 2008 at 14:00
Penn Street Cricket Club Won by27 runs
To bat, or not to bat, that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of a Cranbourne attack that demolished us at home, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing, end them... To try... TO WIN.
As skipper Matt Reavey strode out to toss a coin with the Cranbourne skipper at Windsor Great Park, these thoughts occupied his mind.
The presence of Queen Elizabeth too, loomed large over proceedings - for once not simply in the decision to call heads or tails, but in the knowledge she may be witnessing our every move from her roof terrace at deep cover.
Opting to decline the time game format in favour of a result, Matt decided the team was more than capable of exacting revenge on Cranbourne for the mauling at home! Opening up with himself and Fletch, going was not easy early on. The Cranbourne openers kept a tight line and handled conditions well - the presence of extreme wind levels not seen on a village cricket pitch since the late great Colin Parry last graced us with his presence, unsettled the game to a point where a decision was made to remove the bails so as to complete the match before the end of June!
Fletch settled first and right from the off looked on for the big score he'd threatened several times in recent weeks. Matt then fell for 7 before getting going, after playing on to an opener with his run up marker just inside the opening of the world's largest marquee.
This brought new player J.P. Delport to the crease, but sadly he didn't trouble the scorers after falling to a sharp caught behind.
Enter Rob Sutherland, in a rich vein of form currently, to support Fletch as he began to dominate. Together the pair turned the match our way with a blistering barrage of fearless strokeplay and seasoned invention! Its testament to Rob's performance that he was more than matching Fletch's strike rate even after arriving much later at the crease. His timing in particular off his legs continued to split a field already as deep as they could go. This just made the timing of his dismissal all the more disappointing for a watching Penn Street team willing him to a richly deserved fifty. It wasn't to be, he sadly fell just 3 short for 47 off 52 balls after adding 117 priceless runs with Fletch in 20 overs. Michael Davies, himself in good from after an impressive 35 the previous weekend, went the same way as JP to bring Cherriott to the party at his favourite point - with boundaries needed to avoid the necessity for running!!!! Unfortunately for him, Cranbourne's ground is rather on the large side and he ended up locked into a succession of 2's that threatened to break The Bald Toddler!! While all this was occurring, one man stood tall like a beacon glowing light and dark blue! His name was Fletch and he wielded his Sword Of Puma like his very life depended on it. From his place in "The Zone", Fletch constructed an innings of all the extremes - power AND grace, resolute defence AND blistering attack, that left the Cranbourne attack begging for mercy before the 30 over mark!! One huge six in particular over long on, broke Cranbourne hearts all round The Windsor Oval. "Lofted drive over my head?" exclaimed one fielder. "How VERY dare you!!"
And so, as all great things must come to an end, so did Fletch's innings. Bowled for a Peugeot 106 off 108 balls just before the end, Fletch walked off to rapturous applause from his waiting team-mates.
It was just left to Cherriott and Steve Exton - Superguest! to take the score on further to a hugely impressive 222 for 7 at 40 overs. Both players deserve credit for playing with real intelligence to work the ball round the park into gaps.
And so we took tea with real satisfaction, knowing Cranbourne would have their work cut out to beat us, given our impressive bowling line-up.
Nick Loftus and Cherriott opened up and got us off to somewhere near the start we had hoped for - exacting real control over the Cranbourne openers until perhaps an over or 2 before the end of their 8 over allotted spells. En route, Nick was, shall we say, "unlucky" not to pick up the prized wicket of the Cranbourne main stroke player. What seemed a clear caught behind, grabbed by Steve Exton, was adjudged by the umpire to have collided with a passing twig floating on the evening breeze!! Unfazed by the inconvenience of the decision, Penn Street got back down to it well, but Cranbourne looked in danger of chasing our total down until the reprieved batsman eventually ran out of lives by becoming first victim of Starman Number Two of the day - Simon Dale! At a vital point in proceedings, Simon assumed control of the game for us with a blistering spell of accurate seam bowling - finishing with 5 for 28 in 6 overs. The match was clearly ours once more and a Penn Street side hungry for victories following a diificult run of games, was eager not to let this one slip. There was just enough time left for Michael Davies to bowl a couple of overs that further hinted at his potential as a genuine all-rounder, and also for Fletch to cap a remarkable day with 2 late wickets. In the end we ran out deserving winners by 30 runs.
As the sun set over the castle, Fletch, Simon and Rob led the troops off for a well deserved celebration, as Grant set about organising a "champion's supper" with a very limited guest list!!
The only blemish on a largely superb day was the news in the final overs that VC Cherriott had succumbed to a particularly nasty bout of "nipple rash" in the biting wind. We wish him well with his rehabilitation as he battles to be fit for Ballinger at home!
Back at The Squirrel, pints were supped and bats were inscribed in honour of our centurions and five wicket destroyers.....then home. To sleep.
..............perchance to dream.
C FLETCHER - 106
R SUTHERLAND - 47
S DALE - 5 FOR 28
C FLETCHER - 2 FOR 34
Penn Street Cricket Club PSCC Batting
for 7 wickets
No records to display.
for 9 wickets
193 (0.0 overs)
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