Springhill beat WHCC by 79 runs.
I don’t recall an innings of a match report done by somebody who wasn’t even there to observe it, although it has been a season full of new records. But after arriving at the picturesque Springhill venue, it didn’t take too long to get a grasp of the match situation.
The last time Alex Nunns won a toss, colour television hadn’t been invented. To be precise, it was the first game of the season against Sportsman, way back on the 18th April. I think if the skipper ever decides to appear on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, our advice would be….don’t even bother taking your 50/50 lifeline. However, it has to be said, Alex has had a superb season as Captain. Settling into the role easily, leading us to plenty of memorable victories. But more importantly, keeping the atmosphere fun and light hearted, often sacrificing himself, in order to get everyone into the game. An extremely selfless Captain…..Thanks Alex, from everyone at WHCC.
Now after hearing the 1st innings analysis from various self appointed pundits…..”We were going really well until….” the “until” part being the key word here…… In other words, the Springhill No5 batsman, Safdar Matloob came in and hit a blistering 128, off 48 balls, including 13 sixes. This pretty much tells its own story. The sheep in the neighbouring field would have found an air raid shelter quite useful, as the ball was launched in their direction aplenty. After a good start from Father/Son duo, Sam (2-25) and Dave Stephens (1-24) who opened the bowling together for the first time in a while, and a luckless spell from Dan Armstrong, it was the innings of Safdar which turned the game in Springhill’s favour.
John Nicholls and Dave Clive picked up a wicket each, but it was JP, who must have arrived at the venue feeling very charitable …..delivering a spell of 3 overs 0-69…. Ouch!! The only thing missing here was a Just Giving page. On a small ground with a batsman well set, and seeing the ball so well, it wasn’t easy to contain the situation. Nathan Reeves produced yet another whole hearted effort in the field, which has been the story of his season, high energy and total commitment to saving runs from start to finish. The Chairman, Rick Jarrams, making his 306th appearance for WHCC, almost grabbed a great catch, taking a real stinger to the finger, which soon turned a shade of black and blue. Another big hand must go up for Rick here, stepping in at short notice to ensure we had 11 players for our final game of the season. Springhill concluded their innings at 275-5 off 35 overs.
After tea was taken, Dan Armstrong and Gort began our response. Earlier in the day, Dan had predicted….”I’m going to hit a ton today” He definitely looked in the mood to deliver his promise, getting off the mark with a big 6. The opening partnership reached 54 until Gort was bowled by Arnold for 6, followed by Sam Stephens for 1 to the same bowler. At 56-2, and facing such a big total, Alex started really well, hitting some quality shots, with Dan continuing to plunder runs from the other end. But the key moment came, when Alex was caught at mid off for 24. The skippers dismissal brought Nathan Reeves to the crease, who had earlier told Sam Stephens that he now has three shots. I’d be a bit concerned if this comment got back to those people who formulate the Trade Descriptions Act. Nonetheless, Nath hit a lovely boundary, before being caught for 4.
With the score on 114-4, the run rate climbing, and the clouds looking blacker than Rick’s finger, the Springhill Specialist, Andy Mcklay joined Dan Armstrong for his first knock of the season. Andy, who had already taken a good catch earlier in the day, batted really well, sharing in an entertaining partnership of 75 with Dan. This proved to be exactly the support Dan needed, as he closed in on making good his century prediction. As he reached 95, a nice leg glance for 4 inched Dan to within one run of three figures. But by now, the light meters were coming out, and the rain was falling quite heavily. But to everyone’s relief, a misfield at cover led to a quick single, giving Dan a very well deserved 3rd century of the season, which included 5 sixes and 14 fours. This was a historic moment. The first time anyone has ever hit three hundreds in one season for the club. A brilliant effort again. After finally being bowled for 113, Dan walked off the pitch smiling more than Emma Raducanu. I think he might just have enjoyed his day.
Our innings concluded on 196-5. Well short of the required target, but with Andy Mcklay staying deservedly unbeaten on 11 not out, and Dave Clive, who picked up a nice red inker, to finish off a really good first season for DC. Well batted lads.
The final fines committee of the season was a strange one. Most people took a shine to throwing 20 quid into the pot. Now I know the pandemic has caused most prices to go up, but this was ridiculous. John Nicholls was all smiles, after being told he had picked up his 141st DNB. After a quick calculation, Jonty made everyone aware….”So that is 10 seasons where I haven’t had a bat” We all said farewell to the 2021 season, leaving Gort with the real head scratcher of finding 18 quid change for 90% of yesterdays XI. Best of luck Andy…..HSBC opens at 9am mate.