Monday, 27 July 2009

Turville Park vs HHCC

Good Lord, it’s nearly the end of July and time for our first away match of the season. How would Hyde Heath fare more than a hundred yards from The Plough? Well, reasonably well actually. The opposition were Turville Park and their ground really is beautiful (apparently it’s Jeremy Paxman’s favourite) - it was just a shame the weather was so glum.

Hyde Heath’s skipper for the day was Matt Simms, no doubt easing himself back in to the job before the challenges of Tour. He won the toss and, following in the footsteps of all the Heath greats, elected to field.

With overcast conditions and a brand new cherry we expected early wickets and, despite a rather depleted bowling attack, we were not disappointed. Jez bowled beautifully – he was accurate, canny and extracted just enough movement to trouble all the batsmen. His 5 wicket haul broke the back of the Turville innings. And there were some memorable dismissals: he set up one quality-looking player with two in-swingers before getting one to hold its line and clip the off-bail. Another batsman was completely deceived by a slower-ball off-cutter, which then darted back to bowl him through the gate.

At the other end James Shrimpton provided excellent support and was unlucky not to take more than two wickets. As so often, I came on at the end and picked up a cheap tail-end wicket - a nicely flighted leg-break that lured the batsman into the drive, turned a bit and lobbed to gulley. Before you laugh though, this fellow wasn’t just some hapless 10 year-old. He was probably about 75, and utterly shotless.

We then made a meal of chasing the target of 95, with Dom, Will, Tim Barnsley and me all perishing to pretty average shots. At least Tim had anchored things with 24 before top-edging their leg-spinner to cover. Shrimpy continued his good match with a sensible innings, without which the Heath may have struggled. His driving off the back foot was particularly brilliant, combining technique with some serious power.

Controversy came when Anooj was struck on the boot before he’d scored. I, umpiring at the time, had no problems with giving it out, but he was less than impressed. Oh well, a beer later and all was forgotten (I hope!) So the Heath scraped home by two wickets. Next stop, Tour!

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