Stapleford Rec. Weds May 16. Phoenix won by two runs
The last two balls of the penultimate over seemed to have decided it. The Philanderers opener, back in after racing to 25, had just hit Adrian for six and four.
True, that meant someone else would be facing the start of the final over but that would be another returned retiree, their all-rounder, and the visitors needed just three to win.
One wicket would do it for us of course but did we possess a miracle man whose deliveries would be either dot balls or wicket-takers?
We did. That man was Nusrat, three wickets and two catches already to his name. First he tied down his man and then, with three balls remaining tempted him into a big swing. A swing and a miss – Dave did the rest behind the stumps and a two-run victory was ours.
Played two, won two – what on earth is going on?
Damon lost the toss but probably won the war as he insisted on the ‘retire at 25’ rule we always play but hadn’t really thought much about because all our usual opponents apply it. The Philanderers weren’t happy about it, and with openers as good as theirs (we did manage to get the other one out just before he got to 25) you could see why.
Our visitors were a blend of young bucks and more mature players but it was plain that the latter category contained members who would have been formidable in their prime. One effortlessly extended an arm to catch Adrian in the deep; a glorious moment.
Dave and Jeff opened and both scored quickly before Aidan came in to do exactly what he did last week – score runs without looking remotely troubled. Adrian and George moved the scoreboard along; the former with big hitting, the latter with bold calling and running, but the skipper ran himself out and, despite Tim’s best efforts, the tail didn’t wag much at the end.
A score of 131 seemed decent enough by our own standards and the slowness of the pitch but some re-calibration quickly followed when their star opener set about our bowling. He was back in the hutch with just four overs on the scoreboard.
Nusrat and the Fixtures Secretary redressed the balance with some wickets in reply, including Nusrat taking a smart catch to get rid of the other opener for 23.
Tim and Adrian chipped in with wickets to dismiss some mere mortals but the all-rounder was keeping the Philanders on course before he too had to retire.
Jeff had already embarked on an excellent spell that saw him rewarded with two wickets, although those meant the two best batsmen were back at the crease.
We’d suffered a couple of one-wicket near miss defeats before, would this be another? Thanks to Nusrat it was not.
D Garman c Hegarty b Burnett 11
J Wilson c Dodson b Burnet 19
A Swain retired not out 25
A Foster c Hegarty b Dean 19
G Rolls b C Pearson 14
T Harrison not out 7
D Rainsford run out 0
J West not out 0
dnb S Creed, N Hamid, M Dobson
R Gill not out 35
C Rogers c Hamid b J West 23
D Pimblett b Hamid 0
J Bailey c Hamid b J West
S Harris c? b Hamid
E Dodson b Harrison 9
C Pearson st Garman b Hamid 25
G Hegarty c? b Foster 2
G Dean st Garman b Wilson 0
H White b Wilson 0
J Burnett c? b Hamid 9
Total: 129 all out