Theale & Tilehurst 1st XI vs Wooburn Narkovians
|Date:||06/05/2017||Toss:||Theale & Tilehurst 1st XI|
|Batted 1st:||Wooburn Narkovians||Venue:||Theale|
|Result:||T&T 1st XI 257 for 9 bt Wooburn Narkovians 256 for 8 by 1 wicket|
There is always a bit of trepidation approaching the first league game of the new season, perhaps from a first team debut, perhaps from new opposition coming down from the league above, or perhaps from worries about form, a new role in the team, or wanting to find out how it is going to go in the heat of battle. This year was no different as we met Wooburn, down from Division 3 and a genuine unknown quantity as we had never come across them before in the league. There were first team debuts for Springy and Paul, and a very welcome return to club colours for Hammad, in a somewhat new look side after a mixed campaign last year.
We won the toss and bowled, generally stuck to our plans well, took our catches and restricted them to 256 from 51 overs leaving us 49 overs to chase. Springy and Michael were probably the pick of the bowlers, and at halfway we were definitely in the game chasing a total which was probably only just above par on a good pitch with a fast outfield.
Not long later, however, our hopes were in tatters as first with the old ball, and later with the new one Wooburn reduced us to 42-4 and 257 looked to be well out of sight. What happened next will be talked about for years to come (mainly by James and Springy) but also probably by a large crowd that had come to watch thanks to the 3s winning inside the distance (Jared 65*) and the twos deciding to finish their game quick to come and watch the chase.
Wiggy started a counterattack, taking on the bowling whenever it was pitched up, while James calmly went about his game at the other end. The score moved to 82 before Wiggy was plumb LBW missing another straight one for 48. Springy joined James and proceeded to launch a savage assault on the bowling. In his usual style he ignored the fielders on the boundary and proceeded to smash 73 in no time at all. Combined with his three wickets earlier in the day it was a first rate all round performance on debut.
Suddenly at 150-6 we were in the game for the first time but still had a huge amount to do to get the win. James continued to look completely untroubled by the Woburn attack and started to go through the gears himself. Dimmack played a priceless cameo to get us even closer but when Sharpy fell with 38 still needed we were still second favourites and it was down to James to win the game.
Cooky came and went, Ram came to the middle and the last pair needed 18 for the win. Springy’s assault earlier in the day had bought us valuable time meaning that James and Ram didn’t need to take any risks to keep up with the rate. The crowd on the boundary were cheering every run, and every ball that Ram managed to keep out. With two overs to go 9 were needed but James smoked a six into the sight screen then took a single, and Ram held out at the other end leaving 2 needed off the last. With James on strike, for the first time in the chase we were favourites for the win and James gleefully placed a leg stump full toss into the deep to secure an amazing win. James knock was one of the best and most important first XI scores I can remember seeing. He stayed calm, trusted his game, and had the shots at the end to see us home. We were dead and buried at 42-4. What a chase.