Match report courtesy of Matt
Here’s the match report from Sunday’s trip to Bromyard.
After the end of the league campaign, Graces were back to friendly only action this weekend. This weekend was a special one, having been invited to join skipper Stuart in in his homely surroundings, visiting Bromyard in Herefordshire with another stay at Sherford Hourse followed by a match with the local side, who have had significant Graces input this year thanks to Manish!
A rain delayed start reduced the game to 35 overs per side, the hosts won the toss and elected to bat. Stuart then had to decide which one of the plethora of slower bowlers would open the bowling – perhaps Graces were preparing for the World Cup in India three weeks early?
It would be Mendis to start. Dot, dot, caught by Stuart, bowled, dot, dot. What a start, 0/2 from the first over. Having watched the first over from the other end, Bullock would face up to Tim. Wide, six, six, six was perhaps the exact opposite of the previous over. All three balls sailing high over the trees and hedges across the legside followed by rapid searches from the home side to replace each ball. Another super Mendis over followed, leaving Bullock again on strike to continue some more Anglo-Australian rivalry. It would be 42 from Tim’s two overs as yet another six disappeared into the row of terraced houses, Graeme, a Bromyard member on the watching balcony next to the score hut, had a phone call. It turns out the neighbours have a hotline to the club and a BMW had its door mirror knocked off – maybe an invoice on its way to Tim?
However, it would soon be over, with Mendis making Bullock his third victim, finding Skippy Chris on the long on boundary to depart for 42 from just 18 balls! That was 42 out of 44/3!
With Jesant in the attack, skipper Rawle’s long defensive resistance ended for Graces fourth, soon followed by Mark getting a deserved wicket, coming back strongly from some more legside Bromyard boundaries. 88/5.
These hits had come from the talented Brown and Willis at 6 and 7 and the runs continued to flow at ease, taking advantage of the “express pace” trio of Mark, Sam and Matt. Seven an over was flowing comfortably, before the barrage ended as both retired with unbeaten half centuries. More talented youth followed, but knowing the retirees still had time left to come back in, economy bowling was more key than wicket taking. Not that Matt listened, taking the bails off twice from Stuart and Jesant for run outs and then bowling the younger Rawle which brought Brown back.
Running out of overs left from the main bowlers, Stuart used Dom and Skippy to support Mendis, but Brown’s big hitting continued. Eventually the innings ended with both retirees back after Adam managed to rebound the ball off his pads to stump Martine Sr to give Skippy a wicket. 236/9 from 35 overs. Mendis the pick with 3 for 12 in 7 overs!
After a quick turnaround, Matt and Jesant lead the chase. A slight case of de ja vu occurred as both of them hit two boundaries each in the opening two overs, including a six out of the ground by Matt. Three more followed in the next two and then the fifty was brought up in just the fifth over. This counter attack led to regular changes in the bowling attack as few found their rhythm, causing the skipper to introduce the quick Willis. He found an edge or two, but they still found the shorter boundary edges. With just one needed for the century partnership, Jesant would depart having retired with his half century. It brought Leo in at three, who scored from every one of his first eight balls, including three strong drives through long off as 12 overs in, the score was still above ten an over!
Willis was the main threat and would finally get Bromyard on the board as Matt was bowled three short of his fifty. This brought in Mendis to join Leo, who “never gets dropped” after Bromyard dropped him twice! Bromyard continued to rotate their bowlers and Leo continued to find the boundary regularly. His second six of his innings brought about his fifty, bringing in skipper Stuart on his home turf. Continuing the trend, Stuart his three boundaries in his first ten balls, looking to get the game done quickly, reaching 29 from 14 balls to tie the scores.
However, Bromyard were still determined to get their man. A series of dots balls on scores tied led Stuart to lob the ball up to point, all eyes across the ground wondering if the big wicket would happen and surely the moment of the match……..but it went down! That same over would see Stuart get the team over the line and end a superb day of cricket with a nine wicket win with over 5 overs to spare!
A great game to back up a great weekend!