Burpham CC v Southwell Ramblers CC – Sunday 29th June 2014
Result: Ramblers won by 10 runs
Don’t be fooled by the scorebook, a ten run win might look comfortable enough but this was tight, tense, and unrelentingly dramatic right until the death throes of the 80th over, when finally the Ramblers could breathe again and celebrate a memorable victory on our Burpham debut.
We finished in shadows but began in broiling heat. Dan Scrase, in a welcome return to Ramblers colours, did what he’s done so often before and gave the innings early momentum with a brace of boundaries back past the bowler. He was going the same way but changed his mind mid-stroke and paid the price.
Our double barrelled middle order threatened briefly, but fell in quick succession. If there were question marks around the Dryden-Brownlee LBW decision, there was no disputing the quality of cricket that accounted for Macleod-Smith: a purring cover drive, the cleanest of pick-ups, and the deadliest of throws at a single stump. Amid the mayhem Marcus Jansa wisely dropped anchor but Burpham’s bowlers kept nagging away and at drinks the Ramblers were stuck in 2nd gear and in danger of stalling.
Marcus fell shortly after the break, but Burpham’s delight was short-lived. A towering six from the incoming Tim Stansbury released the shackles and for the first time in the match the runs flowed freely and the fielding began to fray. With Ben Leach accumulating without alarm at the other end, Stanners kept his foot to the floor and raced to his fifty with a flurry of boundaries. The partnership was nearing three figures when a risky single and another fine piece of fielding left Stanners stranded and Leacho looking to make amends. Atonement arrived with a burst of boundaries. A pair of flat batted sixes the standout shots from a beautifully paced innings that took Leacho to a career best 85, and the Ramblers to 198 for 8.
A decent total soon looked a whole lot better as a fine opening spell from Mac and two early wickets from Mark, one clean bowled and one caught in the ring, piled the pressure on Burpham and sent
the run rate soaring. After a couple of sighters Tommy Handley opened his Ramblers account with a wicket to remember, Burpham’s big lad slapping one straight at Teflon Tim, who took his second catch
of the innings with aplomb, at which point Lucifer rang Halfords and ordered a job lot of anti-freeze.
3 down for 22 but Burpham were far from done – the captain joined their opener and without risk or fuss began to rebuild. Revived by drinks, they started to accelerate and in a match marked by wild swings of momentum the force was back with Burpham as the partnership passed 3 figures. Benny Harrild, finally free from his 3 hour conference call, joined the fray with the battle at its fiercest but refused to take a backward step. He also refused to stop bowling one of the more experimental slower-balls in world cricket, with predictable and expensive consequences.
10 overs to go and 70 needed – still anyone’s game, but relief for the Ramblers when their opener clipped a filthy MJ full-bunger straight to Ali Turner at midwicket. The respite was brief as their burly number 6 took guard and teed off with ferocious power, peppering the short square boundary with worrying regularity. With their skipper passing 50 at the other end and the required rate under control Burpham were back in the game. Big time.
Amid suffocating tension the Ramblers dug deep, supported each other brilliantly in the field and got the wicket they so wanted. With their captain back in the hutch the run rate climbed again, and it was the Ramblers who held their nerve and their catches to take a vice like grip on the game. The burly number 6 remained a danger, but starved of strike he tried to pinch a second and was short of his ground. Their tail swung merrily but without success as Macca, Marcus and Mark buried Burpham with a nerveless display of death bowling. A fabulous finish to a magnificent match, and a wonderful way for the Ramblers to register their first win of 2014.
Team in batting order:
Marcus Jansa, Dan Scrase, Mark Dryden-Brownlee, Ali Macleod-Smith, Ben Leach, Tim Stansbury, Ali Turner, Tim Powell, Gus Williamson (c), Tom Handley, Ben Harrild
Toss: Won by SRCC
Yellow: Ben Leach (85 excellent runs)