Bath 1st XI v Hursley Park 1st XI
Played at Bath
Southern Premier League
Won by 12 runs
A very unusual game indeed!
To provide some context we had travelled to Bath for the final game of the previous season with an outside chance of pipping them for the Premier League title, only to lose by 215 runs! For this season’s finale we were in mid-table but Bath could still win the league if they beat us and Finchley slipped up in their game against St Lawrence. Bad weather had swept the country all weekend and Finchley’s game was called off. We were expecting to receive a message not to travel but Bath were understandably keen to get the game on if possible – as a win would now be enough for them.
When we arrived at North Parade, the lovely ground that is the home to Bath Cricket Club, the chances of play seemed remote. There were puddles on the outfield and it was still raining. However, the rain ceased and the home groundstaff and supporters started operation dry-out, and made such a good job of it that we started on time, although the wicket was damp and the outfield sodden. We didn’t mind as we had travelled anyway but in all honesty it is doubtful if we would have started in any other circumstances.
As a sidenote two weeks previously Abby Evans had agreed to join us for the 2017 season. As she lived locally she arranged to come and watch, and meet her new teammates’ at the game. When Tayz dropped out late on with an injury (which would keep her out for the best part of two years) Abby was drafted in to make a surprise debut.
Timmo lost the toss and the home side, unsurprisingly, gave us first use of the surface. It was soon evident that runs would be at a premium, as seamer Moira Comfort, always an accurate bowler, worked her way through our top order. A brief break for another shower saw the game reduced to 45 overs each. Moira finished with 4-9 from ten overs as we struggled to 40-4 off 22 overs. Sian had opened the innings and was still battling away. She and Baz eked out 29 runs for the fifth wicket and when Sian was eventually dismissed for 34 in the 34th over she had survived for over 100 deliveries. She has recorded many big runs for us, but this innings might well be the best she has ever played. Beesle, typically, delivered when most needed and contributed a priceless 14 off 40 balls which helped us reach 97.
Normally this target would prove totally insufficient, especially at Bath – but this was not normally. Baz and Ellie Musson bowled accurately to a tight field as the home side found runs as hard to come by as we had. After 14 overs the pair had reduced the home side to 21-3. Baz bowled her ten overs straight through and returned figures of 2-12 with an excellent display of seam bowling that was ideal for the conditions. Sam Betts cut her pace down to bowl cutters and continued to keep the pressure on. Two quick wickets saw the total at 50-7, and the return of the rain. Bath had to win the game so were determined to stay out in the middle. The umpires agreed, although not all of our players (and management) did. The score edged along to 69-7 before Sam and Ellie each took a crucial wicket towards the end of their ten over spells. Ellie finished with the fantastic figures of 4-17 from her ten overs, a terrific effort, but from 70-9 Bath’s final pair nudged the total along to 85, before Timmo threw the ball to Sian, who promptly won an LBW decision to clinch a 12 run win.
Low-scoring games, with runs hard to come by, are often the more exciting than run fests, and this was no exception. One indicator of how difficult batting was is that in over 80 overs of cricket only five boundaries were struck. Fair play to Bath for getting the game on – it turned out to be a cracker.