The 4th team continued their fantastic season by maintaining their unbeaten run at 3rd placed Gracedieu Park on Saturday.
The maximum point haul against one of their nearest rivals, coupled with 2nd placed Ashby’s draw means that we now have a 70 point gap between 3rd place and a healthy 21 point lead at the top of the table……and with a game in hand on all of our key rivals!
Saturday saw the threat of rain disruption very much to the fore and when he lost a rare toss the skipper was not displeased when the opposition elected to bat.
Showing a couple of late changes in the form of evergreen Badri and debutant Simon Edmonds the opening attack of Harrison Norton and Harry Miller started well with tight lines and offering only minimal scoring opportunities. The unfortunate Norton was unlucky that a couple of chances were spilled by new boy Edmonds, struggling to adjust from his usual Friday night pre match routine and co ordinate hand and eye movement. However, the patient start by the visitors was broken in the 9th over when Norton produced a superb Yorker to trap the opener bang in front. Miller responded by removing the 2nd opener in the next over and Gracedieu had moved to 40-2.
What followed was spectacular, as Gracedieu lost their last 8 wickets for just 39 runs in the face of some terrific bowling from Miller (3-21), Elliot Lodge (3-15) and Chris Carson (2-20). The bowlers were superbly backed in the field and there were spectacular catches from Badri, Jack Allen and Jay Boucher.
The heavens opened as the innings finished with just 25 overs being necessary, giving us added weather insurance. Over an hour was lost to the rain before we were able to restart and the conditions looked dodgy and we would need to bat with urgency if we were to secure full points.
Things started badly with Blunt yoking himself, bringing Boucher in to partner Allen. In spite of some powerful hitting, the opening bowlers were extracting pace and movement from the moist pitch and Allen failed for the first time in KCC colours, falling for 15 and we were sitting uncomfortably on 20-2 .
Edmonds strode to the wicket like a bat wielding Hagrid in a helmet, and surprised us all by supporting Boucher for the next 40 minutes on his way to an imperious 4, which took us towards the half century mark in good time.
There then followed a mini collapse, as the weather closed in and batters took chances where they weren’t necessarily needed……Ben Lodge, Badri and the disorientated Norton all perished and the nerves were jangling with 20 odd runs still needed, along with a miners helmet .
Jay and Harry Miller decided enough was enough and a flurry of boundaries took us home in advance of the pending storm breaking and we were I the changing rooms celebrating as the rain came.
A great effort by all, and particular mention to Jay, who took on the role of senior batsman to see us home safely and finish with an excellent 40 not out.
We should also mention the attitude of our opponents who played in a great spirit and didn’t look to delay the game to gain benefit from the weather conditions as many would have one.
So the young guns go from strength to strength and are now looking purely at securing the league title as a fitting reward for their outstanding efforts this season.