So it was our return match against the unbeaten Valley End cricket machine, and I must say straight from the beginning nothing went according to plan.
Our thought was to bat hard and long and set Valley End a target they would have to chase, with our spin attack and Digby hitting some good form we thought as long as we get 220 plus we should be in a prime posistion to at least take a point from Valley End. So with that in mind I won the toss and decided to bat, step 1, check. Step 2 did not account for us to be 20 odd for 4! We then went into match saving mode, with James, Qais, Giles and myself diggin deep to try and post some sort of respective score. We managed to edge our way to 161 off 55 overs. Sometimes though we need to give credit where credit is due, they are by far the best fielding side we have played against and purely on that fact deserve their unbeaten record. Where we could normally bank on 2's there were only 1's, and when we thought there were 1's we were scrambling back just to make sure we were safe.
An early tea after seeing them bowl their overs quickly saw us back on the field and trying to somehow snatch momentum. It was not to be, and nasty incident happenned when Damo struck their batsmen on his back leg and was given out LBW only to have the non-striker abuse the umpire about it not pitching in line, never mind the fact that has nothing to do with it when you are back on your stumps. This was particularly amusing after the abuse our umpire recived on the Valley End website about the rules, when it was quiite clear you you need to practice what you preach. Suffice to say our umpire changed his mind! And with jaws on the ground we tried to carry on.
The rain went from a slight drizzle to a hard rain, and this is where my dissapointment in Valley End really took light. With massive amounts of time left in the day, their umpire refused to go off as Valley End have obviously taken a stance to win at all costs. With the non-striking batters standing with bats under their shirts to try and protect them I bowled a ball backwards not being able to hold on to it, and Ian who we all know to be deadly accurate served up multiple full tosses. Even with my appealing to at least let the rain settle we just continued with towles being used every ball, even when it did not even reach the outfield. I asked their Captian where the fair contest was, and was just greated with a grunt.
Suffice to say the runs were knocked off, a valliant effort by our guys in difficult circumstances and we wish the Valley End juggernaut continued success as they climb the league ladders, they are though the best team I have played against in the UK, I just hope somewhere they remember what cricket and especially club cricket is all about.
We have since beaten Old Hamps away, and hopefully James can give us that report and as of the end of July are in 4th place looking to try and secure that open 2nd spot in the league!
A thank you to all who came to watch and hopefully with just a handfull of home games left we can try coax more W&H supporters to Brewery Road.