Sunday XI versus Twigworth Travellers - 28th July 2013

Sunday XI versus Twigworth Travellers - 28th July 2013

Sunday XI versus Twigworth Travellers - 28th July 2013
28 Jul
Sunday XI versus Twigworth Travellers - 28th July 2013
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2013

For the second Sunday running it was the Raoul Cheema show, as he followed 169no with another marvellous innings of 131, albeit in a losing cause this week. Skipper Armstrong won the toss against Twigworth Travellers and had no hesitation in batting, hoping that Cheema would lay the foundation for another big score. The openers Cheema and Will Cunliffe didn't disappoint as they posted 46 for the first wicket in 10 overs. Cheema was quickly into his stride dispatching a number of short wide balls with disdain to the short Church boundary with effortless cut shots. There are a lot more loose balls on Sundays than in the league, but they need to be put away and Cheema did that unerringly with pulls and drives mainly, usually along the deck but lofted if required. When required though Cheema was happy to deploy his immaculate forward defensive when required and rotate the strike, especially off the last ball of the over ! To be fair though to Cheema you can only score runs whilst at the wicket and Cheema has a great appetite for crease occupation and putting a price on his wicket.

As is always the case on Sundays there are one or two quality bowlers lurking around and Travellers had one in skipper, Will Hodgson, a top Surrey Championship and MCC player. He removed Atif Amin and the usually dangerous Cameron Jacobsen in his first 3 over spell, to leave the game evenly poised at 91 for 3 after 20 overs. As skipper Armstrong took out the drinks he was able to pass on his instructions to Cheema, "bat through!". The loss of the third wicket bought Tom Noakes to the crease and he was to form the main partnership of the innings with Cheema of 124 in 20 overs. Noakes was fluent off his legs and occasionally unfurled the odd cover drive and sweep. As Cheema's score suggests though the innings was all about him as he continued to plunder runs at will in between navigating the dangerous deliveries of Hodgson. In the end Cheema's defences were finally breached by a yorker from Hodgson on the fourth ball of the final over. In the end Noakes ended up unbeaten on 31.

To be honest if your opener basically bats through 40 overs scoring 131, a final total of 211 is below par, especially when the total consisted of 31 extras, meaning the other batsmen only contributed 49! In the end Cheema scored 72.78% of the actual runs scored off the bat, as he hit 19 4's and a six, to make a Bradmanesque 300 runs for once out in the last two Sunday games, scoring the winning runs off the first ball of the 40th over in the previous game and being dismissed in the 40th over in this game, that's application!

That said the game was very much on as 211 is a below par score on the Bray wicket. The game though did mark the return to the Sunday team of the Bucks over 60's star Chris Lowe, who showed what the team had been missing this season, with a superb piece of new cherry away swing bowling from the Road End. Bowling a great line and length aided by the swing Lowe completely bamboozled the Traveller's batsmen to post great figures of 8/2/18/2. His first wicket coming off the worst ball he bowled a low full toss which came off the batsman's top edge and flew to fine leg where Joe Blackett, who was surprisingly awake,nonchalantly pouched the catch. Lowe put the icing on the cake by dismissing the seemingly dangerous House in his final over. To be fair though Lowe was aided by pressure from the other end as Blackett bowled a good spell of medium fast bowling, on a surprisingly good length, cumulating in the dismissal of the Traveller's opener with a yorker.

The game also saw the return of the self styled "doctor of swing" Andy"stump cam " Aranaz, who kindly donated the stumps from the LV Challenge between England v Essex, for the game. Although he has hardly bowled for the best part of a decade, due to his work commitments, Aranaz showed class is permanent as he soon got his prodigious away swing going, although the in swing was hardly seen. As was always the case early on Aranaz sent down a few full tosses before he got his radar dialled in, indeed it was off one of these that he got a wicket as the batsmen drilled the ball to Cheema at cover who could only manage to get one hand out of his pockets to be able to take the catch! His other wicket was more conventional, swinging away to hit the top of off.

At 103 for 6 a few of the M & B side thought the game was over but how wrong they were as danger man Hodgson walked to the crease. He was circumspect early on nudging and nurdling the singles before he became more expansive. That said games hinge on crucial moments and Hodgson gave two chances which were not taken, one difficult and one not so, which ultimately cost M &B the game as Hodgson and Filbey saw Twigworth through to victory with 2 overs to spare. Hodgson was strong in the V through the offside and lofted the ball to leg through the midwicket region well. He targeted the spinners in the latter overs and paced the innings expertly to finish on 90no. The moral of the story, it's never over till the fat lady sings(or the star player is out)!

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