FIRSTS BEATEN IN THRILLER AFTER TOPPING 300, BUT THE DINKY'S MARCH ON AND UP TO FOURTH
TWO TONS NOT ENOUGH AS MARTLEY SLIP TO CROFT
Martley suffered a heartbreaking
one-wicket defeat at Avoncroft after an extraordinary game of cricket on
With the sun scorching, Dom Jones won the toss and sensibly decided to bat, and set the tone early on with fellow opener James Ganderton as they found the boundary regularly before Jones nicked one behind for 28. Enter Tom Vale at three, who after a quick chat with Ganderton and being told to drop and run in the field, went a bit extreme off his first ball, punching the ball to extra cover and calling for a run. Complete suicide as a direct hit would’ve seen him run out by six yards. A couple of nice boundaries followed before on 15, a chip just did enough to get away from mid-off’s hands before the next ball was spooned into the air to mid-on. Cursing as the ball spent an eternity in the air, the gods looked kindly on Vale as the fielder dropped a dolly. Determined to punish the hosts, Vale replaced his wobbly broken bat for Gandy’s spare, and the pair continued to swat the bad balls away in the blistering heat, ticking the score along nicely to 239-1 in 37 overs. With a great platform set, Ganderton reached 104 before slapping one to short mid-wicket and the in-form Alex Basford was yorked just a couple of balls later. Vale rode his luck once or twice more with two aerial shots dropping into space before reaching his ton. The bowlers tightened up in the latter stages while a tiring Vale and Jim Basford were struggling to get the ball away - Basford gone for 18 after chipping one into the air, and Vale looking for a big shot coming out of his ground, stumped for 115. At 300-5 from 46, Martley could only squeeze a further 17 runs in the final four overs as Dan Mayfield (11), Pete Gardner (0), Si Van Tongeren (3) and Tom Clement (1no) edged the score up to 317-8 from 50.
With the visitors feeling like they finished about 40 or 50 runs short and the absence of strike bowlers Dan and Mark Johnson, Pete Gardner had to roll back the years (all two of them) to open the bowling with George Griffiths. Gardner bowled well, taking two scalps (one bowled and one courtesy of a neat Jones catch behind) but opener S Eastham was finding the boundary all too regularly and at 60-2 from ten overs, the game was in the balance. Griffo had no fortune (0-38 in 5) before Ganderton tried to spin his web and Alex Basford tried to bowl short of a length. However, neither got any luck, with Basford going for an expensive 54 in five and the only real highlight for him a human wheelbarrow effort with Griffo over the fence to recover a ball. At 171 for 2 from 25, the hosts were cruising until the introduction of VT and Vale. VT was particularly unlucky with Tom Clement and Ganderton guilty of dolly catches but he did get the breakthrough, bowling Eastham for 74. In Vale’s first bowling stint of the season, his second over removed the dangerous C Hughes for 71, caught on the short long-off boundary by Jim Basford, and then bowling batsmen number five after having been dispatched for a big six the ball before. VT then bowled number seven as the hosts fell to 208-6 from 34 overs and Martley were now starting to believe – even if VT did bowl one of the widest wides in league history as he managed to evade the wicket and almost the neighbouring one!
Basford senior left his comrades to fight for themselves as he had to shoot
home for a ‘party’. Janet Jan Basford it
best have been worth it because little did he realise how significant that man
advantage might have been to his side as they tirelessly plugged away in the
heat. Vale was hit for two successive boundaries by J Heslop before the batsmen
edged two fours between the keeper and slip in the subsequent two balls before
Ganderton (1-50 in 10) then came back on to finish his overs. He got the
dangerous Heslop for 34 thanks to a Vale catch on the boundary and rekindling
hope for the visitors, the score at 262-7 from 41.
Needing 56 from the last nine, Vale came back on to strike first ball as Gardner took the catch at short cover, P Athey out for 19. Jones then snaffled another one stood up to Gardner (3-50 in 10) as Avoncroft had collapsed to 267-9 off 44 overs.
With victory in sight, and Avoncroft looking dead and buried requiring 51 from six overs, A Rodaway (18no) and J Hunter (26no) had other ideas and steered them home with six balls to spare as 10-men Martley were left devastated.
VT (2-46 in 9) and Vale (3-62 in 9) had given their all but missing an opening bowler and having just men in the field proved to be crucial in a game of very fine margins. 317 runs and nine wickets and still losing the game very hard to take but back to it next week for the House Martins who enjoyed a good club night out afterwards.
Martley 2s (185-5 off 39.5 overs) beat Claverley 2s (182-6 off 45 overs)
Martley turn up the heat in Jury Field scorcher
Martley welcomed table toppers Claverley to Jury Field on a baking hot day, with the mercury reaching nearly 30 degrees and barely a wisp of cloud in the sky. After winning the toss, returning captain Jon McGahan risked the wrath of his team by deciding to field, with concerns of 45 overs of chasing leather being raised.
Fears escalated after some robust shots got the off to a flier from the first 5 overs, but fortunately Claverley went into their shell a little as Tej Uppal (9-1-26-0) and Jai Wickham (9-3-28-1) found a nagging line and length, with Jai bowling with a little more vigour and a little less moonball than in previous weeks. However, while the score rate was ticking along at 3 an over, neither of Claverley batsmen looked troubled until the introduction of Si Butler (7-0-25-2). After having been dragged through cow for 4 off the previous ball, he induced a false shot by the batsman and was duly stumped by Martin Sweet, who had gratefully grabbed the opportunity to wear the gloves again. Cue mass celebrations by Butler, who in full Delia enthusiasm ran towards the batsmen and informed him “and that’s how you do it” as he strode from the pitch.
Thereafter the innings followed the pattern of the previous week, with one batsman (D Morris 65) holding the innings together and wickets falling regularly at the other end. Encouragingly Ben Court (6-0-32-2) and Tom Butler (6-1-16-0) bowled good spells, before the introduction of Stu Watt. Bowling nagging off spin, Watt bamboozled the Claverley number 5 and bowled him through the gate. Cue outrageous scenes as a cock-a-hoop Watt did a mini lap of honour, with the outgoing batsman unlikely to have been consoled by the beaming grin coming from the jubilant bowler. After some late hitting, Claverley closed on 182-6, which felt a little under par and Martley can rightly be proud of their efforts in the field in blistering hot conditions.
Teas were this week provided by Ben Court, although it remains unclear as to how much of their making he was actually responsible for and how much was down to his mother, with him pleading his case by announcing he was doing a catering course. The usual array of beige snacks was this week complemented by jam scones and cream, a timeless English classic.
Martley response started with Jon McGahan and Ashley Jones facing up to the pace of D Morris (9-2-26-2), who after his earlier batting efforts produced possibly the best spell of bowling Martley have faced this year. With genuine pace and movement, he took the wickets of both openers. Jon McGahan lost his wicket in spectacular fashion, his off stump sent cartwheeling multiple times with onlookers reminiscing of Simon Jones in the 2005 Ashes. Following the loss of Ben Court, Martley were teetering at 31-3 off 13 overs, with the winning target a long way away.
What followed next was the games most significant partnership, with Rob Ganderton (79*) and Martin Sweet (39) putting on 73 in 17 overs. Sweet in particular was playing impressive proper cricket shots all around the wicket, with the bottom hand unusually nowhere to be seen.
A crucial phase of the game occurred just before the second drinks break, as Claverley brought back their opening bowlers in a last ditch attempt to try to wrestle back a game that was gradually slipping away. Each leave of the ball was cheered by Stu Watt, still buoyed by his earlier wicket, and who announced himself to be delighted after both bowlers had completed their allocation without further loss of wicket.
After Sweet nicked off to a tired shot, Darryl Lymer started with a flurry of aerial shots that just fell wide of fielders, before finally holing out for 9. This wouldn’t usually be of note, however your author bumped into Darryl later that evening who (leaning from his car window) declared he was happy with his efforts and had rewarded himself with a Chinese takeaway.
Fortunately Rob Ganderton was able hold his concentration, stepping up a gear and scoring almost exclusively in boundaries, finishing the game off with 5.1 overs to spare. A very impressive knock in hot weather from the seasoned veteran.
This was a highly impressive run chase and result from Martley, getting home with time to spare in a game played in the right spirit. Martley move up to 4th in the table.