Mel’s 137 spearheads epic run chase at Hurst

Buccaneers 294-7 beat Old HurstJohnians 290-5 dec by 3 wickets

Sunshine, a shirtfront of a pitch and winning the toss; no wonder Buccs skipper Rob Rydon got some funny looks from his team after deciding to bowl first at Hurstpierpoint on the last day of the Old Boys cricket week.

Anyway, Rob was happy as he was able to open the bowling with his eldest son, Tom.
After Rob’s first delivery, just short of a length on middle stump, had been summarily despatched to the boundary, the Buccs looked set for a long day chasing leather. However, Tom showed his resolve after another dismissive stroke by eliciting a sharp chance to 1st slip which Mel Ragnauth pouched with nonchalance. Tom wasn’t so fortunate after the next chance fell to earth, the first of several catches of various degrees of difficulty dropped by the five Shirburnians*.

Rotation of the bowlers brought on Tom’s brother, Alex, down the hill for a steady spell
of seamers until the scorers had to change more than just an initial as Simon Leefe became the first non-member of the Rydon family to be introduced with fellow left-arm spinner Ben Graves. This pair bowled exeptionally well in tandem and enabled Buccs to rattle through an impressive 37 overs before lunch when OHJs had reached 140-2.

Ah to lunch; an imposing 3-course affair with port on offer. Predictably the post-lunch session was less dynamic with fielders diving over balls and President Simon Woolfries,
who had partaken of the port, extending the buffet. Leefe, however, remained sharp in the field and his second direct hit on the stumps left the in-form batsman well short.The confident appeal was inexplicably turned down but Hall evidently felt so guilty he immediately spooned a catch to Hack at midwicket. Alex picked up another wicket
before Mike Harrison began regularly clearing the boundary to bring up a quick-fire 50 and prompt a very fair declaration at 3.30 on 290-5.

Buccs openers Sujay Chakravarti and Ben Atwell saw the shine off the new ball with some aplomb before Sujay was caught behind. Crispin Vollers joined his fellow Shirburnian* in building a promising platform of 70-1 with plenty of time left after tea. However, tea proved our downfall with both departing immediately after the interval. (Sir Geoffrey of Boycott came to mind with his Yorkshire mantra of “look at your score and add two wickets”).

Enter Ragnauth and Leefe who immediately began to strike the ball powerfully and scamper quick singles (particularly impressive from Mel who had ankle ligament problems). After Leefe had been caught off a full toss and Alex Rydon adjudged lbw, Ben Graves provided stylish and sensible support for Mel, who was driving the ball all round the ground in a magnificent reprise of his record match-winning stand of 300 at Hurlingham in 2006.

After Graves had become another lbw victim, the Buccs skipper joined Ragnauth in a display of awesome power which levelled the scores with 14 balls remaining.
Sadly, Mel was given out lbw for a thrilling 137 to enable Hack to face two bals before
Rob appropriately struck the winning boundary.

Rob’s brave decision to bowl in such batting-friendly conditions deserved to end a run of 12 consecutive defeats at Hurst with one of the most impressive run chases in Buccs history.
*Shirburnians are current or former pupils of Sherborne School in Dorset.

Old HurstJohnians innings
T Harrison c Ragnauth b T Rydon 10
S Warrender st Chakravarti b Graves 80
Singh b R Rydon 18
Hall c Gwynn b A Rydon 78
M Harrison not out 50
McGahan b A Rydon 13
Noble not out 23
TOTAL 290-5 dec

R Rydon 10-0-24-1
T Rydon 5-0-38-1
A Rydon 12-0-49-2
S Leefe 9-0-54-0
B Graves 16.5-0-84-1
S Woolfries 4-0-29-0

Buccaneers innings
Sujay Chakravarti c Warrender b M Harrison 10
B Atwell b Hall 33
C Vollers c Warrender b Hickman 21
M Ragnauth lbw b Noble 137
S Leefe c Hall b Moulton 19
A Rydon lbw b McGahan 0
B Graves lbw b McGahan 18
R Rydon not out 33
R Gwynn not out 0

    TOTAL 294-7 #

    Noble 11-0-54-1
    M Harrison 9.5-0-36-1
    Hickman 8-0-47-1
    Hall 9-0-43-1
    Moulton 10-0-69-1
    McGahan 7-0-26-2

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