Warning – this report contains references to high quality wicketkeeping and may depress any wicketkeepers even more than they already are having wasted their time watching Wrexham lose to a non-entity. Report sponsored by Applewhite Business Consultancy, supporters of high quality wicketkeeping.
Brymbo’s ground is what the Argoed would be if it won the lottery. It’s not a place that ushers in comfortable memories for some and with Brymbo second in the league we were expecting a stern examination. However, some kind of village football match was on and a few of the Brymbo lads had dropped out. To be fair Apples did the same for some inexplicable reason – for my money the match report from last week turned him to jelly.
We lost the toss and surprisingly were not asked to bat. Fordy was last to the game with seconds to spare and Abs has developed a certain smug look as he points out to me how good his time keeping is these days!
Tom and Matt opened the bowling. Really good economy to start. In the sixth over a catch (sorry can’t remember and their book hard to follow – erm I think you meant to write – ‘it was an outstanding catch by Jonathan Fagan out on the boundary’, editor) on Matt’s bowling and they were 8 for 1. Tom ended his spell of 4 next over for 6 runs. The run rate increased next with their left hander No 3 finding some boundaries. Next up was Jit, with a few looser overs and Matt shipped 12 in his 5th to end 5-0-1-24.
Prashad took over from Matt and soon settled to keep the batsmen guessing, but they were quality and picked the relative bad ball. In his second over Jit got a wicket, courtesy of one of Tom’s acrobatic specials. A square cut going over his head, he got one hand to it on a leaping stretch and as he fell to earth watched the ball to grab it in his left hand as he hit the deck. Catch of the season material and we were elated. Another over from Jit (3-0-1-18) and Jonty came on and gave us a superbly average sort of over, whinging about being at the wrong end. Prashad bowled their number 4 with one that turned and twisted him inside out. Next over (having manned up) Jonty threw one down that turned and their left hander having danced down, eyes popping, only for Siv to whip the bales off in a flash for a quality stumping. Modest to the last he was reluctant to acknowledge the whooping crowd who got to their feet in unison, sponsored by Applewhite Business Consulting. They were something like 49 for 3. Prashad wasn’t having that so got another wicket next over, bowling their No6 who steered it onto his stumps off the shoulder of his bat.
Everyone was fielding sharper and we felt like we were well into this game. Prashad and Jonty took us to drinks on c. 65 for 4.
After drinks Venkat and Fordy came on. In his first over Venkat saw a wicket – a run out of one of the most blatant “there’s never another run” from one of their senior players to hasten the end of a quality bat, but as he admitted after the game – not enough game management to remember he was playing with a statue. Fordy delivered 2 overs – right on the money but after 2 came off (2-0-0-6) and Venkat came off too to give way to Prashad and Jonty. Prashad bowled through the next 4 with Jonty at the other end. Prashad was containing really well, 2 overs later bowling another, finishing his 9 at 30 overs with 9-2-3-31. Jonty meanwhile had contained really well, until his last over when he put the oven on, pies on a large tray and got carted for six to square – the ball went up the bank – over the back – down the drive – onto the road and racing off to Wrexham like it had breached an exclusion order. Fordy was in hot pursuit, toying with getting a number 45 bus, but just managed to catch up with it minutes later.
Now we were in the last 10 they were in double figures and their two senior players may have been rather immobile, but they were upping the run rate. Tom came back for 5, with Venkat at the other end. Another run out of a young number 10 in one of Tom’s overs and they were nearly out. Good containment to the end – Venkat saw another run out but a bit leaky in his last (6-0-0-22) and Tom bowled their number 11 in his last in what is a well overdue scalp and great economy. (8.2-2-1-15)
Tea. Some football game on the TV seemed to be distracting Brymbo as it went in extra time so we took our time. Looked grim.
Abs & Siv out to bat. Tight bowling from both ends, both bats off the mark picking out the odd bad ball. In the third, Abs found himself on his toes and tucked up by a rising ball he had no room but to casually edge to gully. Out for 2 and 7-1. Skip in next, and between them Siva and Skip defended well and picked out a few boundaries to get us to 39 after 10. A new bowler on 11 with their No 2 carrying on. First ball of the 12th, skip bowled off his pads for 17. Next in Will, looking for a bit of form, carefully nurses an innings. For the next 6 overs we make 20 runs, until Siv gives one a heave to long on and gets caught for 23. 59-3 after 18. Tom in – patient against some very accurate line and length – almost Fordy-like at the beginning – but we were tied down by this second change. At drinks 60 runs on and no change in orders, just bat out.
Tom and Will soldier on, taking quick singles but for the next 10 overs its hard going. 26 runs added until Will pulls the trigger only to launch one down the throat of long-off. 24 runs and top score of the day – 86-4.
Matt in next and off the mark at once and I’m sure its running shoes he’s got on. Tom at the other end next over tries to launch their left arm spinner but loops an edge to slip for 11. 88-5. Several skied shots managed to find safe pockets in the field, with a few close calls. Could we be riding our luck?
Jit in and with Matt there are two keen runners – and the run rate starts to creep up. 32 overs we are on 90 – 36 114, but Jit just a little ambitious on a second run gets run out. In comes Jonty, asking for time to warm up and looking decidedly unhungry. A run off his first ball and then Matt warms to the task; 6 runs in each of the next 2 overs leaves us needing 17 off 12. This is a nets call, what we train for, but to be fair both sides were feeling the pressure. With only 3 off the over we needed 13 off 6. In nets Jonty would bludgeon the bowlers – at Brymbo we just couldn’t get hold off it despite (or because of?) the massive outfield.
We finished 134 for 6. 9 runs short. This was a really good game and a great team effort. Everyone played their part, no ducks, no woeful bowling and good fielding all round. Lots to be confident about and against second in our league a good showing of what we can do.