With our illustrious leader away in Barcelona and an eleventh hour drop out leaving us down to ten men, it’s fair to say that confidence was not at an all-time high for the 2’s this week as we pulled into the quaint village of Beckinton, somewhere near Bath.
The Rangers mood was further buoyed by the news that Russ Buck had forgotten his whites and Skipper’ for the day, Jon ‘Long’ Street had lost the toss and Burbage were asked to Bowl on a lively looking Astro wicket with a ‘fresh’ April breeze keeping us company in the field.
Stylo & strike partner Matty ‘Ngolo’ Milne quickly picked up where they left off last week, causing all sorts of bother for the Beckington opening batsman, both bowling great areas at decent pace. As the pressure on the opening pair built, a quick single off of Stylo was pushed through, however the pair hadn’t catered for the athleticism of Sunday’s cordon; Ranger for the day, Chris ‘Wako’ Wakeman flung all of himself to his right, palming a racing ball round to Strongy at gully who, after a few weeks of cultured coaching under Stoddy, threw down the buttery biscuit base – 1-1 off of 2.
The wicket brought forth a manic period of play where 5 wickets fell for the loss of just 16 runs and the rangers could almost smell an early tea and late finish in the pub.. But it was not to be; a strong middle order revival consisting of some lusty blows and some ‘preseason bowling’ pushed the score near to 200. With both batsman set and a big score on the cards, the introduction of Wako bowling left arm over (with snap back still adorned) stemmed the flow of runs with a fantastic albeit surprising caught and bowled to remove the danger man for a battling 70.
Last year’s skipper, Bobby Cady who had earlier announced his return to the team attempting a sliding catch in the covers with nothing more than his box, took the final wicket of the innings; rolling back the years to clean bowl their no.11 leaving Burbage to chase down 203 with 10 men in 40 overs.
Wickets were shared around the bowlers, Stylo ending up with 4-43, Bobby 1-17, Matty & Strongy both landing 1-18 and Wakeman chipping in with 2-40.
With a decent lunch under the belt and a few rounds of tea to defrost the hands, our opening pair of Leggy & Russ Buck sauntered out to the middle to get the chase underway. Leggy took an uncharacteristically cautious approach, seeing out a maiden before dunking the ball over the mid-wicket boundary for a return to normal service whereas at the other end, Russ adopted more of a cavalier attitude, driving the opening bowler for successive fours through the covers during his opening over. The pair looked well set until with the score just past 50, Russ attempted one too many shots and was caught for a positive 22.
Leggy was joined out in the middle by Louie La Touche who continued on from last week, batting positively before becoming the opening bowler’s second wicket as he drove the ball, straight at the cover fielder who did well to cling on, sending LT back for 5.
Graham (Senior) Milne arrived at the crease and was happy to settle into his new surroundings, eyeing up what the home bowlers had to offer. Leggy on the other hand didn’t read the memo and proceeded to run himself out in calamitous fashion chasing a quick single for 40.
Burbage had been rattled from 50 without loss for now 64-3 and it wasn’t long before Matty heaped more sorrow on the situation, firing out his father LBW without troubling the scorers. It’s probably important for me to note that the words our U15 coach uttered on his trudge from the field cannot and shall not be repeated but from what we understand, young Matty is still awaiting his pocket money.
With Graham back in the hut, much hope was heaped on Strongy who strutted out to the crease with real purpose. Unfortunately for the Rangers, he couldn’t continue his recent good nick with the bat as he was caught at square leg attempting to lose the ball over the pavilion for 9.
Former skipper Bobby Cady joined part time skipper Streety in the middle and the pair set about chasing down the target with much gusto; Bobby bringing out his trademark later than late cut to the joy of the Burbabge faithful whereas our skipper for the day batted serenely, driving, flicking and even pulling a ball over the rope for what is rumoured to be his first ever six?! The pair looked in control as Streety cruised past his 50 without offering a sniff until Bob was bowled trying to up the tempo for a well-made 31.
With Bobby now on his way, Stylo picked up where he left off and set about knocking off the runs in true Stylo fashion. For those who are not fortunate to have seen our Roger bat, I can affirm to the reader two things: Stylo will try to hit the ball hard and he’ll try to hit the ball far…and on this occasion he did both as he amassed 21* in no time at all and served as the perfect foil to Streety who hit the winning runs with a sweetly timed 4 behind point to end on 61* and cap a real captains innings off in style.
In all, a good day for the Burbage Rangers with a second win under the belt, wickets and runs spread across the team and a good few beers in the local pub – here’s to next week as we take on local rivals Bedwyn in the derby on Sunday.