There was to be no let up in the intensity of the 4th Team, even though the Division 8 title had long been secured, as they travelled to face potential runners up Ashby Hastings.
Needing 2 points to secure promotion the spirit of the day was set by the opponents claiming the toss based upon KCC arriving 10 minutes before scheduled start of play.
The experienced opening par of Chairman and Dunc Jones therefore donned the pads following our instruction to bat on a pitch which had clearly never seen covers…ever!!! and it looked as though we would have to face a tough few hours to post a respectable score.
Jones blitzed his way to a breezy 30 and 40 was on the board before both openers departed in quick succession, bringing Rob Ellwood and Jack Allen to the crease.
The Vice Captain played a very patient innings but Allen registered a rare failure when caught behind of a viciously lifting delivery from the Ashby off spinner.
Pounds joined Rob at the crease, still smarting over the delayed entrance caused by Jay Chauhans car trouble which delayed arrival with Sams kit!.
The pair batted beautifully in tandem, with Rob rotating the strike well, whilst Pounds took full value from the leg side boundary…clearing it twice as they put on a partnership of 95 in 13 overs…….Rob eventually departed for a well made 52, and there was deafening silence from the opponents as he left the pitch, as the realisation that thye may struggle to get the 6 wickets required after all.
They needn’t have worried as Chris Carson and Jay Chauhan got out cheaply to ensure that Ashby would join us in Division 7 next season.
However, Sam continued to plunder the bowling, hitting the 9th ball of the final over for 4 to finish unbeaten on 50 and to cap a fine season with the bat. We finished on 195-6 which looked competitive, and was a great effort given the early pitch conditions.
As Ashby came out to bat Harry Miller and Chris Carson were given the honours to open the bowling. After a quiet few overs Harry sprung to life with 3 quick wickets, followed by one for Carson, which left the hosts teetering on 56-4 although the strange site of witnessing their remaining opener having accumulated 50 of them!…it was clear that we would need to take care of Mr Perkins asap in order to ensure victory.
Ravi Tank and Dunc Jones took over bowling duties and found it difficult to make inroads until Tank induce one slog too many from the batsman and Miller pouched a fine catch at short mid off.
At drinks the game was probably favouring Ashby with the score at 103-5 and Perkins still going strong.
The skipper brought Sam Pounds into the attack and immediately he took a wicket thanks to a great catch from the most improved fielder of the season Ravi Tank……having switched Jones to the other end he vindicated the skippers decision by having Perkins caught and bowled for a well made 80 and Ashby needed 65 to win with 3 wickets left….surely we wouldnt be denied victory now?……..Pounds turned the screw with a fabulous ball to bowl the Ashby number 8 and 55 were still needed with just 2 wickets left.
The skip turned to Miller and Carson to turn the knife, but Ashby werent done yet and Millers returning over was plundered for 14 runs!
Eventually the breakthrough came when Miller produced a lifting delivery which was fended away and Rob Ellwod produced a stunning diving catch to put us on the brink with 30 still needed.
Stubborn resistence took Ashby to within 16 runs of victory until Carson induced the batsman to sky high into the leg side in the general direction of the worst fielder in the side….Sam Pounds! Showing no sign of his usual low standards of fielding Sam quickly got into great position and pouched a great catch to end the game and to maintain our unbeaten record in dramatic fashion.
A great way to end the season with another maximum haul, and the highest points per game ratio in the entire league.
A huge thank you to all of the players who have represented the 4th team this season, everyone has played their part and we should have no fears about what Division 7 has in store for us next season