The 4th team preparation for Saturday’s crucial clash at Croft was yet again hampered by late withdrawals across the other 3 senior sides. This week however was a ‘record’ challenge as the skipper had only 8 players as departure time approached on Saturday afternoon.
However, a quick begging call to Josh Moore’s mum to see if a negotiated release from exam preparation proved fruitful, followed by an exploration of the extended Scott family tree unearthed that Nathan was willing and most importantly, available.
So 8 became 10, and with the prospect of a potential late arrival from The Chairman the numerical omens at least were promising.
The skipper strode out to the middle for the toss to be greeted by 2 prepared wickets….one labelled ‘dry’ in white paint and the other ‘wet’….guess which one we were playing on? Having then lost the toss and being asked to bat first, the numerical euphoria of raising a team was met with the realisation that we now had a game to play!
The skipper decided that he should lead from the front and open the innings with the homework deprived young Josh Moore. Whilst i would like to argue that this decision was based on form and ability, sadly it was more to do with the fact that based on what i knew about our team i calculated that we only actually batted as far down as….1 (that was Josh not me)!
Incredibly i was proved wrong on a number of counts all afternoon, and an opening partnership of 60 odd had set a great platform. Josh had played beautifully for his contribution of 20 before he was caught in the gully. This was another strong innings from Josh who is now starting to put a run of good scores together since moving to the top of the order and he can be really pleased with his season so far.
The skipper was joined at the crease by a highly focussed Seth Brown (yeah right!) who quickly got into his stride and timed the ball beautifully as the scoring rate increased. The skipper departed for 35 (which was worth over 100 to most local observers!), and Seth was joined at the crease by our very own BFG, Lee Butler.
Seth was going well and this allowed Lee to take his time to adjust to the tricky conditions, which now consisted of steady drizzle. Seth eventually holed out for 42 caught on the boundary going for the 6 to get him to 50 (maths not his strong point and maybe should join Josh for homework lessons)!
Nathan Scott then joined Lee and the pair of them batted beautifully as we passed 150. Particularly good was the way in which they rotated the strike and mixed singles and boundaries. Nathan was out for 38 and Lee was joined at the crease by the sharpest member of the team, Shabaan.
Lee took the honours of top score for the day when he was eventually out for a great 45, and Shabaan, Haris and Mark Senior all ran well and struck timely boundaries as we ended on 199/6. This was a score that we would have happily settled for before a ball was bowled, given the issues that we had to deal with before the game, and the conditions that we were playing in.
So then it was on to the highlight of any visit to Croft, the best tea’s in the league……and we can happily report that once again they didn’t disappoint! Indeed, the bowlers had to be reminded that there was still work to be done as they got stuck into another slice of homemade carrot cake!
So back to the game, and the skipper was wary that he had a juggling act to do with his bowling attack also, which featured young seamers Freddie and Shabaan, mature seamers Mark and Chairman and young spinner Lewis Scott…..there was also the added complication of the potential impact of the weather to contend with if we were to return to Kibworth with a handy points total.
The skipper decided that he would open with his young seamers and get their initial allocation of 5 overs each in early so that they could return later if needed. The decision proved inspired as Freddie and Shabaan produced a fantastic opening spell which reduced Croft to 29/5! It was great to see how they both coped with the new ball and Shabaan’s swing was matched by the best Bashford family bowling performance of the weekend.
Freddie was replaced by Lewis at the Tennis Court end, and after a good first couple of overs the rain came and it was difficult for him to grip the ball and so he was replaced by Chairman, who partnered Mark Senior from the other end (pictured)
The Chairman soon found his line and length, and Mark toiled manfully with the bar of soap that had become the ball as the ‘liquid sunshine’ increased in intensity. The condition of the ball certainly made batting easier and the Croft number 5 batter found his range as he moved into the 90’s with one wicket left and 30 needed to win in plenty of overs.
One last effort was needed and it was provided by The Chairman who enticed the in form batter to go for his ton in the best way and Nathan Scott took a great steeling catch on the edge of the boundary.
So victory was ours, a 30 point haul and great contributions from each and every player with bat and ball, and backed up by some great fielding. The game was played in a great spirit and the win lifted us off the bottom of the league and its thanks to everyone who played and made it a great end to what had been traumatic preparation!