KCC 3rd XI welcomed Northampton Saints 3rd XI to Fleckney rd for the 10th game of the 2013 season. The same fixture last year saw some of the ugliest moments of the 2012 season and KCC had picked a side capable of handling pressure with Dave Pounds and Craig Newby drafted in to bolster the middle order.
On a beautiful flat deck with the sun beating down Greeno won another toss and elected to roll the dice and bat first. The plan was to amass a big score then launch a Butler led bombardment on the opposition to see if they could cope with pace and bounce that the deck had to offer.
The virgin partnership of Henry and Wilko were put together to begin proceedings and all appeared well in the camp until a ball wide of off stump got big on Henners and he cut one to backward point with the score on 15. LJ strode out to the crease with his usual pomp and things began to go our way despite excellent lines from Yaqub and Hussain. LJ and Mick put on 40 for the next wicket before LJ miss read a slower ball and chipped an easy catch to cover for a decent 27. DP joined Wilko and despite the occasional boundary the heat must have got to both men as the quick singles began to dry up under accurate and consistent bowling.
With Wilko nicely poised to make a big score he recognised the need for a few sharp runs but sadly one risk too many saw him run out for a well made 49. One big hitting hairy hero was replaced by another as Craig Newby took to the crease for his 3rd team debut. Sensing the need to push on his first scoring shot was an enormous six straight down the ground as he muscled the ball around the park with DP providing equal bludgeoning at the other end. Again just as a partnership was getting going DP fell to a sharp chance at midwicket and Greeno joined in the action. Realising 200 plus was needed Greeno and Newbs began to pick apart the bowling attack. Ray Swann took the pace off from the pavilion end and provided great foil as his canny off spin saw him restrict KCC but pace on the ball at the other end saw runs begin to flow. Newbs put Swann onto the top deck on a couple of occasions and was well set before nicking off for a swift and more than respectable 36. Rocket Ellwood picked up the baton and ran hard but showed you don’t have to be 6’4” to smash the ball to all parts. His 23 from 15 balls showed his strength and took us just short of 200 as he was caught trying to clobber a slower ball. Windy came and went on a hiding to nothing before Johnny Butler gave KCC the impetus at the break hitting a big flat 6 from the final ball of the innings to see KCC at 219 for 7.
Rehydration was the word of the day at tea and with a total to defend KCC began their bowling with pace and gusto. JB raced in from the pavilion end and showed yet again the talent he has with genuine pace and carry. Tej proved just the tonic to Johnny’s spirit as he provided accuracy form the pylon end and Saints first 10 overs slipped by with just 20 on the board and one wicket toButlerwho nicked off Fezan Butt for a duck. The next 8 overs didn’t go our way as Swann and Richard Scott realised just how good the deck was and made hay when lines strayed. At drinks Saints were 55 for 1 from 18 overs and KCC chins were already down. A hero was asked for by the captain and Ollie Lodge stepped up to the mark bowling 11 dot balls before dismissing Scott with a sharp and accurate Yorker. Swann continued in fine form as players chipped in around him and it became apparent that he was the key. Wilko and Windy shared the ball from the pylon end and both showed their accuracy with 14 overs going for just 45 runs between them. Wilko showed full and straight was the way as he claimed one and Johnny worked tirelessly in his second spell but was unlucky not to get reward. It was Lodge again who got the break through in dismissing Swann with a run out that struck Ollie on the foot as he was bowling and left a backing up batsmen floundering at his ill fortune. Tom Law and Affie Hussain nearly guided Saints into a winning position but an outstanding catch from The Rocket saw law dismissed and Saints manoeuvre their way to 180 for 6 in their allotted 50.
A close game with everyone contributing and at least 33 people watching was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Despite the scenes of 2012 Saints were exemplary in their behaviour on and off the field and as much as we should remember poor behaviour we should certainly highlight the sportsmanship of two players walking when they nicked off and Swann taking his bizarre dismissal with exceptional grace.
15 Points still sees us in 4th place 30 points from a promotion spot with all to play for and 12 games of the season left to go.