Sunday XI v Twigworth Travellers 28th July 2019
Travellers of the Twigworth variety pitched up at Bray on Sunday and came away with the spoils, after a last ball thriller. 486 runs were scored in the full 40 overs at a sunny Bray witnessed by a large crowd, courtesy of a private function and the normal Bray crew, enticed by the best beer garden in Bray.
Upon winning the toss skipper Armstrong had no hesitation in batting although he wandered what sort of total M & B may post as openers Paddy Searing and Ben Ward jnr struggled early on against a disciplined line and length attack, apart from a loose full toss, which was pounced upon by Searing in the second over. Four maidens were bowled between overs 4 to 7, leaving M & B on 8 after 7 overs. Searing tried to raise the tempo in the 8th over but only succeeded in plonking a pull into midwicket's hands. His dismissal brought Henley's own Cameron Jacobsen to the crease, making a rare Sunday appearance at his former club. He must have wondered what all the fuss was about as his first ball faced was the worst ball by Maddy in his opening five over burst, a chest high full toss, which was despatched to the score box wall, only the second scoring stroke against Maddy. Jacobsen was quick to drive the ball and took a liking to the seam of Filbey, as he stroked a boundary through mid off in his first over. He cashed in in Filbey's 3rd and 4th over scoring the majority of the 31 runs scored in those two overs, including a couple of 6's, one over widish mid-on, landing in the bush and the other flicked over midwicket to the short clubhouse boundary, where Kieran Grey was luckily on hand to catch the ball to prevent any of the throng being injured. Bray reached drinks after 20 overs with 84 on the board, largely courtesy of Jacobsen's bat with Ward boundary less on 17. After drinks both batsmen rotated the strike at will, although without piercing the boundary until Jacobsen played two deft reverse flicks off successive deliveries off off spinner Sharp to the vacant third man boundary. Crease occupation eventually bore fruit for Ward as the struck two successive boundaries off Harris, the second the left hander's exquisitely timed cover drive. The partnership passed the century and swiftly headed towards the 150, with the strike being rotated regularly and a sprinkling of boundaries, mainly from Jacobsen. As Jacobsen reached the 90's his boundary count dried up and he mainly dealt in singles as by now Ward had found his range and he was happy to give the strike to Ward, who was beginning to find the boundary regularly, including two lofted drives over mid on for six into the river net. Jacobsen reached his well deserved century to warm applause from his team mates and the Bray throng. Shortly after Ward was dismissed for 84, well taken with a reflex catch by Jones off his own bowling. Ward's innings spanned 36 overs and contained six boundaries and two 6's to bring an end to the second wicket partnership at 207, a very rare double century Sunday stand. Ed Denman and tin man Amin came and went and it was left to master Vaja to shepherd Jacobsen through the the close albeit he was dismissed off the last ball of the innings, caught on the midwicket boundary for an excellent 114 in 32 overs, which contained a dozen 4's and 2 6's. Skipper Armstrong was pleased with 241 for 5, most definitely something to bowl at, courtesy of Jacobsen's and Ward's 207 run partnership.
With M & B having posted 241 it showed the runs were in the wicket. Openers Kelly and Hughes showed M & B that they intended to make use of it, with Aussie Kelly, in particular, being forceful from the off. Both batsmen were strong on the front foot and looked to drive wherever possible. Krish Vaja joined Gunbarul in opening up for Bray, although beating both batsmen a couple of times for pace he was punished, mainly by Kelly off both front and back foot, as he used the pace on the ball to penetrate the conventional early over fields. Vaja didn't help himself by bowling a number of front foot no balls, which sapped his energy. Despite Gunbarul bowling an early maiden he was unable to make any crucial early inroads as he was also driven regularly through the offside. Vaja himself called time on his spell after three overs and Armstrong brought Chris Butler on as early as the eight over. Kelly quickly latched onto a short delivery and pulled it over mid on for 4. By now Armstrong had posted deep mid on and off to Kelly off Butler. Armstrong pulled the plug on Gunbarul's opening spell one over early as his final delivery was driven to the score box through extra cover. He turned to Sunday debutant, colt Zacharay Thornton, to bowl his spin. Despite a half tracker opening delivery he settled into a generally decent line and length. Butler was unlucky not to dismiss Kelly on a couple of occasions with lofted drives just evading both deep mid on and deep mid off. Thornton earned respect from both overs but they still managed to find the boundary with regularity. Kelly finished one over by lofting the ball over midwicket to the short clubhouse boundary for 6. The Travellers posted the century stand inside 16 overs and reached drinks at 20 overs on 128 without loss.
Soon after drinks Kelly smashed Thornton for a low six hitting the sightscreen at the River End, Kelly came down the wicket next ball but missed and Denman was quick to take the bails off, to give Thornton his first senior wicket on the main square, thoroughly deserved. Kelly departed for a well made 97, just short of a deserved century. M & B had at last opened up an end and as so often happens in a large partnership once one partner departs the other soon follows, and this proved the case as Armstrong dismissed Hughes in his second over, courtesy of a fine catch by Denman, standing up to the wicket. With both openers now gone M & B were able to claw the run rate back. M & B's position was helped when opposing skipper Fleming decided to take a single to the only person on the M & B side you shouldn't do to, Ben Ward jnr, who gathered and coolly under armed and hit one stump to bring about the run out. Thornton finished his spell at the River End with figures of 8/0/50/1, which was very commendable indeed. He was replaced by Jacobsen, a very handy spinner to have bowling at the death. That said he struggled with his line early on, drifting too far down leg. Although the scoreboard was rotating M & B were slowly coming back into the game and M & B garnered two further wickets via Jacobsen to leave then five down. Armstrong picked up a second wicket in his penultimate over with a ball which kept low and castled Irving, who looked to pull to leg. Drummond - Smith hit a crucial boundary off Armstrong's final over, the 38th, which just evaded deep mid-off and damaged Armstrong's figures of 8/0/41/2. Drummond-Smith looked to see Travellers home but picked out Paddy Searing on the deep cow corner boundary, running round to take a fine catch. Left hander Wood struck two crucial 2's off Jacobsen's final two deliveries to leave Travellers requiring four off the last over. Jacobsen's five overs from the River End yielded 5/0/27/3. The equation came down to one off the final two deliveries bowled by Gunbarul, with the scores level on 241. Jones swung and missed on the penultimate delivery but managed to crash the final delivery through the covers for four to bring Twigworth Travellers victory by three wickets. A game M & B had almost clawed back rather than one they had lost. Either way another excellent game of Sunday cricket, which had the crowd on the edge till the bitter end.