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July 05, 2009

Tour match III - Axminster

'Scoop' Hannant's match report:

14th June 2009

Well, Sunday was upon us. After two wins out of two the opportunity presented itself of making a clean sweep and winning all three tour games, a feat never previously achieved. Unfortunately there was a new captain on duty with absolutely no idea how to set a field other than to say "can you stand there, please"?

The captain, me btw, fortified himself with a hearty breakfast and another bracing swim. All was well with the world, nothing could go wrong. And it didn’t.

The Axminster captain and I didn't have a toss, we just shook hands on the format (40 overs) and who should bat first (them). The previous year they put out a team of varying ages but the victory we earned was quite tight so i was expecting the same this year, even though their team was made up of mainly colts. One thing they didn't anticipate, and whoever could, was the way our opening bowler could swing it. The ruddy cheeked, bespectacled mass that is Graham Wiskin trundled in from the pavilion end to take the wickets of the opening two batsmen, two fine looking stroke players but in the end quite incapable of coping with Mr. Wiskin’s unplayable swinging balls.

Because of the loss of the early wickets my job as captain was made considerably easier enabling me to shift the bowling around without too much anxiety of them making an unexpectedly high score. In dispatches I’d like to mention young Mr Wiskin who, after a bright start, fell to earth in the middle of the wicket with a seeming dislocation of the shoulder. Thankfully it wasn't and with a few beers down his neck after the game he soon forgot all about it. And I’d also like to mention Owen, just because I would.

Their innings was not without contention however. Two blinding stumpings by the poor man's Aussie were cruelly denied by the umpire, who was clearly blinded to them and by them, which did make the game at one point seem a little niggly but by the end of their innings a not impossible total of 168 was set for us to chase.

After another lovely, fresh tea Bradders and Nige were sent in to intimidate and frighten their opening bowlers. After that failed the cherubic seraph that is the poor man's Aussie was sent in to try and avenge for the umpire's previous indiscretions, and this he duly did with a blinding and belligerent ton, three cheers for the Ocker. But even in batting contention followed us, or was it just Dave the Kiwi that contention followed? Towards the end of the ton there was some very unsportsmanlike behaviour from one of their bowlers. With our score rapidly approaching theirs the opportunities for the ton were receding rapidly, especially since their 'bowler' deliberately bowled wides and no balls to try and stymie keeper Dave’s chances. Lots of grumbling and heckling ensued but this in itself could not aid Dave towards his ton, but we had a much better weapon. The crafty, wily, and sportsmanlike BGC was batting at the other end and as wide as the 'bowler' tried to bowl the ball was batted back with the BGC at some point having to stretch six foot on his off side so to do!

By the end Dave needed four for his ton but we only needed one to win. Thankfully a nice young man gifted Dave a ball that he could despatch to the boundary. The ton was his but more importantly the victory was ours.

The team could return home with victory ringing in its ears, a hundred per cent win for the team and a 100 per cent win for me.

This captaining lark.....it's all quite easy really, isn't it?

Rich

Strength and honour

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