The Blues (185 all out; Elliot 58, Wade 25) beat Shamley Green (177 all out; Ellen 5-29, Selleck 3-37)
For the second successive weekend the Blues bowled a team out to win a match in dramatic circumstances. This was a fantastic game which epitomises what Blues cricket is all about - played on a beautiful, old-England style village green pitch, the match was played in an excellent competitive spirit and the result was in doubt until the final ball was bowled.
Overnight rain meant that the majority of Blues suspected the game would be a wash out, however much to everyone’s relief the rain passed quicker than expected and the game got underway in glorious sunshine.
The Shamley Green pitch is definitely worth a mention - a truly unique ground, set on a triangular village green, fronted on one side by the Red Lion pub and with houses making up the boundary markers square of the wicket. It is the only pitch I have every played on where there are tarmac roads inside the boundary - indeed for all of the Blues innings there was a rather smart Jaguar parked roughly where a fly gully would usually be standing. Jon Burchfield picked it out with unerring accuracy.
The Blues lost the toss and were put into bat. The overnight rain certainly livened up the pitch and Ellen and Corcoran the Blues openers endured a couple of overs of chin music as the ball bounced extravagantly off a length - Corcoran loves fronting up to the short ball - taking a guard of two foot outside leg stump and retreating towards the square leg umpire whenever trouble threatened. Despite the liveliness of the pitch the Blues progressed to 45 without loss with both batsmen taking advantage of the short boundaries. However three wickets then went down in quick succession with Ellen gloving a rip snorter, Regan succumbing to a grass cutter and Corcoran being bowled by a beauty. Charlie Elliot and Mark Wade rebuilt the innings. Mark hit a couple of glorious boundaries including a huge six that went way over the top of the surrounding houses, landing a couple of gardens back. Mark was eventually bowled for 26 and the Blues still looked in trouble at 85-4. Ritanjan Das (on debut) looked in good touch until being undone by one that jumped up. Zubair Ahmed then provided Charlie with some good support - hitting nineteen in quick time before being run out, Rohit Singh came in and smacked his first ball for a straight one bounce four before being caught on the boundary. At 130 - 7 the Blues were still 70 off a decent score and in some trouble. However Charlie who had played sensibly for the most of his innings now cut loose and a flurry off boundaries took him to a well deserved 50 and the Blues to within sight of respectability. The tail also wagged - Jon Burchfield never hangs around and hit a series of glorious boundaries before being bowled for 19. Sam Selleck then sent a clear message to the selectors that he should be batting higher than 10 by smiting a mighty six and a couple of four before he was bowled for 14 with the Blues reaching a respectable 185 all out.
Charlie's was the key innings which ensured the Blues got a competitive total, but there were contributions from 1 to 11. Charlie's innings was also marked by a classic piece of Blues umpiring from Ellen:
Charlie swings and misses and slightly looses balance - the keeper (who happens to be very good and also very, very competitive) takes cleanly and whips the bails off and launches into a huge appeal.
Ellen at square leg umpire is busy talking to the square leg fielder about Shell's downstream oil business and automatically answers "Not Out" and then to prove he was concentrating "his foot was on the line"
Keeper: "Yeah, that means he was out"
Ellen "Erm, OK, well in that case...... Not Out"
How to make friends as an umpire by Tom Ellen.
After a good tea the Blues took to the field with real vigour and started off spectacularly when Ellen's second ball was edged into the slip cordon and the catch was actually taken by an amazed looking Corcoran. Selleck opened from up the hill, turning it square as ever, and induced an edge with his second ball that was expertly pouched by the 'keeper, Das. Elliot then took a great catch at mid on to get rid of the number three and Selleck knocked the number fives middle stump back the next over. 16-4 the Blues were rocking and Shamley Green were on the ropes. Unfortunately the number 4 and number 6 were pretty good batsman. The number 4 (the aforementioned wicket keeper) was a particularly good player and said attractive things like "fetch that" as he spanked a succession of boundaries. The score rattled on to 100-4 in the blink of an eye.
Corcoran however is a wily old fox and, coming down the hill, settled into a good line and length. Softening the number six up with one of his beautifully disguised slower balls he followed it up with his effort ball, a half tracker that rose up viciously and induced a top edge which Elliot again snapped up at deep midwicket. The next over the key break though was made when Corcoran induced an ill judged cut from the number four that was expertly taken behind by Das. 120-6 and the two big hitter back in the hutch the Blues were again on top.
Rohit and Zubair came on and bowled well without the luck they deserved - both beating the bat on numerous occasions and the ball often falling agonisingly short of fielders. Skipper Burchfield turned to Mark Wade to break up the partnership. Mark certainly spiced things up - finding the cut surface on a couple of occasions and missing the remainder of the time. Unfortunately the number 8 was proving a rather good bat and he moved serenely to 35 and Shamley Green to 168-6. The skipper chucked the ball back to Ellen and Selleck and the impact was immediate. Mark Wade clung on to a skier to remove the number 8. Ellen then pinned back the number 7's leg stump and it was 171-8. The number 9 then came in and hit his first two balls for four. However Selleck had him caught at mid-on by Rohit the next over. 177-9 - nine to win one wicket remaining. Ellen sealed the deal by bowling the number eleven to cue a mass high-fiving session and handshakes all round.
A great game. Many thanks to Jon Burchfield the match manager for a) getting 11 players - the first time this season we've had that luxury; b) ensuring that everyone batted and bowled and c) for captaining the side excellently in the field.
Apologies for the long match report - its raining today so no six-a-side comp.....