The 4th team bought down the curtain on their Division 5 East campaign in style with a trilling draw against promotion chasing Winston Town at Fleckney Rd on Saturday.
The skipper proved that the spirit of cricket continues to shine through at KCC by allowing our guests to bat first, therefore giving them the opportunity to bat first and maximise their promotion chances. This was as far as the charity went however, as it was made clear that we were here to win, and if we couldn’t win we would fight for a drawer…..a sentiment duly accepted by all and the game commenced.
It was a tough toil for our bowlers, with young Harry Pounds again showing great discipline in his 6 over spell when he went for only 12 runs. Unfortunately he was struggling with a ‘suspect rash’ and therefore didn’t return for a second spell, although this was far from his only contribution to the game.
Tom Robinson unusually struggled for consistency, as did the usually dependable Mark Senior and it was left to Dunc Jones and Sam Pounds to ultimately get the wickets falling, together with some excellent fielding, which never waned under the pressure of some strong batting. This was epitomised by Josh Moore, who ran out the dangerous Newnham before he could inflict serious damage and accelerate the innings.
Lewis Scott also bowled well at the death with a deserved wicket and whist a total of 266 was daunting, we had stifled the drive for a declaration through some decent control.
The thoughts as we went in for tea were that Winston might regret batting on, but they realised that they had stagnated during the final third of their innings and lost momentum….a job decently done we felt.
To have a chance of winning we probably needed John Pounds or Hardick to spend 90 minutes in the middle (ideally both of them!)…..However, Plan A didn’t materialise as Hardick got himself out when looking in great touch, and Lord Fauntleroy (Steve Parker), did for JP by calling him through for a single that he would have struggled to make even if he had been in his Porsche.
Plan B was needed, and for a time Steve showed a more aggressive nature to his batting with a succession of boundaries, but as the spectre of JP appeared at Square Leg, Steve lost concentration and despatched a full toss straight to mid wicket rather than Smeeton Westerly its intended destination……44/3 and we were in trouble.
In strode the now ‘rash contained’ Harry Pounds to join fellow Strawberry Blonde cousin Sam and they sought to rebuild the innings.
They both played beautifully with Sam particularly harsh on anything slight lg side, and young Harry displaying some excellent footwork to get himself into position to drive through the off side. The rate soon rose and with each over the confidence grew that we were more than holding our own. Sadly, with the partnership at 74 Sam was bowled by a good delivery from one of Wigston’s array of seamers and we had the jitters again that we may come undone.
Cometh the hour cometh the KCC Juniors…..in strode another 14 year old Josh Moore to join his mate Harry in the middle and over the course of the next hour they put on a further 45 runs, with Josh making his best senior score (25), and Harry moving to a well deserved and excellent first senior 50. It was fitting that the 2 juniors could celebrate that milestone together and dad John (who was still at Square Leg!), was starting to forget about the pain of earlier run out debacle (well almost!).
When Josh departed to a well deserved round of applause from a large and growing crowd (more entertaining than 2’s game!), Harry was joined in the middle by Tom ‘Domino Danny’ Robinson who as usual was convinced that 104 off 7 overs was ‘getable’!
They managed 45, as we closed on a creditable 207/5 with Tom on 20 and Harry an outstanding unbeaten 82.
A draw, on merit was certainly a fair result and our guests were glowing in their praise at how we had played, but also the spirit in which we had played the game.
When we got back to the bar (eventually!), it had been confirmed that Wigston had been promoted, by a single point and so we wish them well but take heart in the fact that they had to fight until the final ball of the last game to secure it.
This had been a ‘proper’ 4th team game with everyone contributing and our juniors excelling.
We finished with a moment of reflection in the changing room drinking some excellent champagne supplied by the Lord Parker himself and from his own wine cellar. It was a lovely way to end the season and toast each other for a job well done, some times of great fun, some moments of brilliant cricket and of Saturday afternoons spent with a smile on our faces.
Thanks to everyone who played for the 4’s this season…from 12 year old Freddy Bashford to a slightly older but equally skilful bowler Chairman Steve. We look forward to doing it all again from next April but in the meantime we are the best 4th team in the County!