• Shrewton Cricket Club

Newbury - Hungry for More

Following on from the nail biting win last week at Burley, it was finally derby week, with the Shrews hosting Steeple Langford at the Rec. As reported previously, last year’s match was won by Langford, largely due to the wily bowling of Jim Nick ripping through the lower order batters. The lads were keen to make sure a repeat performance wasn’t on the cards, so it was with some relief they arrived at the Rec to see Jim setting up the score book, rather than strapping on his bowling boots. This being down to a cricket related injury making him unavailable for the next month or so.


Newbury had selected a largely unchanged team, the only difference being the addition of the Shrewton powerhouse Stu Cruse and the Italian connection Boselli in place of Bate senior (exams) and Gray (1st team duties).


Another lovely sunny day saw Newbury breaking from tradition and losing the toss for once and Langford deciding the Shrews could have a bat. With the top order struggling to fire, Newbury shuffled the pack, opening with Withers and Battisson. Batting on a decent track for once, both openers were quickly into their stride, Battisson creaming ball after ball to the boundary and Withers playing a great supporting role at the other end. With the score on 36, Withers (12) departed having his stumps rearranged by Ralph. Cruse playing his first game of the season and looking for the quick single, was soon off the mark, timing proper cricket shots through the covers with a bat of epic proportions. Battisson meanwhile continued to go big until the 18th over when he was finally bowled by Ralph for an excellent 55.


With the score on 79 and 18 overs down, it was time for Vallis to showcase his reach and hitting ability. Occupying the crease for seven overs, he moosed a few boundaries and one huge six before being given out lbw to Bennett for a well made 24. Cruse was also soon to depart for 17, bringing Castle and Newbury to the crease. With 18 overs left and knowing that a total in excess of 200 would be required for victory, both batters set about a comedy double act of calamitous running and dreadful calling. One nameless spectator even went so far as to suggest, that they had never seen such a debacle of running between the wickets. It got so bad at one point that Newbury, (not renowned for his love of quick singles), ran all the way to the non strikers end before being sent back by Castle for no runs!


Although Newbury was visibly angered by this, it did nothing to stem the tide of runs flowing from his bat. Striking with a fluency not seen this season he finished unbeaten on a fortuitous 64 from 70 balls. Castle made an important 37 before succumbing to the bowling of Dhanji. Bentley (16) was the last batter, striking cleanly through the line, hitting 4s and 6s before running out of balls, to leave the Shrews on 240/6 from their allotted 45 overs.


Arguably the highlight of the day was the tea kindly served by Tas. In an era where cricket teas have become as rare as Hatch scoring runs, it was with much delight that both teams sat down to a selection of delicious sandwiches, freshly baked cakes and a choice of flan and quiche. With everyone fed and watered, it was time to take to the field and bowl.


In an attempt to stop the opening batters hitting out early doors as they did last year, Newbury turned to White and Hatch to open the proceedings. Both bowlers hit their lines and lengths immediately stemming the runs from the off. Neither bowler took a wicket, but after 16 overs, Langford were way behind the run rate on 48 runs. All change saw the guile of Bate and the Bentley bananas being bowled. Whilst taking a bit of tap, Bate bowled two, four over spells, taking the crucial wicket of Hughes for just 12. This added pressure allowed Bentley (3/27) to work his Yuri Geller like’ spoon bending magic. Bowling just back off a length, it wasn’t long before he smashed Ralph’s off stump right out of the ground, much to delight of the crowd, as it cart wheeled past Withers.


With the pressure on and wickets falling regularly, Bennett (31) and Dhanji (36) made a stand. Both batters taking their time and punishing the bad balls, their partnership steadily increasing past 50 runs. With an eye on maximum bowling points, Newbury opted to bring on the pace of Vallis to try and pry out the last remaining batters. Whilst the correct decision, Vallis (1/7) simply ran out of overs, trying to emulate Bentley by smashing the wicket of Bennett for a well made 31. Langford closed out their innings with 189 for 8 wickets, some 51 runs shy of the Shrews total.


A couple of performances worth of mention; Firstly, George behind the stumps putting in an outstanding shift to limit the extras and take a difficult catch off Bentley. And secondly, Hatch in the covers under the swirling high ball. When asking how to describe his ******* ******* catching effort, it was simply suggested that suitable words couldn’t be posted on the club website, and instead just a line of symbols should be used.


With three wins under their belt, the Shrews now sit in second place behind Whiteparish. A much improved performance this week, with runs being scored throughout the order stands the lads in good stead for the trip to Bournemouth next Saturday.


Shrewton II – Newbury (c), Castle, Withers (wk), Bentley, Hatch, Battisson, Vallis, White, Boselli, Bate (Junior) and Cruse.

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