Rock, Paper, Scissors
Picture the scene, Alastair Cook has called Joe Root and Nick Compton into the Long Room at Lords and is explaining to them that he just can’t make up his mind who should open the batting with him in the 1st Ashes Test on the 10th July so has come up with a brilliant idea how to decide, “I want you to have a game of Rock, paper, scissors. The winner gets to open, the loser doesn’t play” Simple. Joe won, Nick lost!
Not the greatest way to decide who’s opening but this is exactly how we decided on Saturday down at Dunsford, Danny had won the toss and decided that we should have a bat on the hard and good looking wicket. First Greg and then Kevin Yarnley turned down the opportunity and so it was narrowed down to either myself or Dave to open with Tom Gidney. Rock, paper, scissors it was then and I won, Dave lost and I was very pleased to be Joe Root.
The Dunsford opening attack had a lot of experience and bowled 4 or 5 good deliveries per over but would slip in the odd bad ball and that was all Tom and I needed to keep the score ticking over. Tom carried on from his ton the previous week and I was ensuring that I carried out the skippers instructions to see of the first 10 overs so our big hitters could then come in and make the most of the tiring fielders, what he didn’t say to me though was when he wanted me out so I just kept on batting! A double bowling change saw the introduction of a young man that bowled a little quicker than we would normally face and it was during one of his overs that the first wicket fell, a mix up between us (Toms fault, not mine ;-)) saw Tom run out for 33 with us having put on 64 for the opening wicket. Brad joined me at the crease and it is always a pleasure to bat with him as he talks you through what you should be doing and is very encouraging, he also makes batting look easy from the other end! Just as he looked to be getting set for another of his excellent innings the young buck quickie nipped one through to rattle his off stump. The weeks of practise in the nets came good for Rob Scott as he found the middle of the bat nicely, I finally got my first half century for Chulmleigh but by this point I was starting to tire as it was a large outfield with plenty of 2’s and 3’s run. Having put on over 60 for the 3rd wicket Rob was bowled for 26 and I followed not too long after for 67 (I would like to refute the rumour that I got out because I didn’t want to bat with the skipper who had promoted himself to number 5, yes that’s right number 5 in the batting order!!!). We suddenly had a mini collapse as the senior members of the team (Kevin, Greg and Dave) came and went for 1 run between them – oh how they then regretted not opening! However AJ and Danny put some quick runs on to push us up to 190 before AJ was run out by Danny with 1 ball to spare for a cracking 16 and Danny finished unbeaten on 15.
The reply started with Tim Shapland and Tom Spence opening the bowling and it looked like Dunsford were going to give it a go chasing and although they both bowled well the Dunsford openers put away anything that was loose. We had a very rare occasion in the field when Brad mistimed his jump to take a catch off of Tim and the ball slipped through his fingers, we all gasped in shock to see him spill a chance! A great piece of captaincy changed the match when Danny put a man back on the off side to counter Sharland going straight and over the top, which was becoming his favourite shot, and with this area now out of bounds for him his runs started to dry up. They had put on 57 for the first wicket and with Brad now bowling his offies (that were turning square!) he forced Durbridge into a false shot and didn’t make the same mistake twice and took a return catch. The young Dunsford quickie was promoted up the order to give their innings some much needed impotence but he didn’t last long however his dismissal will live long in the memories of those who were there, he connected with a Danny delivery and the ball went a mile into the air and down towards the boundary, Tim had been positioned between deep long on and sweeper and kept his eye on the swirling ball superbly and pocketed it whilst making it look easy. It was one of those balls that everyone else was thinking “I’m glad I’m nowhere near that!” but thankfully for us Tim was up for the challenge! In the next over Danny picked up his second wicket with a straight one that kept low and gave their umpire no choice but to give it out LBW. Not one who likes to be outdone, Tom Gidney then took a cracking catch, similar to Tim’s steepling catch but not quite as high, this was AJ’s first wicket of the afternoon. His second followed 2 balls later with the new batsmen trying to hit the leather off the ball and getting a fine edge to give me my first catch of the innings. By now the game was nearly over and the final 20 overs nearly bowled, we still needed another 4 wickets and Dunsford needing 90’ish to win and the game faded into a draw despite Danny trying all 3 of our quicker bowlers again and attacking the batsmen but it wasn’t to be. There was one last turn of the game as Danny changed his action for the final ball and tried his hand at spin bowling, amazingly it worked as the Dunsford batsman came down the wicket to him, missed (the turning ball?) and gave me the simplest of stumpings. Dunsford finished on 115 for 7 and the game was an honourable draw taking our record to 9 games unbeaten so far this season, can we keep it going next week at Thorverton?, only time will tell!