Hyde Heath CC v Southwell Ramblers CC – Sunday 15th June 2014
Result: Match drawn
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."
Nelson Mandela doubtless had more important things in mind than cricket, but just as England rediscovered some of their misplaced Ashes mojo on Monday at Lord’s, so the Ramblers made good the mistakes of Madehurst at Hyde Heath on Sunday.
Champions get back on the horse, and after electing to bat first the Ramblers started at a canter. Five murderously certain boundaries from the blade of Ian Bartholomew hinted at the carnage to come, but there are 10 methods of dismissal in cricket and running out your best batsmen [Cambridge Blue] with a suicidal single is a classic the Ramblers never tire of. A remorseful Russell Jones was good enough to chip one up in the air a couple of balls later in a show of solidarity.
Heath’s happiness was short-lived as Ali Turner and Matt Unwin, mainstays of the Ramblers middle-order for 15 years and proud Dads to the next generation watching on, used all their experience to first blunt and then to punish Heath’s attack in a 150 plus run partnership fit for the ages and entirely fitting for Father’s Day.
Ali, mindful of Madehurst kept the ball on the floor and waited for the boundary ball, while Matty played the supporting role before picking up the pace. Landmarks fell and the run rate soared as the 11pm kick off in Manaus and the opening bowler’s 23rd birthday celebrations took their toll.
With tea looming Ali pressed hard on the pedal and selflessly holed out to long-on for 94. Another fine catch on the fence ended Matty’s fun on 71, but the damage had been done and the Ramblers declared on an imposing 224 for 4. After the famine, a feast.
Heath came out all guns blazing but their star batsmen pulled the trigger once too often and misjudged the pace of Gus Williamson’s quicker ball; it was even slower than he realised. Heath continued to throw the bat, in the case of the other opener a full 40 yards into the woods on his way back to the pavilion. At the other end Nick Marsh capped a hostile opening spell by pegging back their number 3’s off stump – and when Team Gus combined to see off number 5 the Ramblers were in command.
Heath regrouped cautiously and then countered furiously. A flurry of boundaries took the partnership into 3 figures and suddenly it was the Ramblers looking anxiously at the scoreboard.
With all results possible, the pressure was palpable but Jim Owen held his nerve and beat their senior batsmen all ends up with a cracker that clipped the top of off. An identical dismissal an
over later accounted for their dangerous no 6. Momentum was back with the Ramblers and they moved in for the kill. Jim pulled another rabbit out of the hat (7-down), Bat-Thrower got his own
back and triggered his team-mate (8-down), and a brilliant diving catch from Ian Bartholomew took the Ramblers to the brink. The sting, however, was in the tail as Heath’s final pair, surrounded by
fielders and enveloped with tension, stood firm and secured the most dramatic of draws. Heroes and handshakes, and then a pint in the Plough. It’s what Sundays were invented for.
Team in batting order:
Ian Batholomew, Russ Jones, Matt Unwin, Ali Turner(c), Jim Owen, Nick Marsh, James Helby, Gus Williamson, Paul Haddock, Gus Robertson
Toss: Won by SRCC
Yellow: Paul Haddock