Grace's squeak home
After last year’s rain reduced fixture the elements were kinder to us allowing us to fully appreciate the really lovely setting of Lustleigh CC in deepest Devon for the first of our tour matches.
This game was such a joy I apologise if I can’t convey it in this report – I’ll try!
Dom called correctly and inserted the home team on a green and slightly damp looking strip. However any hopes of early inroads did not materialize as the openers Beauchamp and 12 year old Ollie (maturing into a fine young cricketer) first resisted Newton and Sid before going on the attack depositing the ball a few times into the brook on the boundary as anything short of a length was dispatched.
A first for Grace’s was the appearance of a Nepalese player, Tsering, who joined the tour at the last minute and did well bowling 4 overs against set batsmen. Beauchamp eventually retired on 50 bringing in Bromfield who was soon bowled by Noddy with the score at 99 off only 18 overs. A large total still looked on for the home team. However the number 3 was soon followed to the pavilion by Baker the number 4 who was caught by Simon off Jonners – maintaining his wicket taking record on this ground!
Ollie was then LBW to Noddy for a great knock of 41. Lustleigh were now 139 for 3 off 26 overs with the game in the balance. The home skipper then came in and proceeded to hit anything lose in an entertaining rapid fire unbeaten innings of 53 – managing to frustratingly drop the ball into gaps – before retiring.
Thankfully the other Lustleigh batsmen were not so aggressive, Grace’s bowlers managing to keep them in check – Sid picking up his second wicket for the club after many fruitless overs of effort with Leo taking a good catch at point. The last 5 overs yielded only 23 runs as Newton (2 wickets) and Mendis bowled tightly. Our fielding has been better, (probably hampered by the previous night’s time at the bar!) with a few dropped catches – Stuart the exception getting Mendis’ wicket with a sharp one handed catch close in. Dom and Scott also picked up a catch each. Nine bowlers were used!
The final total was 235 for 7 off 40 overs.
Meanwhile the touring party supporters – including Khin and Yong – had been using the ground’s practice net urged on by Liam ,the cheeky young son of one of the home team – more of him to follow.
A sumptuous tea was taken by all before Leo and Stuart opened our innings. The first ball was driven imperiously to the boundary by Stuart – a statement of intent. There followed 19 entertaining overs of attacking shots to all points of the field before Stuart retired with 51 off only 52 balls. Dom came in at number 3 before being bowled by the accurate Ollie looking to push the score along. Simon was number 3 and after setting himself revealed some lovely drives in a double quick 29 before being stumped. Leo meanwhile had been bowled for a fine 49 taking the score to 157 for 3 after 29 overs.
So 78 was needed off 11 overs. When Mendis was outrageously caught on the boundary (that boy Ollie again) for 19 it looked like we had been pegged back. However Newton and Scott had other ideas taking up the attack. Noddy had resisted batting finally coming in when Newton was bowled for 21 in what turned out to be the match winning partnership of 67 in only 9 overs with Scott. The Kiwi depositing two big sixes into the brook on the way to a lovely 48 (off only 27 deliveries) before being LBW in the 38th over.
234 for 6 became 234 for 7 as Noddy was well caught on the boundary for a single. Sid then joined Jonners in the middle as the light became steadily murkier. The 38th over was a wicket maiden before Sid half volleyed the ball back over the bowler for a 4 to bring up the winning runs in what had been a great game played in the perfect spirit – a win by 3 wickets.
As Sid left the field he was harangued by Liam, who had trooped onto the field, for having the temerity to beat his team! So we couldn’t have wished for a better tour game with everyone being involved against lovely opposition. Drinks were then taken in the beautiful 15th century thatched pub next to the ground – the perfect end to a perfect day’s cricket.