Hursley Park 1st XI v Hayes XI
Played at The Quarters
Southern Premier League
Lost by 1 wicket.
It was our second season in the Southern Premier League, and it was once again proving a tough challenge as we had lost our opening three games before hosting reigning champions Hayes, whose team included three England internationals.
We won the toss and Jem decided to bat, our usual tactic. Two wickets went early and it was left to Frankie Barber and Ellie Ingram to rebuild. They batted solidly, the task not made easier by the accuracy of England off-spinner Laura Marsh. Frankie was eventually trapped in front by Marsh for a battling 19 after the pair had added 44 and when Eleanor soon followed for 33 we were tottering at 77-4 with half of our overs gone.
Harriet Batchelor and Sarah Attrill then put together a stand of 85. Baz, once again displaying the improvement in her batting, made 34 and Sarah, in only her fifth Premier League game, added an important 39, and a couple of boundaries by Dani Ransley saw us close at 182-8 from our 50 overs.
It was probably a below par total, but given the experience of the visitors attack and the start we had we were relatively pleased at the tea interval.
Openers Ciara Green and experienced England left-hander Kathy Leng started calmly for the visitors against Rach Carrick and Amy Mistry, until a very unusual incident in the sixth over. Leng struck the ball towards the leg-side boundary and the batters looked for three. As they crossed for the third run there was suddenly a roar of pain that could probably be heard in Winchester. The two batters had collided and Leng was on the ground in obvious agony. As the ball came into Eleanor’s gloves, with both openers still on the ground in mid-wicket, skipper Jem shouted to Eleanor to not remove the bails. The Spirit of Cricket had raised its head, and despite the fact that the collision was through no fault of the fielders the wicket was not taken. After a fair period of treatment Kathy Leng was taken to hospital with a dislocated shoulder. So one way or another we had removed one of the batters (or had we?). Laura Marsh was quickly dismissed by Rachel Carrick and when Dani struck with two wickets in quick succession the visitors were 66-3. Deanna Cooper (nowadays a professional footballer) and Lottie Bryan then batted Hayes into a seemingly winning position with a partnership of 81. The HP girls had different ideas. After Rach had Bryan caught behind, Baz embarked on an inspired spell where she picked up four wickets for no runs in ten balls, and all of a sudden the champions were 154-8. It was about this time that the car bringing Kathy Leng back from hospital appeared on the lane into the Quarters. Rach snapped up the ninth wicket, and all eyes turned to the pavilion where the left-hander was seen strapping on her pads and entering the fray, her dislocated shoulder having been reset at hospital. 28 were still needed, but crucially there were plenty of overs remaining. Singles and twos were ticked off with number 10 Sarah Kennett playing a firm supporting role, and eventually Leng hit the winning run, which had somehow seemed inevitable since her re-appearance at the ground.
We lost the game, but was the spirit of cricket the winner? It’s one of the debates that leaves cricketers and fans of the game divided.
Ironically Hayes’s title defence and our survival in the Premier League came down to the return fixture, the last game of the season (see memorable match number ?)