Buccs snatch victory from the jaws of victory

This was our second game against Frensham, again under a sunny blue sky.  Having beaten them by six wickets last year and being assured by their captain that they had only three batsmen this year, we (or at least the captain) felt reasonably confident of victory.  As last year this was to be a declaration match.  In the circumstances we forwent a toss and agreed that the Buccaneers should bat first.

All went to plan as Angus Berry and Jamie Marsh put on 77 impressive runs for the first wicket, Jamie making 27 (including 5 fours) and Angus 58.  In came Rob Rydon at no. 3 (having nobly volunteered at the last minute to make a detour on his way home from Dorset) to join Angus and with restrained brutality (4 fours and 4 sixes) continued our putatively triumphant progress to make 57.  Archie Marsh added 15.  A friend of his, Jason Fisher, who was included in the side as a bowler, was joined by David Close and they maintained the momentum, Jason scoring 50 not out and David 17 not out until the captain full of over-weening confidence decided to declare after 44 overs in two and a quarter hours at 242 for 4.

As last year, a splendid tea was taken.  (If you can’t play cricket, at least eat at Frensham.)   The Buccs then took the field.  Rob (the pick of the bowlers) and Jason opened the bowling and, after many years’ absence from his rightful position, David Close kept wicket.  Many thanks go to him for doing so.  Without him the Buccs would have had no-one to keep and so no game to play.

Our initial good humour soured as we began to leak runs.   The ground has short straight boundaries and Frensham’s opener, Tindall, has clearly realised a batsman needs to play any ball with only one type of shot, namely, a slap to long on.  Out of his first 41 runs, ten were fours (although a forensic examination of the scorebook suggests that the scorer may have mistaken the figure 1 for the figure 4 at least once).  In short, if Frensham had only three batsmen, each of them did more than his duty.  They seemed to have no trouble keeping up with the required run-rate.  Steve Brandes cunningly had Tindall caught behind but the middle order proved difficult to remove and at 143 for 4 after the 22nd over a shadow of doubt was cast over the fielding side.   Archie Marsh had bamboozled a batsman into a caught and bowled but Champneys the eventual top scorer with 84 was still there.  Angus then took a couple and the Hack, the evergreen lithe athlete that he is, also took two.  Nevertheless at 217 for seven with overs to spare, the shadow of doubt was darkening into gloom.   Philip Harris-Jones, a debutant, had a go but it took Rob to spare us.  He trapped Champneys and, despite some admirable resistance from two talented youngsters (one a girl – Founder’s shade stop spinning, please), we managed to squeeze a victory by eight runs.

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