Sunday XI v David Smarts XI 4th August 2019
M & B were easily beaten on Sunday by David Smart's X1 by 4 wickets with 7 overs to spare, exacting revenge for the previous year's heavy defeat. Skipper James Bowler got the outcome he wanted at the toss that saw M & B bat first. Messrs Cunliffe jnr and George Parsons opened up against a tight seam attack of Hughes and opposing captain Tim Smart. The bowlers did well to keep the boundaries to a minimum in the first six overs before the batsmen found their fluency with four coming in the next two overs. Will Cunliffe was the first to go in the 9th over with the score on 37. New batman Will Western Kaye was quickly into his stride with a delightful cover drive from the fourth ball he faced. WWK continued to play a number of thoroughbred shots as in partnership with Parsons they looked to increase the M & B run rate. The Smarties quickly reverted to spin in the quicker variety of off spin from Morris and the more classical variety from Murphy. Parsons greeted Morris in his second over with a towering six over long on as he moved through the gears, as he has during the games he has played on Sundays, unfurling a number of fine drives. Morris though gained the second breakthrough in his fourth over as just a slight bit of turn gained the edge of WWK's bat, which was snaffled by the keeper to leave WWK walking off for a cameo 29, which included five boundaries, with the score on 83 Parsons reached his 50 in the 20th over and then proceeded to hit Murphy through mid off for a boundary, with the bowler having just moved the field. After taking six off the first three balls Parsons then had a brain fade and advanced down the wicket appearing to attempt a lofted cover drive only to completely miss the ball and have his stumps rearranged. A disappointing way to end a fine innings of 57, which included 10 4's and a 6. Kieran Grey made his intentions known despatching his second delivery to the mid on boundary. M & B suffered a major blow as Grey's innings was ended prematurely on 9 with what looked a dodgy caught behind decision, based upon the batsman's reactions. New batsman Ben Howard joined Paddy Searing with M & B 118 for 4 in the 24th over. Searing unleashed a number of trademark drives as Howard struggled to rotate the strike. Searing was eventually dismissed for 32 in the 33rd over with M & B on 154. Skipper Bowler, probably batting too low at 7, looked to increase the run rate immediately as he smashed his fourth ball for a huge six over long on hitting the back end of the side roof of the pink house. Bowler continued to operate in fifth gear as Howard eventually began to find his touch. Bowler played another outrageous shot smashing a short of a length ball over the short cover boundary into the neighbouring garden for six. Howard also playing a couple of well timed drives through the covers. A frenetic last over saw four wickets fall, including that of Bowler for a captain's innings of 38 in 7 overs, containing 3 4's and 2 huge 6's. In the end M & B's score of 214 for 9 was probably 10 - 15 short of the par score.
Although a total to bowl at skipper Bowler realised he was light on runs and consequently needed his bowlers to make early inroads before the Smart batsmen settled. That said the opening over was entrusted to Joe Blackett, making his first appearance of the season, after a three month break in Australia. Having only had the one net session Blackett was quickly into his work and a good line and length delivery second ball had opener Price poking the ball to gully where Parsons pouched the sharp chance nonchalantly. Fellow opening bowler Benny Howard also bowled a decent over angling the ball across opener Slinger, who looked to thrash the ball through the covers but missed regularly. Blackett followed his opening wicket maiden with another maiden, meaning the only runs in the first three overs were the result of four byes. Slinger managed to connect with Howard's second ball which raced to the boundary but Howard got his revenge next ball as Slinger nicked behind going for a expansive drive, where the venerable James Cunliffe managed to hold onto the catch at first slip. Things got better for M & B in the next over as Blackett had the no. 3 caught behind by Grey to leave Smarts X1 on the ropes at 9 for 3 after 4.3 overs. New bat Redknap announcer himself with boundaries off his second and third deliveries. Smith also took the attack to the bowlers in the next over driving Howard through the covers then smashing huge six over mid off. Blackett continued his impressive spell from the Road End. The batsmen continued to attack Howard who was replaced by Matt Armstrong after a four over spell. Armstrong ruined his first two overs with a couple of loose leg side deliveries, which were despatched to the boundary. Blackett's excellent opening spell of 6/2/18/2 came to a premature end due to an arm injury, probably due to his lack of bowling. He was replaced by spinner Swaps Manchanda, who started with his customary full pea, which was hit to the square leg boundary as his opening over went for 13. Manchanda got his revenge on Smith in his next over as he looked to flick a ball to leg which looped up to Armstrong behind the wicket, who had to make ground, and unluckily for the batman managed to catch the ball. Armstrong felt his calf go in his second over but managed to struggle on for three more overs, the last of which brought a chance at point off Redknap, which was unfortunately put down, and was to prove costly. Redknap took a liking to Manchanda and showed his leg side prowess, including a big six into the Anstis' garden. All along Murphy had supported Redknap as the partnership went past 50 and quickly gathered momentum. George Parsons bowled a couple of tidy overs but even they went for a couple of boundaries as the bat continued to dominate the ball. James Cunliffe 's spin was tried from the Road End but the lack of practice showed as he continually bowled short or on the leg side and was pulled / swept to the square leg boundary by Murphy with regularity. Skipper Bowler tried his luck from the Road End but was unable to stem the boundaries. Murphy's boundary count increased until he caught up with Redknap as the stand reached the century. After being goaded by Bowler Redknap again found the boundaries and started to outscore Murphy again. With a red inker looming Redknap smashed Will Western-Kaye's fifth ball to Bowler at extra cover, who gleefully held onto the chance, to leave Redknap walking back to the clubhouse for a excellent 93, ending a partnership of 132, which had taken Smart's X1 to the brink of victory. Paddy Searing was given what was assumed to be the last over, although he did manage to burgle a wicket with his second ball, courtesy of a stumping by Grey. It was left to new batsman Morris to close proceeding in the 33rd over leaving Murphy undefeated on 74 and Smart's X1 the convincing victors by 4 wickets with a whole seven overs left.