Burbage recovered from a sticky situation to win a close match at Cheltenham.
On a damp morning Burbage & Easton Royal 1st team arrived early at the impressive spa ground to take on the 2nd placed team who had lost twice in as many weeks. Confidence was high & Copey had no hesitation in batting first after winning the toss. After an enthusiastic warm up a steady start was taking shape when Dunc Lorraine was plumb in front 33-1. The early work was then ruined when both Copey & Smash got out without any further score. Decent bowling in good areas accounted for 4 more batsmen with only 88 on the board although Dan Wootton suffered from “wooden leg syndrome” the others were pretty ordinary dismissals. Time for the author to walk around the boundary to cool off! Whilst doing so I had the pleasure of some local wisdom “this game will be all over by tea” & “who are this lot? East Burbage or summit? Never heard of em!” Well after politely informing them of their mistake & saying the only thing I could think of as a retort “you never know what may happen in cricket” (wise eh?) I turned & carried on walking around the ground just to see Adam, who had joined the rock that was Deepak, get dropped at slip! “You lot can’t bat to save your lives” came the now distant voice. By the time I had got halfway round both Adam & DJ had pretty regulation catches dropped. Would they be costly? The next 15 overs were chanceless with the two batsmen hitting hard & running well. By the time Adam was out to an outstanding catch for 40 including 2 massive 6’s we were on 185 & right back in the match as 200 was felt to be about par score. Deepak went 10 runs later for a superb 75 (10x 4’s) in incredibly tough conditions. Tom was joined by James to see out the last 5 overs & maybe get us past the 200. Tom wasn’t prepared to settle for 200 & smashed the bowling to all parts to finish with an unbeaten 27 to take us up to 233-9. Game on!
After a decent tea the sight of Tom bowling to no one & having to go get the ball back showed we were raring to get stuck in! Cheltenham’s two best bats opened & calmly got to 70 off 20 overs without any scares at all. Adam tried the old spinners long hop trick which the classy Smith smashed to the boundary, unfortunately for him straight into brother James’ hands! 5 runs later & down to an inspired decision by keeper Dunc to stand up to Tom Wallbridge, the other opener nicked off 75-2 at drinks. No.3 bat was brilliantly caught close in by DJ to give Adam his second wicket straight after the restart & Burbage were really turning the screw with good bowling & tight fielding. A 74 run partnership was ended when Adam took a steepler to remove the dangerous Schofield. Two more wickets fell to leave Cheltenham on 177-6 with 11 overs left so 56 needed. No.4 bat Woodland was still there & with Simmons gave the home side a sniff of a win by taking the score up to 200 with 3 overs left. If they were to win someone had to go big. Simmons did just that taking 17 from Ollie’s 9th over, surely we couldn’t blow it could we? The locals definitely thought so!17 needed from the last 2 overs. Cometh the hour, cometh the man & on this occasion it was Tom Wallbridge. A fantastic display of death bowling with only 2 runs scored & the big hitting Simmons snared by the skipper meant they needed 15 to win. Ollie raced in with everyone sure a bouncer was coming but no, a slower ball did for the batsmen Woodland, out for a patient 65. Same again the next ball & the game was almost won. The hat trick ball was kept out for a single & when ball 5 was missed it was game over, Burbage won by 10 runs.
A brilliant fightback from Burbage which brought complimentary words from the opposition. All that was left was for me to walk round the boundary to wish my friends well for the rest of the season, oh where did they go? Nowhere to be seen! Burbage & Easton Royal, I think you know who we are now!
We take on Rockhampton at the Red Lion Field this Saturday 12.30 start. With only 20 points separating the top 4 teams it’s building up into a very exciting league.
Hopefully see you there.