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July 18, 2004

Strength and Honour to the fore as Chigs last pair tough it out for a draw (Coopersale 18/7/2004)

Brad writes: As we were pre warned by the new Poet Laureate this fixture was always going to be tough, in comparison to last week's stroll in the Essex countryside! In fact, it has been tough all week with the game almost being cancelled and the skipper having to enter the fray with 4 ringers who need to get some sort of game including 3 players not even coming close to matching his age between them! This difficult task is not helped by the withdrawal of Rickie with a back injury.   Skip manages to persuade the home side to bat first on a pitch so green you can barely tell it from the rest of the ground, 1st objective achieved. We start extremely well and have the home side at 49 for 5. 1 wicket for Harvey and 3 for Rob A including the very dangerous Graham Hancock who plays on for a duck. However, as we know only too well Coopersale are not a one-man side. Skip comes on to bowl and removes the left-hander who has been ruining his so-called field placings!  There follows a top 4 over spell from young Reece who looks a very good prospect, let's hope we can snare him before F & H! James bowls well and is rewarded with a catch by Owen who takes it by changing his hand position at the last possible moment and clutching the ball to his chest! Nick is brought on to bowl on what is really a seamers wicket and suffers badly as both the skip and his leading spinner lose the plot to allow the opposition to make 185 for 6 when they should have been restricted to a maximum of 160.   The target is not out of the question but the skipper is only too aware he needs runs from his top 4. Harv and Nick are looking good until Harv is bowled by a beauty that he leaves as it pitches at least a foot outside his off stump and hits middle! Guess who the bowler is, oh yes, "it's our Graham" we wish! Gary and Nick keep the score ticking over until Nick is bowled by a ball that rolls under his bat off a length for 24 and Gary is bowled off his thigh pad. Our middle order then collapses to its knees like Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office with 5 ducks! What do you do if you are watching these proceedings from the other end; well I suppose throwing your bat down in disgust is one option! The skipper comes to the wicket with 11 overs left and the asking rate now in excess of 10 an over. The draw is achieved with surprising few alarms as Rob A expertly plays out the penultimate over from Graham and the skip survives the last over. Rob finishes with 30 and the skipper with 20 in a total of 126 for 9.   Special thanks go to the Hanna family without whom this game could not have taken place and Rob A for contacting them. To James for replacing Ricki at the 11th hour and fielding superbly, he is an example to us all and Owen for recruiting him, and also to Phil for taking the gloves at the last minute and doing a top job.


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