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August 17, 2009

Chigs vs Hainault & Chigwell - 16/08/2009

It was an interesting day for the Chigwell Boys this week... (writes Adam Peters)

After winning the toss on Saturday night, before seeing the pitch, conditions, team or the oppo we inserted ourselves on a dry and true looking  chig's wicket. It seemed as thought someone had bothered to cut the grass this week, although not still up to the recent years of Old Chig's standards.   

Ahsan and Dave opened the batting in glorious sunshine and with high spirits we eagerly awaited the inevitable onslaught. We weren't  disappointed. Whether it was down to enthuasism, bad bowling or just lack of talent, Ahsan immediately set the tone for the day dispatching  H&C's opening bowler for 13 in his over peppering the deep square leg boundary as he strangely attempted to bounce Ahsan out. The flurry of  boundaries continued from the pavilion end as Dave joined in with the hooking feast on offer again sending the ball to all parts. Ahsan survived  an early caught and bowled chance which seemed to phase him... if only for a few seconds, again playing aerial and surviving. Dave seemed in a  more content state at the other end as Ahsan reached his blistering 50 with the score on no more than 75, Dave continued with waiting for the  bad ball. Eventually departing for a well played and well paced 78, playing another ridiculous LATE CUT! Ahsan left Dave to steer the innings  towards a needed 250+. (130-1) 

Ross entered at 3 but by this time H&C had learnt from their earlier mistakes and were in full spin mode with off spin from both ends. He came  and went for 12 caught and bowled skying an attempted lusty blow (184-2).

Mr Rudkin, fresh from tour then took over and after a slightly  hesitant start settled in knocking several ones and two with Dave to keep the run rate going. Dave eventually fell short of a well deserved  century, bowled for 94 looking to push on (203-3).

Nigel, in an interesting state, strode to the crease and again, although struggling at first  with the two spinners, found his feet and was able to push some 1's and 2's mixed in with some inevitable swipes over cow corner. A generous  bowling change then allowed Chas and Nige to accelerate just enough to declare on 260-3 (49). 

Mixed feelings at tea with our eyes being set on 270, we settled for our 260 but time was an issue as the late declaration was always going to  put us under pressure. General feeling around the camp was to get out there and bowl some overs quickly. Maybe get a spinner on early, as the  only 3 wickets of the day had fallen to spinners. Spinners 152-3 (23) Seamers 101-0 (16). 

A surge of excitement followed us out from tea as Brad, captaining the side, selected his bowlers and set fields... mind you no one actually  knew who was bowling apart from the bowler until we reached the middle.  An interesting gamble opening the bowling with our opening batsmen was met with some raised eyebrows, especially as we had only lost 3 wickets  and many hadn't played any role in the game so far apart from scoring and umpiring, but Ahsan and Brad silenced any critics was a first ball  duck for their opener, nicking a cover drive straight to Dave at 1st Slip (0-1).

New boy Steve opened from the other end and struggled to find a  consistent line and length. The pitch didn't help him much as length balls were driven down the ground and anything slightly short was  immediately pounced upon, a carbon copy of our opening half, hours earlier. Steve eventually settled down and was gifted the wicket of the other  opener after attempting to sweep a leg stump half volley and succeeding in only skying a gentle dolly to Adam behind the stumps (29-2).

Ahsan,  bowling well at the other end, swinging the old ball nicely then gained the prize scalp of their number 3, whom we knew was the key man, skying  an attempted lofted straight drive to Charlie who took a a good catch at mid off, making up several backpedalling yards. (29-3).

 It was all down hill from then though... Ahsan and Steve were left on too long and, with Chigs not being active enough, the run rate steadily  climbed to well above 6 an over, the Chigs deck getting slower and slower. Surprisingly another seamer was brought in to the attack. Frank began  his bounding hop, skip and jump run up and apart from a slight nightmare second over bowled a good line. We finally saw some spin the next over  with Chaz entering the attack giving it a tweak... No Nick and Rob yet; Brad saving them for the final push. The run rate continued rising with  Charlie going for 25 from his 4 overs but bowled better than his figures suggest. Frank then picked up a much needed wicket as their left handed  No.4 slapped a half volley to Ahsan at short extra cover... Chigs back in the game (107-4).

Brad replaced Charlie at the pavilion end and  proceeded to bowl 4 waist and head high fall tosses before drinks in his first over and Chig's were beginning to dig a hole for themselves...  was 260 enough?   A quiet drinks break found us on the sidelines with H&C needing 120 and us 6 wickets from the final hour. Brad was confident and keeping Rob and  Nick back was obviously in his plan to squeeze them in the last 20.  After drinks Brad realised that pitching the ball might be to his advantage and when presented with a loopy length ball, H&C's No.5 helped it on  its way... straight down Dave's throat at deep mid on in the first over after the break, again a much needed and prize wicket (143-5).

Rob and  Nick finally entered the attack and with immediate effect! Rob O getting No.6 caught at first slip by Nick off the outside edge trying to turn  the ball in to the legside against the spin (170-6).

Tension grew on the field as H&C sent out more batsmen who found it too easy to score  boundaries. A couple of catches went down and words were said by Adam behind the stumps as the game started to shift back to H&C's favour. We  weren't on the ball! Field placing became sketchy and 2's were too easy to come by in the outfield. Ross worked his socks off at the bottom of  the hill stopping some 2's and 3's mixed in with some missed pick ups, but all round did  a good job for us down there and saved some runs. It  took the metronomic arm of Nick Allum to break the deadlock in the middle trapping H&C's No.7 LBW (210-7).

H&C continued to hit their way  through the overs though and when Nick's final over of his spell included another 2 boundaries the needle of fate was swinging this way and that  with every ball bowled. With 41 needed off the last 4 soon becoming 20 off 2, Brad took another gamble replacing a weirdly out of touch Nick  with Dave's darts from the School End. Dave's one over proved to be the decider though skittling H&C's No.8 for a fantastic 43 (243-8). With his  over only going for 5 H&C needed 15 off the last and Rob O was to bowl... 'Vettori's Dad' stepped up to the plate, bowling their No.9 trying to  aim for the tennis courts (248-9).

As their No.11 walked to the crease, Chigs surrounded their prey looking for that last wicket to gain  victory... but it wasn't meant to be as the batsmen watched the first of his 2 remaining balls safely past off stump and the second missing off  stump after beating the bat from a loose forward defence.   

A hard effort from all the boys today. Brad, a quiet captain throughout the day, played his cards close to his chest and although not  marshalling his troops well enough in the middle period in the field, remained confident throughout and almost steered the ship to a slightly  undeserved victory. It was certainly a game of two halves and a draw was probably a fair result for both after a good run chase by Hainault &  Clayhall.   

Well done Brad... so close but so far.

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