Aldershot 1st XI v Hursley Park 1st XI
Played at Aldershot
Hampshire League Division 1
Won by 1 wicket
It was the perfect set up for the last Sunday of the Hampshire League summer. Both ourselves ad Aldershot had lost just one game all season, so the clash between the two would decide the destination of the title.
It was overcast at Aldershot and the weather in the south of England was threatening. The first eleven game at Hayes had been called off after we had made the journey, which meant that the 1s were able to come back around the M25 and swell the number of visiting supporters, although we were still well outnumbered by a very large home support. Jem Green won the toss and decided to field, with one eye on the weather and the possibility of a reduced run-chase.
Aldershot is never an easy place to score runs and this game was no different. Hannah Laurence bowled eight tidy overs, conceding just 15 and Emily Windsor’s figures were even more impressive as she conceded just nine from her eight overs and claimed the important wicket of Ella Chandler. At the 20 over drinks break Aldershot had reached 43-3 and Aneeqa Ansar (3-21) and Harriet Batchelor (2-19) continued to make inroads. Charlotte Elsworthy did manage some fluency for the home side until she was run out by a direct hit from Windsor, and the innings closed at 101-9.
102 seems like a modest target on paper, but the conditions still very much favoured the bowlers and we knew it wouldn’t be at all easy. We struggled to play attacking shots, just as the hosts had done, but after 10 overs we had reached 32-1 and were in on course. There was one eye on the weather as it continued to threaten, but as it turned out there were no stoppages. Helen Borrett was run out after an obdurate innings, and when Kiddo and Baz fell in quick succession we were 52-4, with a fairly youthful set of batters waiting somewhat nervously for their turn.
Nicole Beesley and Jem brought some stability to the situation, but runs were increasingly hard to come by as they put together a crucial 25 in 12 overs. Two quick wickets then put the pressure back on, with 20 still required. Carrie-Ann White was back in England on vacation for a few weeks, and her experience was very welcome. She and Beesle patiently collected singles, and the HP support cheered every run as the target reduced. They eventually brought up the hundred and the game was won, or so we thought! Beesle has proved time and again to be the player for a crisis and she had done so again with an invaluable innings of 19. With the scores level she decided to finish the game in style, but was bowled trying to hit over the top. We still had three wickets left but Elsworthy found two more straight deliveries that were enough to complete an unlikely hat-trick, and a very nervous Flora Carpenter was very relieved that the over had finished when she went out to join Vans, who was now on strike. A quick check on run-rates showed that Aldershot would take the title if the match finished as a tie and that message was transmitted to their team by the now revitalised home supporters.
The home captain was understandably concerned with getting her field right to prevent the single and her first delivery seemed to take an age to arrive. When it did it was down the leg-side, the umpire stretched his arms to signal wide, and we had won the Hampshire League for the second time in three years.
Skipper Jem will be pleased to find out from this report how the last few overs of the game panned out, because she sat nervously in the Aldershot kitchen and was unable to watch!