Home v Unicorns, Barton Seagrave, Broxbourne – Broxbourne – 4 team T20 tournament – We won!

Broxbourne Sports Club  Mill Lane Close    Broxbourne              Hertfordshire     EN10 7BA

Thanks to Bena for this match report

Thursday 2nd of June – First T20 vs Birmingham Unicorns

The first match in Graces’ quest to claim the illustrious “T20 Tournament Cup” (as Dom labelled it), was against fellow queers the Birmingham Unicorns, whilst the so-called ‘straight’ match unfolded next door. After being put into bat, it was felt that Graces would need to set a big total on what was – as is so often – an excellent batting track at Broxbourne. On the boundary line potential scores were being tossed around, but it was clear that our colourful captain Stuart wanted us to reach the lofty heights of 180 in our 20 overs.

A shaky start however began to throw doubt on such aspirations when both Chris and Mahender found themselves back in the gazebo for single figure scores, with Graces 22 for 2 after 4 overs. What Graces now required was someone to perform a stabilising role and this was provided by the premier bowler turned batsman for the day, Simon Lycett. Rotating the strike brilliantly and punishing the occasional short and wide one, Simon and Adam combined nicely, until unfortunately Adam also fell to the Unicorns’ deadly bowling attack. Again, Graces found themselves in a precarious position. Yet, what followed was perhaps the crucial partnership of the match, as Leo and Simon came together to take the game forward. Simon’s solid technique and conservative approach perfectly complimented an expert piece of swashbuckling from Leo, who clearly took great pleasure in languidly slamming the ball to all parts of the ground, including a glorious straight six which was launched hard into the sightscreen. However, shortly following this shot, Leo found himself in what can only be described as “a bit of a pickle”, when he left a ball which preceded to merrily crash into the leg stump, leaving him walking off for a speedy 36. At this point though a good platform had been built and the score was up at close to 100 with 6 overs still left to make some hay. Simon, who was still standing strong, began to go up through the gears sending many deliveries racing away to the square-leg boundary after some dominant pulls. Although more partners came and went for Simon – with both Stuart and Ivy perishing tyring push the score ever-onwards – he still made it to a beautifully constructed 50 not out, retiring at this point to make way for some low order hitting. Bena joined Ari in the middle, and after missing his first ball playing one of the most horrific swipes you’ll see in the game of cricket, Bena managed to find some hitting form, sending the next two deliveries long over the legside boundary for six. Ari and Bena managed to keep this momentum going into the final over, running hard between the wickets and sending many more balls to and over the boundary rope, which took the final score to an impressive 186 – Bena finishing on 36* and Ari on 15*.

Although we felt confident that we had made a strong score, we knew that on a good batting track such as this, anything was possible and that we would need to bowl well to win the game. Mendis led the attack for us and struck straight away after a tight first over of line and length bowling. Yet, as the Unicorns’ batters started to settle in, runs looked easy to come by with many balls flying away through the infield and into the boundary rope. At close to 50 runs for 1 wicket after 5 overs, the Unicorns were very much up with the rate. Nonetheless, some crucial breakthroughs from Chris and Mahender ensured that this early acceleration was halted in its tracks, eventually leaving the score teetering at 92 for 4 wickets. Seizing upon this opportunity, Graces then began to push home the advantage by drying up all scoring opportunities and forcing the batters to search for the big shots. This was down primarily to the expert discipline from Ivy and Manish, who both came away with wickets to their name. Suddenly the Unicorns found themselves collapsed to 99-7, and although they battled on, it was clear that the game was gone. Eventually, they finished on 109 from their 20 overs which meant that Graces had stormed to a significant 77 run victory and found themselves only one win away from winning the illustrious “T20 Tournament Cup”.