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August 30, 2005

Chigwell's Disgraceful Catching Means Laycock Ton is not Enough ( WG Gracefully 29/8/2005)

WG Gracefully put Chigwell's bowlers to the sword yesterday, but the worst wounds were self-inflicted as catch after catch was spilled. We are well aware of the potential of the top order of WG and giving them several lives is really not a very good idea. C. Smith finished the innings with 150 not out; a colossal performance, but in the end WG spent a little too long batting to a massive total of 291 for 3, and the game was almost certainly destined for a draw by tea. Joe Rudkin was the only Chigwell bowler who caused any trouble, his leg-spinners bowling two victims, whilst he also managed to cling onto a difficult catch off Nick's bowling. Even Joe dropped one later on though, as the fielding malaise spread throughout the team. Thankfully the batting innings was somewhat more enjoyable, although at 20 for 3 things were looking decidedly wobbly. Nick had opened with Rob and a brotherly disagreement about a run was the highlight of the partnership, Nick soon departing having stretched to tickle a wide one to gully. As umpire I had to bite back the call of "wide" and change it to "Why did he play that?". Joe and Olly quickly came and went; two of our quickest scoring players out for 2 between them! Our chances of scoring 292 did not seem good. From this point however Rob A and James shared an initially steady and increasingly free-scoring partnership of 126, Rob finally bowled for 55. I joined James and after surviving a confident LBW appeal first ball, set about trying to give the established James the strike, the asking rate being about 12 per over. James asked Brad how many he thought he was on, Brad thought about 80. They had both missed the fact that Ritchie, alone in the score-box, had been displaying James's score for the last 10 minutes! Actually James was on 95. In blissful ignorance James smashed the next ball straight for six to bring up his ton in what for him was a rather tardy 66 balls. For a while it appeared possible that James might be able to score quickly enough to challenge the imposing total, but finally he had to depart, LBW for 106 magnificent runs.

Graham joined me at the crease, and we tried our best to keep the total within reach, but after a few beefy blows rustiness prevailed and he was bowled for 14. The game was now up, and a draw was all we could play for. Owen did just enough and fell in the last over, leaving Tom Wiskin to stoutly defend the last four balls and secure a share of the spoils. Chigwell finished on 241 for 7, not a bad score, although we faced 3 more overs (47) than WG.

It's always difficult to take 10 wickets on the flat track of the paddock. It's impossible to do so if the team spills eight catches! In the end an honourable draw was the most, if not more, than we


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