Detail: 16-07-2023 - Jane Metson Foundation
Result: W by 9 runs (Les Blues)
Blues vs Blues - Metson Charity game.
21 Blues descended on Bracknell to do battle in the gloom, grey skies overhead, hangovers abundant and a green pitch ready to take centre stage.
Special mention to Jack Czapalski, who despite not playing this year (yet), recruited a friend of his (Tom Yeldon) to turn out for the mighty Blues this weekend. Although perhaps the timing is slightly suspicious as it is the week before Czapalski cc take on the Blues... Needless to stay Simon ensured Tom would not get much of a chance to size up the Blues bowlers. More of that later.
The 'Younger Blues' opted to bat first, with only J. Close and Rob H as out and out bowlers the logic was whoever didn't score runs would be part of our bowling attack.
New ball in hand, pitch doing all sorts, we witnessed a superb opening spell from Chandra and Rich Mullett.
Rich: 21-1 of the first 5 overs with not a loosener to be seen.
Chandra causing chaos at the other end, going for 14-1 from 6 overs. Unplayable.
Between them they picked up the key wicket of James Leworthy, whose last 2 outings had both resulted in 50s. Not this time. Snared by Mullett's mastery departing for 7, bowled. As he walked back to the hutch the skipper asked how his back was - "yep, a lot better actually, I can probably bowl a bit". Funny how that happens.
The opening bowlers curtailed Harry Baker's usual fluency restricting him to a stodgy 8 from 27 due to their relentless line and length. HB chopping on from Chandra, the Young Blues were 27-2 after 8 overs.
Skipper Jenks & debutant Will Evans-Wright struck up a good partnership to keep the scoreboard (there wasn't one) ticking over. Accessing some key scoring areas, they both targeted supposedly injured fielder Alex Pike (damaged rotator cuff) only to learn as they sprinted back for 2 that Pikey still had a bullet arm & wasn't to be trifled with. Will on debut looked calm and defended the stumps well, finding the gaps in the field with some well timed sweeps and scoops.
Taking advantage of the first change bowling Jenks senior struck 3 quick 4s and some well run 2s with Shene football colleague Will to take the score to 55-3 after 14 overs.
Then the game changed. Enter Tom Ellen stage left. A fearsome, tall, left arm quick with superb pace and bounce - the Mitchell Starc of the south west. He had the ball on a string and Bluesman hopping around the crease. 2 balls at Jenks was all it took for him to snick off to keeper. Ronnie's finger stayed down, but the skipper tucked his bat under his arm and walked off. Great ball.
Will looked good until he had to face some wily spin from Zubair. Will played all round a straight one, smacked on the back pad and was out, given LBW. Plumb.
Tom Yeldon, on debut, had the farcical pleasure of being run out by Simon without facing a ball. Thanks for coming.
Then next ball Archie, a golden duck, clean bowled by a fired up Tom Ellen. Great ball.
Christo, off the back of a 78 in Saturday league cricket, was thrust into the middle on debut after seeing 2 wickets in 2 balls. Survive he did, momentarily, before popping a full toss to mid off and he too had to depart (Ellen again). Sunday cricket is a real leveller.
From a comfortable 53-2 The Young Blues descended to 79-7 in 6 overs. A Very on brand middle order collapse.
Steve, wanting to win quickly, stamped the foot on the jugular and despite none of the blues being able to score a run off Tom Ellen - kept Ellen bowling. 4 overs went by from Tom Ellen where the only runs were off the pads. Blues in the doldrums stuck in the 70s for about 7 overs.
Enter Jack close, master of a run chase - like Ben Stokes he only scores runs when they matter. Closey performed admirably to get the score to a respectable total and then some. At half time drinks it looked like 140/150 was a good score & at 79-7 that looked a long way off.
More frenzied running by Simon, who steadied the ship, stopping the cascade of wickets falling and rotated the strike with lots of 1s - most with no call as he scurried between the wickets. Finally a taste of his own medicine when Alex Pike from cow corner scored a direct hit - winning Tesco's finest Prosecco moment of the match - to send Simon back on his way to join a smouldering Tom Yeldon on the sidelines.
Great hitting from Closey and Rob to take the score to 123-8 from 32 overs. The 'Older Blues' needed a wicket and turned to strike bowler Eddy J, thrust into the death, he soon got his man with an inswinging yorker to send Closey on his way after a superb 21 run rescue job. Luckily the 'Younger Blues' only had 10 men so Tom Yeldon, who had not faced a ball yet, was able to go back out as number 11. With no Simon to run him out he soon found his rhythm and hit a huge 6 on way to a punchy 17*. Great work from Rob Hadden in the middle accumulating runs, testing the fielders by constantly scanning for 2s after any hesitation in the field & putting in a decent 18* to ensure the Blues tail firmly wagged.
152 after 35 overs, very respectable on a soggy pudding of a wicket. Something to defend.
Special mention to debutant Ioan (pronounced Ewan, like McGregor, aka Obi Wan Kenobi) who, off the back of his triumphant 7s tournament on saturday, dived around the field heroically, turning many a 4 into a 2 with his bustling work in the deep. We also witnessed the rarely seen feat of Youcef keeping wicket for the majority of the game, giving the gloves to Steve for a few overs while he bowled some left arm wobblers (2 overs: 11 runs, 0 wickets) - then taking the gloves back to finish out the game.
What then followed was a superb tea, star of the show, Steve's wife's home made brownies which went down an absolute storm, closely followed by Metson senior's home made flat jacks. After the box of sweets had to be forcibly wrestled away from Harry Baker the boys took back to the field ready to begin again.
As is often the way with the Blues, the deck was an absolute minefield and impossible to score runs on... unless your name was Alex Pike...
A stellar 54* from Pike, one for the back catalogue, to set up the run chase - 3 6s & 4 4s. It must be noted that Closey bowled superbly early doors, with a heavy off side umbrella field that almost worked. Teasing Pikey with a full straight one, Alex pumped a difficult chance to Simon at mid off. It was in, then it was out. Pikey was dropped again, another tough chance, identity forgotten amidst the day's play.
Good tight bowling all round, especially from Bakes who is in real danger of bowling himself down the order - 1-16 from 6 overs. That middle spell slowed the scoring down considerably and the Younger Blues were on top in the run chase. Good work from Archie Tawney behind the stumps to hold onto Baker's caught behind & the Younger Blues were jubilant as the runs slowed.
A bag of tricks bowling from Leworthy. Slower balls, leggies, off cutters, you name it. Rewarded with a beautiful pacey off spinner to dismiss Alistair, who had started aggressively & looked to play with real intent.
Miserly bowling from Jenks senior bowling a 4th, 5th stump line strangling the run rate and getting the keeper and slips excited. 3 play and misses from Cef who hit the ground with the bat each time he played and missed, getting the cordon baying for blood. DRS was in play as there was a noise each time the ball whistled past the outside of the bat (from Cef hitting the ground - with someone else's bat, of course) but Paul stood firm and kept the finger down. Skipper Metson steadied the ship and played a beautiful on-drive for 4, who despite the emerging salt and pepper beard looked lithe and athletic sauntering between the wickets.
A Super spell from Rob causing Youcef all sorts of trouble at the other end. Fidgeting all over the crease Rob had Cef playing and missing and blocking anything straight. Finally he got his man with a sharp take from Bakes at mid on.
On the last ball of the previous over, Rob had clean bowled Steve, so was now on the lesser spotted hatrick ball. Enter Tom Ellen, the best bowler of the day. Could he bat as well as he could bowl?
Tom Yeldon was moved into second slip, fielders crowded the bat as Rob steamed in for his hatrick ball. Javeline action primed, Rob threw down a thunderbolt. Short of a length it spat off the capricious deck to grab the outside edge and fly to second slip's hands. Tom Yeldon, channeling his inner Peter Schmeichel managed to get a flailing limb on it to tip it over the bar. Hatrick denied.
With Cef gone Eddy J strolled to the crease, desperately short of runs, a fact that was relayed to him 3 times as he slowly walked to the crease: Bakes, Simon and Closey chirping excitedly. Ed had planned a leisurely sunday: hit the gym in the morning, meal prep for the week, settle into the Sunday papers and then chill out in front of a mouth-watering wimbledon final. Instead after a few jars too many on Friday night, Bakes managed to convince Ed (+ Ioan) that this Sunday would be different, your form was bound to turn & runs would come aplenty in Bracknell.
With little brother in his cross hairs. Jenks senior kept the ball in hand and the watching blues settled into a bit of brother on brother action: Cain and Abel eat your heart out.
After carefully navigating the first over for 2 runs Eddy J looked to hit the accelerator as the run chase heated up. Forcing it, he chipped one high and unhandsome to Alistair (sub fielder) waiting at mid on. In the air for an age it cannoned off of Ali's paws and into the dust. A life.
Taking the bowlers out of the equation, Jenks senior sent the next one full and straight - Ed duly missed, stumps everywhere and the young blues jubilant. Sadly as we celebrated Simon pointed out that's probably the last we've seen of Ed this season now. A fact confirmed by Eddy J over a pint later on. Although with the grudge match vs Czapalski cc next Sunday there is hope that Ed could be talked out of an early retirement (Moen Ali style) to get one over on JC...
93-3 after 25 overs.
With lots of runs to chase the game looked over until an over from Will E-W tactically reintroduced jeopardy back into the chase. Fielders nervous, Tom Ellen swinging freely and the chase looked on.
Great hitting from Tom Ellen to take it close with a mammoth 6 to up the ante. 12 off the penultimate over (Christo) meant Leworthy was left to bowl the last over. With scoring admin disintegrating in the excitement the jury is still out on how many more runs were needed, but it was believed to be quite a lot - roughly 18. Another huge 6 from Ellen got it close, until Leworthy tidied things up, only conceding 9 from the over in total and The Younger Blues had triumphed.
Special mention to Christo for 1 run, 0 wickets and 0 catches. Simon, worried he would ruin the charity game by smuggling in an absolute gun, was a relieved man. Off the back of his 22, Si smugly informed Christo that Sunday cricket is a different ball game: uncovered pitches, dibbly dobblers, gremlins everywhere. Christo - when facing 80mph Surrey under 21 stars gets too much we'll have you back any time!
"Some shocking scorebook work" a quote from one time Master of stats Alex Pike, after a quick review of the red book showed the Metson 11 actually ended up 22 short. Very on brand.
A quality day out for all. Loads of debutants & great to see some old faces rolling back the years. We hope to see you all again turning out for the Blues juggernaut.
Alex Pike 54*
H Jenks 27
T. Ellen 26*
J. Close 21
T. Ellen 7 overs 3-14
Chandra: 6 overs 1-14
J Close 7 overs 2-28
Rob Hadden 6 overs 2-23
H Jenkins 5 overs 1-8
[updated 08 08 2023]