The Lads are back On track
Off the back of last week’s defeat to Bournemouth and with yet another local derby to play, Newbury stuck with tradition and called the lads to Durry Café for a nutritious pre match breakfast. Rather than gorging on eggs Benedict and fluffy pancakes, it was out and out chicken nuggets, bacon, fried eggs and brown sauce this week. A few changes to the side saw Castle, Gray and Withers on 1st team duties. This made way for Rouse and Harries, both playing their first game of the season for the Shrews.
Newbury won the toss, putting Amesbury in to bat. The absence of Withers, meant that Newbury assumed keeping duties, something rarely seen these days. Nevertheless, there was method to his madness, as it meant he wouldn’t have to walk far or dig the ball out of the stingers. Harries was tossed the new ball and steaming in from the Appleford end off a 30 yard run up he proceeded to destroy the Amesbury batting line up in the first over. The first batter to go was Underwood, pouched in the slips by Cruse for 0, next down was McCarter (0), clean bowled stepping away from a fully pitched ball. The final victim of the over was Studholme (0), again bowled after only facing two balls. Having witnessed six balls of fearsome pace bowling, and with the score on 1/3 from the first over, it was now the turn of Bentley to restore some calm and chuck down his usual mixture of dibbly dobblers. Trundling in, his first over wasn’t the worst he’s ever bowled, only going for four runs. But the next two got absolutely carted. Atkinson, realising that attack might be the best form of defence, tucked into the buffet before him and proceeded to smash Bentley for 28 off his three overs. He did get a consolation wicket though, bowling Chandock for three, but that was soon forgotten about.
Next up was the medium pace of Vallis. Again his first over went for a respectable four, before Atkinson creamed him to the boundary for 15 from his second over. Rather than pulling him off, Newbury gave him another chance, which Vallis took with both hands. The dangerous Atkinson having just reached his half century from 22 balls, chipped up a simple chance to Hatch fielding at short midwicket. Hatch, light on his feet, tracked the ball like a terminator, steadied himself, adopted a classic antipodean catching position with upturned hands and for some unknown reason took the catch in one hand above his head. Mystified, the lads provided some constructive feedback and congratulated him on making a very simple catch look rather difficult. Nevertheless, the hard hitting Atkinson was back in the hutch (not Hatch) and the lads could now set about the tail.
Bate (Junior) was then brought into the attack. Charged up on chicken nuggets, he bowled his quick fire leg breaks. Getting plenty of grip and late turn he was soon into the wickets. Taking the edge of Burkwood for three courtesy of Vallis’s safe hands, he then rearranged Howkins’s woodwork for 13, ending with an important 2/15 from his four overs. Vallis continuing from the Village end, suddenly pulled up half way through his sixth over. Complaining of an old football injury, he was unable to continue. Fortunately White was on hand to save the day. Already warmed up and with the crowd on their feet, he bowled three absolutely perfect balls, having the batters in all sorts of trouble. “Simply unplayable, ball of the century” and “like Warne, but better” were just a few of the things uttered by the batters when facing him. Alas, Newbury for some mysterious reason decided to save his incredible bowling for later in the season, perhaps against sterner opposition. This resulted in figures of 0/0 from half an over. Wanting to make a match of it, White didn’t object and happily trotted off to field at fine leg!
With Harries returning and Boselli at the other end combining well with Newbury’s lightening fast reflexes (his words not mine) behind the stumps, the tail was quickly wrapped up inside 23 overs. Harris finished with outstanding figures of 5/27 from eight. Boselli, even bowling two no balls from a four pace run up finished with a well bowled 1/7 off one and bit overs.
A few points of note included Newbury dropping a proper regulation catch behind the stumps. Whether it actually came off the thigh pad or bat is open to discussion. Nevertheless, Withers would have been sure to have taken it, leaving any decision to the umpire. Overall the fielding was of a good standard with everyone putting in a shift to minimise the runs off the bat. Extras were a little higher this week, with byes almost into double figures. This could be down to a change in keeper or maybe just bad luck. There were likely other things to report on, but with the week passing in a blur, it was felt more important to get the report out, rather than reflect the match in an accurate and considered manner.
With 108 on the board, both teams retired to the shade to tuck into a Jubilee themed tea. Sitting down to plates of freshly baked cakes and a huge pile of scones, it was down to Bate (Junior) to explain the finer points of preparing this quintessentially English delicacy. Obviously being regularly consumed in the Bate household, he went on to tell the lads that, “the only way to serve a scone is by putting on the jam first. It's easily spreadable, and visually, it looks much better with the jam on the bottom and a good spoon of Cornish clotted cream on top”. Suitably educated, the lads chose to ignore him completely and simply scoffed the lot!
For once Hatch’s motivational speech wasn’t needed. The lure of 24 points and getting the season back on track was enough in itself. Newbury, considering his options, opted to open with Battisson and Hatch. Unfortunately Hatch’s run of bad form continued, facing two balls he was bowled by Chandock for one. Battisson, playing some nice shots made a start but was unable to convert this into something bigger, being caught mistiming a shot for 13. Harries in at three, hit a few boundaries before being caught off the bowling of Chandock for 14. Vallis hitting the only six of the Shrewton innings, then came and went for 12. With maximum points down the drain, it was over to the reliability of Cruse and Rouse to steady the ship and ensure the Shrews got over the line. Both batters timed their shots well, driving the full balls and cutting anything short. With a partnership of 51, both finished not out, on scores of 24 and 31 respectively.
With four out of five wins under their belt and an average of 18.2 points, Newbury’s boys occupy 7th place in Hampshire Division 4 West. Next week sees Lyndhurst and Ashurst 1st XI at the Rec. With only one team unbeaten in the league, a win next week could see the Shrews propelled into second spot behind Whiteparish.
With a formidable bowling attack and batters that are starting to deliver, maybe Newbury has found a winning formulation?
Shrewton II – Newbury (c,wk), Harries, Rouse, Bentley, Hatch, Battisson, Vallis, White, Cruse, Bate (Junior) and Boselli.