Stoke Gabriel II 187 for 8, Dartington & Totnes II 188 for 3, D&T won by 7 wickets.
Combi narrowly missed out on a maiden century, scoring 97, as we came out comfortable winners with 10 overs to spare, in a match played in an excellent spirit at Stoke on Saturday.
Although D&T asked Stoke to bat on a green looking wicket, Stoke’s opening batsmen Jeff Baker and Doug Ansley were fast out of the blocks, enjoying the pace on the ball from D&T’s opening pair Fin and Combi, had no luck. Ansley, a skilful, experienced cricketer, was in particularly commanding form, though an edge off Combi narrowly evaded slip. The pair saw off the opening bowlers and D&T introduced Glenn and Mick into the attack. Mick (4 for 18) hit a purple patch. His third delivery, inducing an edge from Baker (18) to keeper Neil. 57 for 1. In his second over he bowled Noye for a duck and in his fourth over went one better, claiming the prize wicket of Ansley for 48 and then Courtise for 0, both well caught by Gavin at short mid-on. After 4 overs his figures were 4 for 6 but must have become too excited as he failed to strike in his last 5 overs, when Stoke bludgeoned 12 runs off him, including 3 wides!.
Fin returned to have Asher caught by Glenn for 12 and Stoke’s top 5 were back in the pavilion with just 109 on the board and they must have feared the worst. However, we were frustrated by Toby Connabeer, who defended stoutly whilst punishing any loose delivery. At one point Neil , or was it Gavin, appeared to be advising him on his technique , demonstrating a shot with Toby’s bat. The coaching clearly helped because we were unable to get him out. He found a willing partner in Kai Horsbrugh and they added 42 for the sixth wicket before Horsbrugh (15) became Gavin’s third catch of the afternoon, off Dave Wilson . Combi (1 for 29) returned to bowl Morris and Fin (2 for 41) caught and bowled Rooney but, thanks to a generous helping of extras, Stoke reached a decent total.
Their total looked even more decent when we were reduced to 6 for 2 without a run coming from the bat. Fin, who had to leave early, was showing a sound technique but was bowled after failing to pick the line of a delivery from Ansley. Gavin then missed a delivery from Horbrugh, playing a big shot. Combi and Neil stopped the rot and changed the course of the game by adding 167 for the third wicket, scoring at good rate against, it must be said, some fairly ordinary bowling. Numerous deliveries went over head height and Combi attempted tennis shots several times.
Both sides had 10 men but when the Stoke skipper’s daughter turned up at tea Neil had sportingly invited her to field. It transpired she was a British Olympic gold medal hockey player who had also been in the England women’s cricket squad. Luckily she didn’t bowl!
Stoke’s bowlers toiled commendably but to no avail. Combi and Neil tucked into the bowling, with Combi scoring runs all around the wicket and Neil more circumspect. Combi helped himself to ten fours and a six and, as he neared his century, Neil sportingly gave him the lion’s share of the strike. The question seemed to be: would Combi have time to get his century before the winning runs were scored, particularly as the extras were totting up? However, the question was to prove redundant as Combi missed a ball and was hit on the pad, sweeping a delivery from Rooney. “How’s that?”, the bowler asked. Umpire Darren thought long and hard and then slowly raised his finger, breaking Combi’s heart in the process.
Glenn came in and biffed ten runs in quick time leaving Neil undefeated on 43, giving Neil 107 runs for once out in his last 2 innings- not a bad return. What would happen if he practiced?