Now playing for his third club in 7 years (make of that what you will), the players were shocked to turn up to Broadchalke to discover the Tourettes/ADHD sufferer consuming a can of Red Bull prior to the start of the game. If ever there was a drink that man should avoid, this is it. Fuelled to the brim with Taurine, he would spend the rest of the afternoon annoying everyone around him and making his team-mates wonder what on earth they had done to deserve sharing a changing room with such an irritating human being.
Having once again no official captain, the Winterbourne players' pre-match warm up consisted of the usual debate over who should take charge of the side. With no one willing to take responsibility, it was left to Jamie Harvey to reluctantly assume the reigns, knowing that there would immediately be a plethora of captains wanting to chip in with different thoughts on how the game should be managed. He was not wrong.
With a band of rain in the forecast, Matt Irvine decided to bowl first on the artificial pitch after winning the toss. Winterbourne's over 40's needed to make sure they came away with less than 10 points to have any chance of playing 40 over cricket again next season, so Jamie Harvey decided to snick off first ball and walked off despite no one other than the keeper hearing the faintest of outside edges. A somewhat "girlie" celebration from A I Mercer left the batsman wondering what he would have done in that situation. Stood firm one thinks.
Sam Parker, needing just three runs to overtake Matt Windows and be crowned batsman of the year in his first season, was under strict instructions not to take any risks and just make sure that Windows was made to pay for deciding to lay a floor rather than play in the final match of the season. Unbelievably, Parker skied a ball to you know who at mid on, and Anthony held on to dismiss him for a duck.
Irvine and White bowled an excellent opening spell and the Winterbourne top order really struggled to get anything away. Dave Bates had joined Matt Shellum but the pair could only put on 20 runs in the first 12 overs to drop well behind the ideal rate. Shellum was then bowled by White for 12, leaving Winterbourne in all sorts of trouble. Cameron Campbell, back from injury steadied the ship, and along with Bates saw the total to 47-3 off 20 overs before the rain shower which had been forecast appeared right on schedule.
An early tea was taken and 50 minutes of play was lost, but Winterbourne resumed in a different gear, mainly thanks to Campbell who started smashing the ball to all parts of the ground. Bates was bowled by Hulme for 33 and Rich Pearce fell shortly after for a duck. Dan Marsh took up the mantle, hitting some nice shots, including a straight six, but it was Campbell who was the hero as he raced towards a century. Broadchalke's captain and star all-rounder Matt Irvine came back into the attack and cleaned up Marsh for 16, finishing with 2 wickets for 19 runs.
A most unsightly occurrence took place in the 37th over when the ball was thrown to Mercer who bowled two overs of utter filth. At the other end, Campbell was eventually bowled for 98 - an agonising 2 runs short of a maiden century for Winterbourne. Jack Brown chipped in with 6 and it was left to Andy Dunning and Ryan Hughes to see Winterbourne to a par score of 191-8.
The rain delay had worked in Broadchalke's favour, as only having two batsmen, their target was reduced to a more gettable 146 in 26 overs. Jack Brown struggled to find his length but looked like he might take wickets with his extra pace, and Parsons was caught by Breeze for 6 in the 4th over. With Anthony Mercer now in at three, it was clear that Matt Irvine was going to have to play a Ben Stokes innings and manage the strike with the tail if the home team were going to win. A crucial catch went down which in hindsight cost 'Bourne the game and Irvine made them pay with a six and five other boundaries on his way to a rapid 39. Anthony was also put down a few overs later and Winterbourne would end the match maintaining their average of 5 dropped catches a game.
The introduction of Chris Breeze accounted for Irvine in the 11th over, but by this time the score was already 55. What followed can only be described as embarrassing, as Anthony managed to drag every ball outside off stump across to the leg-side in an exhibition of true village cricket. Having shown the world his ineptitude on Sky Sports back in 2012, he somehow managed to drag Broadchalke to the brink of victory. Two wickets each for Dave Bates and the returning Richard Pearce took Winterbourne to the verge of promotion, regardless of other results. Anthony hit the winning runs with an over to go, letting out a high pitched "woohoo" as he crossed for the single. It was shame he finished up on 49 and was deprived of his first hard ball fifty.
With nine points gained, Bramshaw needed maximum points to overtake Winterbourne for the final promotion place, but after losing to Broughton, it made the Broadchalke result even more academic and Winterbourne return to County Division 4 for the first time since 2017.
Matt Windows is batsman of the year for a second consecutive season, and Rich Pearce wins the bowler award in his debut season. Unusually for us, a wicket keeper is top catcher as Dan Marsh took 12 behind the stumps and also wins the award for most committed player - not missing a single match.
Another highly enjoyable season comes to an end. Many thanks to everyone who helped out - Carlie and Lisa for teas, Will for providing the best ground in the league and Malcolm for scoring and helping with anything which needs doing. We already have several new players wanting to join us next year, and we'll wrap the 2019 season up at our awards night on September 27th. After that our Indoor team will start another campaign under the guidance of Rich Pearce - anyone wanting to play, please get in touch as soon as possible as the squad is looking strong already.
Enjoy the rest of the year...the 2020 season will be upon us before we know it!