Second XI Return to Winning Ways
Following the debacle of the previous week, Saturday saw a full strength Shrewton 2nd XI on the road again, heading to the south coast to play Bournemouth 3rd XI. With the weather forecast promising early drizzle followed by sunshine, stand in captain Little was already planning a tactical masterpiece. On arrival at the Chapel Gate ground, with rain starting to fall heavily, the Shrews were somewhat confused to see the covers had already been removed. White and Boselli spoke to the opposition captain and encouraged him to put the covers back on to ensure that we had the chance of a game once the rain stopped.
Right on time, the rain passed and in the absence of Newbury, Little continued the tradition of losing the toss and the Shrews were put into the field. Now placed second in Division 4 West and keen to make their mark on this match, the Shrews knew that 24 points were critical to their Division title hopes.
Aiming to bowl them out and bag maximum points, Little opened with the questionable pace of White and the lateral movement of Gray. Bowling from the carpark end, White uncharacteristically bowled 3 wides in his first over, before he found his line. Bowling an unbroken 8 overs, White (3/18) collected wickets by literally boring the batsmen to death, forcing them to play shots to stay awake. The only exception to this was a plumb LBW shout, the ball pitching inline with middle stump and hitting the front pad just above the ankle. Whilst some suggested that it perhaps wasn’t out, the scorebook clearly shows that it was. Gray, bemusing the batsmen with continual movement off the seam, racked up the maidens denying the batsmen any opportunity to score. Bowling a tight 7 overs, he finished with extremely frugal figures of 0/13, with only 10 of these coming off the bat. With the opening bowling partnership over and 15 overs down, Bournemouth were sat on precariously on 33/3.
The bowling pressure continued with Little and Boselli entering the attack. Little (3/15) bowling with a broken finger, found plenty of grip and continually bowled the elusive mystery ball, having the batmen in all sorts of trouble as the runs dried up. Fortunately, the expensive Boselli (1/38) felt some sympathy and rather than using the grass as a guide, he continually bowled full bungers interspersed with the occasional short ball to ensure there were runs on the board. His efforts for the opposition were helped in the field by Sleeman kicking the ball over the boundary whilst trying to show off some fancy 1st team fielding skills. In the field, Withers is fast becoming the go to person for catching advice, once again demonstrating his cat like reactions, pouching with confidence in the slips. Certainly, a serious contender for most catches this season.
Still nursing a poorly ankle and uncharacteristically quiet in the field, TikTok’r Plank, wisely passed up the opportunity to bowl. Little instead choosing Holtby and Sleeman to mop up the tail. Bowling 3 overs each, Holtby claimed excellent figures of 1/6 and Sleeman an outstanding 2/2. Clearly the bowling plan had worked, with Bournemouth finishing their innings on 97 all out from 37 overs.
Although confirmation of teas had yet to be shared by Newbury, special mention should go to his efforts for keeping the scorebook accurate, and the team motivated with shouts of encouragement from the boundary.
Following a delicious tea of garage bought sandwiches, warm coke and supermarket sausage rolls, as well as lots of football related banter, Sleeman making his season debut for the 2nd XI strode out to the middle with the in-form Battison to start the run chase. Unbeknown to the rest of the team, Battison had decided to utilise the full range of 20/20 shots in his locker and proceeded to smash an excellent if rather fortuitous 18 ball 51 before holing out at deep square leg. Sleeman, clearly also in a hurry to finish things, played some rather streaky shots on his way to being stumped for 43. With only 4 runs required for the win, Plank hobbled out to the middle to join Pottage. Being unable to run, Plank (0) took a back seat, contributing nothing more than appealing on behalf of the bowler, leaving Pottage (4) to strike his first ball to the boundary thus securing the win with 31 overs to spare.
Another win, sees Team Newbury/Bentley/Plank/Little rack up six wins, keeping Division title hopes alive. Next Saturday, a home fixture sees them take on 15th placed Steeple Langford. With player availability still uncertain, and another win critical, Newbury will be relying on his team to put in a shift and deliver!
Shrewton II – Little (c), Sleeman, Gray, Pottage, Withers, Battison, Holtby, McClure (wk), White, Boselli and Plank.