The Sunday 1st XI took the journey to Arlington Avenue to take on Leamington in the final game of the regular Arden League season. The equation was clear for us, win the game, win the league. Any other result would rely on results elsewhere going our way. Leamington’s equation was equally clear – they had to win to avoid relegation and had put out a particularly strong side to try and achieve this.
We lost the toss, they batted, we had 7 men. We tried delaying the start as much as we reasonably could but we took the field with 7 which meant 5 fielders to defend the vast swathes of Leamington countryside. Not surprisingly, they came at us hard and, despite being up to a full quota by the 4th over, the first 8 overs went the distance with only 1 wicket to our name.
Once again pace off the ball proved the key and Kiefer Woods and Max Southgate managed to put the brakes on whilst taking regular wickets. Mikey Waugh tried to recreate his ‘Joffra’ spell from Bromsgrove but reverted to spin after 3 overs went for 27 – the 5 overs of spin bringing 2-15. Jamie Hall had a bowl but it was a day for the spinners and once they were all bowled out, Doc [Rob Ellis] (2-44) mopped up the tail. Excellent work again from Kiefer (2-31) and Max (2-52). We were staring down the barrel of chasing 300+ when Leamington were 146 at drinks and 184 after 25 overs. A superb comeback effort to restrict them to 236 all out in the 38th over.
Tea was below average although a fish finger sandwich is always a winner in my book.
Kaash Patel (22) and Peter Shackleford (46) got us off to an excellent start with some quality shots on display. The middle order all got scores in the teens so when Mikey and Jon Newis were at the crease with just over 100 needed at 7 an over we felt reasonably confident these two would just see us home with no drama. Unfortunately Mikey played on for 26 and it was up to Jono to try and get us to 237 with the help of the not insignificant batting skills of Max Southgate. The rate climbed but a productive penultimate over put us back in a position to sneak home. After a tight last over it all boiled down to the last ball when we needed 2 to win. At this point we were gifted a tie with a wide and the win with a bye. A strange way to end a game but Jono (57*) and Max (29*) thoroughly deserved it after a brilliant run chase.
We found out our rivals (Bromsgrove) had been beaten and we would have won the league anyway but what a great game of cricket.
A quick word of thanks to Paul Davies who has umpired all season, to all the players, young and old, who have made the team a pleasure to play in but mostly to skipper Jon Newis who creates the right atmosphere whilst engendering a desire to win and bringing his own considerable talent to the team.
Some numbers: Jono and Mikey hold positions 1 and 3 at the top of the Premier division batting table.
Leading Run Makers
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Leading Wicket Takers
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