Sunday XI versus The Jesters - 1st September 2013
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
M & B were soundly beaten by 9 wickets by a strong well drilled Jesters team, fielding a team devoid of colts and OAP's. Skipper Armstrong had no hesitation in choosing to bat when he won the toss as the wicket would keep low and only get worse plus it was a warm sunny day. Old timer, Mace the Ace, was heard to say, "this is the life, two umpires and we're batting first", as he read the Sunday rags on the balcony.
Openers Raoul Cheema and Sachin Moudgil opened up and they found the bowlers very unforgiving as few freebies were delivered. Cheema did tend to deal in boundaries when he did score, normally via pulls and Moudgil seemed to deal exclusively in working the ball to leg for his runs. The first wicket fell at 16 in the 7th over, which would really be a fair reflection of the difficulty in scoring early on, if the ball was in the right place, as quite often the ball tended to keep low. There were no weak links at all in The Jesters bowling, whether it be medium pace or spin. The main partnership of the innings was the second wicket, which yielded 58 in 15 overs between Cheema and the soon to be retiring from the game, Vish Kumar. Cheema eventually departed in the 22nd over for 33 as he tried to pull a ball, which kept low, and was bowled, when the off drive may have been more appropriate, but Cheema can't score big runs all the time, even on Sunday. 22 overs for 33 though was a fair reflection of The Jesters disciplined bowling. Kumar as always played the odd elegant shot before he tamely gave extra cover fielding practice having two balls previously played a characteristic elegant lofted cover drive. With his demise in the 29th over for 36 the total stood at only 105 and skipper Armstrong was feeling that even the four an over 160 was along way off. Luckily for Armstrong Cameron Jacobsen was batting at number 5 and he was to prove the only M & B batsman able to attack the oppositions bowlers. He announced himself by hitting two of his first three balls for four, one over cow and the other over mid-on. As always mid-on / cow was to prove very productive for Jacobsen, that said he did go inside out to hit the offspin of Mumby for 6 over extra cover and repeated the shot two balls later, this time for 4. In the end M & B posted 164 courtesy of an unbroken 6th wicket partnership of 52 in 8 overs between Jacobsen and the unlikely ally of Jamie Kiddell, who added the slip region to his regular scoring region of extra cover. In the end Jacobsen finished with 45no in 12 overs which propelled M & B to what Armstrong thought was a workable total, his innings included 7 4's and a 6.
Although 164 was an improvement on what the final total it could have been it could have been better if the early batsmen, especially, had looked to rotate the strike more by pinching the odd single. This was borne out after the game when the opposition skipper and opening bat said that the M & B players were just looking for big shots instead of trying to push the good balls for singles now and again.
Skipper Armstrong went for his heavy artillery of Jamie Odell and tired puppy, Joseph Blackett,(straight from kicking out at Smokies), with the new cherry. Alas for him the opposition got off to a flyer as they raced to 29 in only three overs, albeit via extras and a difficult dropped slip catch off Odell, which went for 4. Even off a few paces Odell generated considerable pace and bounce even off the docile Bray deck. As it transpired possibly slower medium paced bowlers may have been the order of the day as the extra pace generated extra bounce and very few balls kept low, as they did in the M & B innings. That said Blackett did beat the bat on a numbers of occasions and had a reasonable slip catch grassed at 2nd slip. Armstrong bowled Odell through his 7 over allocation, as the ECB deem him not strong enough to manage 8, as it may harm his development ! Armstrong also kept Blackett going, which in the end backfired, as he strived for the faster deliveries his tiredness meant he developed the beamer syndrome and after the third one he was ordered off by the umpires(proper ones, Pete Meade, being the standing umpire), although Blackett requested to leave the field so he could go to bed, he was condemned to another 14 overs hard labour in the field ! To be fair to Pete it was the correct decision as it was his third one, even though he had not officially been warned before. Blackett's dismissal meant Armstrong appeared earlier than planned, well one over earlier! Initially his slower pace caused a few problems as the ball skidded on resulting in a number of LBW appeals. Senior spinners Chris Butler and David(Mace the Ace) Mason were wheeled out at the Road End with Butler extracting the most spin and Mason the most flight, but to no avail. In the end though The Jesters cruised home by 9 wickets in the 29th over with the only wicker courtesy of a run out by M & B's man of the match Jacobsen. M & B should have caught a few catches which would have got 3 or 4 Jesters wickets down but they were well beaten either way.
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