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September 14, 2004

James Hits Maiden Ton in 49 Balls as Chigwell Overwhelm Ingatestone

Remember the home game against Ingatestone earlier this season? We lost on the last ball of the game, having mounted a spirited fightback from a pretty hopeless position. This time it was all to be a little different. The Ingatestone skipper very kindly granted our request not to play a limited overs game, and having won the toss decided to put us in to bat first. At first it appeared that he had made a very astute choice as Myers struck, dismissing first Tim Hall, then, next over, Harvey who top edged to a shortish fine leg. Having arrived in the middle at the fall of the first wicket, I chatted with Dom (who was umpiring) while we awaited the arrival of our number 4 and we agreed that what was required was for Rob A and myself to steady the ship. The ship however began to list alarmingly as Rob perished to an off cutter through the gate to register a golden duck. Tim Mitzman arrived at the crease, the bowling was changed, and Tim and I began to score a little more freely. We had taken the score to 103 when I gently guided an innocuous full toss into the hands of the man "on 45", and departed for 37. James, £70 Lilywhites bargain bat in hand, strode confidently to the middle, glad of the chance to bat for a little longer than the four balls he was allowed last week at Gidea Park. James has been showing increasingly aggressive intent recently, but today something clicked into place and the various bowlers available to Ingatestone were systematically bludgeoned into surrender. Tim Mitzman does not exactly have a reputation for slow play, indeed he eventually fell to a catch whilst on 71, scored off only 61 balls; James however made Mitz look positively pedestrian. After only 29 balls we were applauding James's first half-century for the club. It took him only 20 more balls to turn that into 102 not out. 49 balls for a ton! If that isn't the quickest ton in the club's history, I'd be very surprised. Since joining us James has become a vital member of the side for his wicket keeping alone, but now we have a classy wicket keeping all rounder - we are truly blessed! Ingatestone seemed rather dispirited after tea, and the loss of early wickets made a nonsense of the possibility of them chasing 284 to win the game. Dom and Nick bagged three wickets apiece and I was able to spread the bowling around, bringing Dom back for one over to rid ourselves of the troublesome top scorer, who at least had a go. The win was too comfortable, nay, overwhelming, for the game to be remembered as a great one, but none present will ever forget the awesome power of James's shot making.

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