Seconds win Shortened Encounter
Updated: Mar 16
With rain in the air and thunder keeping Captain Newbury awake for most of the night, there wasn’t much hope of cricket being played this week. Nevertheless, the dedicated Shrewton 2nd XI made their way to the Rec to discuss the forecast and await a decision.
Following discussion between the umpires, careful analysis of metoffice.gov.uk and a range of dodgy phone weather apps, it was assessed that there was a reasonable chance of playing in the afternoon. It was therefore decided that play would commence at 14.00 with the overs reduced to 30. Newbury won the toss for only the third time this season and chose to bat. Thanks must go to George Clift and the grounds team for ensuring the track was in top condition on a day on which not much cricket will have been played across the Hampshire league.
Opening with the mighty Pottage and former catching king Withers, the run rate progressed at a glacial pace, reaching just 11 from 6 overs. Maybe it was the thought of a Walls Vienetta waiting in the freezer that spurred him into action, but from the 7th over onwards, Pottage unleashed a batting onslaught rarely seen these days at the Rec. Anchored at the opposite end by Withers (21), Pottage played the full array of streaky drives, cuts and pulls, regularly being dropped and making Withers sweat in the process, before finally holing out to Shears for a lucky 54. With the score on 88 from 16 overs, the in form Battisson arrived at the crease. Not one for taking his time, he struck out from the off, smoking a rapid fire 39 before being bowled by Winfield. Already this season he’s blasted a massive 736 runs. Will he be able to hit that elusive 1000 runs in a season milestone? Only time will tell. With 6 overs remaining, Newbury (11), Hatchet (14) and Holtby (16) combined well. Holtby closing out the innings with 2 big 6s into the stingers, to push the total to a challenging 172/4 from the allotted 30 overs.
In a confident mood, the Shrews sat down to a delicious tea thanks to Laura, albeit without the table service to which they have become accustomed to over the last few months.
With the sun finally out, the Shrews took to the field to set about defending their total. Opening from the Appleford end, Gray (2/9) was immediately into his stride. Bowling with pace, regularly hitting his length and getting some movement, it wasn’t long before he was in the wickets. Newbury prowling in the covers provided safe hands to dismiss Hopper for 4, followed by Holtby joining the party to pouch Smith for 11. White (0/26) bowling from the Village end wasn’t as successful. Lacking accuracy, he got carted to the boundary most overs. This, combined with dropping a fairly regulation catch, prompted the lads to provide plenty of advice and direction for the remainder of the match.
With only 6 overs per bowler, it was now the turn of young Parish and old Bentley to chuck down some pies. Parish (2/36), bowling a number of variations was successful from the start, catching Shears off his own bowling, before forcing a mistimed shot to Pottage lurking at deep mid off. Bentley (1/13) reciprocated at the other end, opening with tactical wide balls, before bowling with away movement and plenty of guile pinning Rouse LBW to leave Laverstock 5 down in the 23rd over. With only 7 overs remaining and requiring 80 runs for victory, Laverstock had no choice but to hit out. With Newbury looking like he might be about to turn his arm over for the 2nd time this season, Holtby and Battisson were quickly into the attack to stop this happening and clean up the tail. Holtby bowling with pace and accuracy taking 2 excellent wickets in his 1st over and Battisson, the last wicket in his. This closed out the match on 107 from 26 overs as the Laverstock No 11 retired injured.
Whilst the bowling had generally been excellent (with the exception of White), the catching left a lot to be desired. A number of catches had been put down, through a combination of poor catching technique (White), lack of calling (Holtby), a lack of effort (Withers) and some kind of strange pirouette dance move (Hatchet). The exception to this was Bentley fielding at gully, who caught a fast moving catch, low and to his left. The post catch roll was perhaps a bit unnecessary though. Another notable highlight of the game was the lightning reflexes of McClure, taking the bails off as the batsman stepped out of his crease following a Bentley no ball.
This win sees the 2nd XI climb one place to 6th in the League. With only 0.96 points separating 3rd thru 6th, it’s all to play for next Saturday, as the 2nd XI host 9th placed Pylewell Park at Tidworth. This week showed the importance of having a top 4 batting line up that can put runs on the board. Hopefully Monday selection will see Newbury able to select his first choice team and allow the 2nd XI to continue climbing back up the table.
Shrewton II – Newbury (c), Pottage, Withers, Bentley, Hatchet, Battisson, McClure (wk), White, Holtby, Parish and Gray.