Tusmore CC 122/9 (Egg 2/19, Gymnast 2/28) lost to Quokkas CC 124/7 (Hairdresser 27, Shandy 22) by 3 wickets
I always manage to have a massive hangover when we play at Tusmore and, after half the Quokkas spent the Saturday at the Lords Test Match suitably hydrated, this game was no exception. The only occasion I recall not turning up with a pounding headache was last year and we got spanked so perhaps it’s no bad thing. The other recurrent theme with matches versus Tusmore, that dismal display apart, is that it’s always a really close game. I mean a really, really close game.
Contrary to this afternoon’s sunshine, July has been one long rainfest and the pitch was showing signs of being a bit sticky and the outfield slow. Tusmore opened the batting and found runs hard to come by, the Attack and Lavers bowling miserly spells alas with no reward in the wickets column. It took the introduction of the Gymnast at first change for the first couple of batsmen to tumble. Skip weighed in with a wicket maiden in another frugal bowling performance and Egg, replacing Gymnast, also bagging a twofer. Tusmore were now scoring runs more freely but also losing wickets regularly, Tom the Yak and Bradleys Jr and Snr doing some fine work in a couple of run outs. As Skip rotated the bowling, Hairdresser and Tom the Yak claimed a wicket apiece and after Mantis bowled the final over, the Quokkas were staring at a target of 123 off 32 overs. As usual we dropped about 5 catches.
Perhaps the lovely cucumber sandwiches and coffee cake were a bit too irresistible at tea, as the Quokkas batsmen had their fill and then also got off to a slow start, snooping plodding along at 1.5 an over. Mantis finally started attacking, but the ball was beginning to move around and he departed, bowled for 18. Specialist batsmen Binman had been promoted up the order to first drop and his eyes must have lit up as the seamers were replaced with a slow right arm. Bringing out his one shot, the runs came thick and fast in a quick fire 19, until they took the slow right arm off and the more youthful Tusmore quick bowlers claimed his scalp. Bradley Snr’s innings lasted 2 balls and Tom the Yak followed him in short order back to the pavilion for 1.
Shandy, who had quietly been building an innings since opening, was joined by the Hairdresser with the run rate required now over 5 an over. Hairdresser responded to the need for runs with a 6 and started chasing down the total. When Shandy finally went for 22, the Attack couldn’t turn his blistering Twenty20 form into Sunday runs as he went for 4, but the Skip supported the Hairdresser with some good running between the wickets.
With the Quokkas still needing 12 off 10 balls, luck played it’s part as a innocuous bye turned into 5 penalty runs as the ball squeezed under the keeper and hit a spare helmet. Was this the turning point of the match? With just 4 needed off the last over and Hairdresser and Skip at the crease it looked like an easy finish. No such luck. First came a dot ball then, tragically, Hairdresser was bowled. 4 off 4 needed and Lavers, not looking the most confident he ever has, took guard. Belying his nerves a cover drive yielded a single and put Skip on strike. Never one to miss the opportunity for some glory, Skip smashed the next ball for a 6 and the Quokkas had won with a whole 2 balls to spare!
Man of the Match though surely went to young Purton of Tusmore. His fifer for just 21 runs almost sank the Quokkas and was backed up by 29 runs at the top of the order in their innings. Cricket was clearly the winner on a fine Sunday afternoon’s entertainment.