Match Report from Ian Garrett.....
In a game that swayed backwards and forwards, Five Ways just managed to close out the match when a last wicket partnership was threatening to snatch victory away. On a ground where it was difficult to make big scores, excellence in the field, and particularly some superb catches, was what made the difference.
Cookhill won the toss and inserted Five Ways, and Ian Garrett and Tony Potter got off to a brisk start, despite the difficulty of hitting boundaries on a large playing area with a slow outfield. Ian slashed square and pulled the short ball powerfully, Tony drove straight and through extra cover, and they had added 44 in nine overs when Ian played inside a ball from Aiden Blann and was bowled for 21. Tony went to 28 but then missed a pull shot, the ball keeping low on the sluggish pitch, but youngsters Will Leech and Harry McDermott batted brightly and positively. Harry was the more aggressive, swatting length balls through the leg side, whilst Will drove nicely when the bowlers overpitched. There were also plenty of extras, and at the 18 over sanitation break, Ways’ total stood at 107-2, the fifty partnership was up, and a score of over 200 looked possible. It was not to be. In the following over, a horrible mix-up saw Harry run out for 24 (109-3), and the innings declined sharply. Mollie Burke went cheaply, Will dragged one on to his stumps for 16, and no one else stayed for long, until Gavin Anderson joined Abi Crampton for the ninth and last wicket (Ways being a player short), and added crucial runs, Gavin finishing 14 not out when Abi was out having resisted bravely.
A score of 139 didn’t look enough, especially after the heights of 100-2. However, it was probably worth an additional twenty, as shots that would have been boundaries at home pulled up in the outfield and yielded twos or threes. Still, as the Cookhill openers began positively, the target looked very achievable. Then in the fifth over, Lucy Hardy struck, straightening one off a length to trap Hill LBW, then taking a chipped return catch next ball – 16-2. Lucy struck again a few overs later, bowling Ward, and a crucial wicket fell when Cummings was run out following an excellent stop and swift throw from Harry McDermott at backward point. Eleven overs gone and four down. And although opener Craig Ellicott was difficult to shift, and struck anything loose powerfully through the leg side, wickets continued to fall steadily at the other end.
Will Leech’s off spin first picked up Blann, caught neatly in the leg side ring by Amanda Benyon, and then Perry, with Ian Garrett taking a running catch behind the bowler as the batter went for the big shot over the top. “That’ll be the catch of the game” he thought – little did he know.
Gavin Anderson meanwhile had the other end wrapped up, going for a miserly run an over, and Ellicott on 36 tried to break the shackles with a lofted off drive. It seemed to be clearing Anthony Hardy at mid off, who jumped, got in in both hands, and hung on as he crashed to the turf. It was an outstanding catch – Cookhill seven down, and crucially, no partnership between Ellicott, and incoming captain Harris, their best two batters.
Harris and Blann senior then put on a more substantial partnership, Will Leach losing his length a little against the experienced left hander, but Gavin pulled off another excellent catch for a caught and bowled, then trapped young Weaving LBW, and at 80-9, it seemed game over. But now Harris took control, ably supported by the obstinate Cummings senior, who got his bat in the way of the straight one, and squeezed runs away square of the wicket when given the chance.
Harris drove with power enough to reach the boundary even over the sluggish outfield, the total passed 100, the target dropped each over. Gavin and Lucy had now bowled out, Abi was struggling with her knee, and the lack of an extra bowler was starting to be felt. Then with the score 125, Ian drifted one down the leg side to Cummings. Tony Potter whipped off the bails to no avail, but then, as the batter stumbled forward losing his balance, ripped out a stump, and the stumping appeal was answered in the affirmative.
So a third win from three, and a good one, especially with only ten players. Once again, the stand out performance was Lucy Hardy (3-18), with excellent figures also from Gavin (3-11). But what probably won the game was the performance in the field, with four catches taken, some of them excellent, a run out and a stumping, allied to good ground fielding and chasing, with Harry and Lucy prominent. Can the 3rds continue their unbeaten run next week?