Calmore Collapse at the Home of Cricket
Following a two-week layoff due to Amport conceding last week’s game (apparently having two players does not equate to a team….), Winterbourne took to the field against a youthful looking Calmore III hoping to put more pressure on the teams above them. With confusion as to who the “regular” first team captain actually was in recent weeks; the baton was passed back to Martyn Nokes with the previous incumbent Jamie Harvey wining and dining with the Corsican Mafia. Nokes was unable to use any of his sleight of hand tricks to influence the toss as the visiting Captain, wise to his game, wanted to call as the coin was in the air and Winterbourne duly found themselves in the field.
With regular opening bowler Zac Smith absent celebrating his birthday elsewhere, Joe Cunningham had received prior information in the form of a late-night text from Nokes informing him that he would be opening the bowling. Unfortunately, the pressure seemed to get to him and after three overs, he pulled up lame with a tight hamstring. He gamely battled through another over on one leg (the best of the lot in actual fact!) but finished wicketless as Winterbournes woes in the field continued and two catches were put down. Andy Dunning was the first culprit, forgetting that he wasn’t wicketkeeping and so did not have his oversized gloves on and failing to dive forward far enough to cling on. In a show of great solidarity, Winterbourne’s present wicket keeper Dan Marsh then spilled the very next ball after Cunningham had found the edge of Austin’s bat. With Rich Pearce also failing to make a breakthrough, a double change was affected as Jack Brown and Chris Breeze entered the attack. Opener Austin was immediately uncomfortable against the extra pace of Brown and especially his propensity to propel the ball halfway down the wicket and so was totally bemused when Brown pulled out the double bluff and sent his middle stump cartwheeling for 3 with a well-pitched up delivery. Cotton at the other end was scoring freely, playing some powerful drives and in partnership with Jewer Senior looked to take the game on. However, in Brown’ next over the first pivotal moment of the game arrived. Jewer pulled another short ball from Brown off the middle of the bat but picked out Matt Shellum, lurking at square leg, who made the mistake of catching the ball without looking how fast it was travelling first. The ball lodged into his right hand so hard in fact that he had trouble in removing it to return to the umpire as Jewer dragged himself from the pitch. Brown then decided that the pitch wasn’t worth bothering with at all and slammed a high full toss into the off stump of new man Brad Jewer. The umpire contemplated calling a no-ball until it was pointed out that the ball had hit the stumps and so could not have been above waist height and Brown had three wickets to his name. The second pivotal moment arrived in the next over as Breeze, bowling with his customary stinginess, turned a ball into the pads of Cotton. As Breeze appealed the umpire instantly raised his finger and despite the batsman’s protestations that the ball had hit him too high, he had to depart for a well made 38. It was here that Breeze’s luck deserted him, and he fell foul to two more dropped chances, including one by Cunningham that left him with a fat lip to go with his tight hamstring. After 16 overs, Calmore were struggling on 42-4 and although Gilpin took three boundaries from Brown’s fourth over, he was then run out in calamitous fashion by his partner who tapped the ball into the off-side and set off for a run. Nokes swooped on the ball and considering his options, decided to throw the ball at keeper Marshes head. Marsh managed to remain calm and plucked the ball from in front of his nose before ‘slam dunking’ it onto the stumps, leaving the batsman well short. Brown picked up his fourth wicket, clean bowling Billington for a two-ball duck but failed to collect a fifth victim in his remaining few balls and finished with a seasons club best of 4-20. Jordan Sullivan, fresh from an enjoyable year at Brighton University replaced Brown at the Farm End and decided that imitation was the best form of flattery, clean bowling Henry with a low full toss that crashed into the base of the off stump. He then sent a stump cartwheeling for the second time as Sherwood was also clean bowled for a battling 11. It was left the evergreen Mike Turner to wrap up the innings with two wickets in ten balls. Hawkins was the first to go as he had his off bail trimmed and then two balls later, Marsh finally hung onto to one as last man Morgan nicked off. The Calmore innings had subsided to a meagre 84 all out with thirteen overs unused.
Wary of a previous fallibility when faced with a low run chase, Nokes opted for the experience of Andy Dunning to open the batting with the usual suspect Matt Windows and the pair were initially watchful against the opening bowlers Carty and Morgan, content to defend the good balls and punish anything loose. Windows was the first to up the ante, depositing a lovely straight drive over Carty’s head for a boundary before playing a half pirouette and collecting another boundary through the leg side. Dunning joined in the fun, striking two boundaries of his own and with the opening bowlers looking increasingly toothless, the Calmore skipper made a double change, introducing Henry and Dewer. Henry struck in his second over as Windows, looking to repeat the shot over the bowler’s head, got plenty of height on his drive but nowhere near enough distance and Brad Dewer took a simple catch at mid-off. Windows had to depart for a well made 24, bringing Shellum to the crease. Dunning then perished in Henry’s next over as he too tried to go over the top but only succeeded in picking out mid off again where it was Cotton this time who accepted the catch. Pearce joined Shellum in the middle and with the Calmore change bowlers bowling a tight line, the pair scored a mere 11 runs in six over, leading to some serious barracking from the home players who wanted the game done and dusted in a hurry. Pearce was the man to break the shackles as after scoring two runs from his first 24 balls, he then hit four boundaries from the twentieth over, with the last being the most pleasing as he caressed a drive thorough the smallest of gaps at extra cover. Shellum struck a boundary of his own in the next over to bring the target down to a mere 4 runs before perishing in a similar fashion to Dunning and Windows as he too failed to clear mid-off. Pearce scored a boundary from the next over to tie the scores and with captain Nokes replacing Shellum at the crease, the opportunity was there for him to score the winning run. Unfortunately for Nokes though, he forgot to use his bat to the third ball he faced and was plumb LBW, giving Henry his fourth wicket of the afternoon and granting Nokes his first entry of the season into the ‘Duck Club’. Cunningham survived the last three balls of the over and it was left to Pearce to seal the win with his sixth boundary, leaving him unbeaten on 26 and Winterbourne victorious by six wickets.