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June 01 2019 - Amesbury - Away - 1pm
Damerham 132-5 beat Amesbury 131-10 by 5 wickets
02 - 0 - 14 - 0
08 - 1 - 38 - 4
04 - 1 - 19 - 2
05 - 1 - 25 - 2
07 - 0 - 31 - 2
This year’s batch of County Cricket standard Dukes balls are not doing a lot. So much so that Ashley Giles has asked that the 2018 batch of balls – which had a pronounced seam and did plenty – be used in this summer’s home Ashes.
There is a theory circulating that perhaps this year’s HCL batch of Dukes have more in common with the 2018 County ball. There are certainly a lot of sides getting skittled for tiny first innings totals. Four games in, we have already been on the giving and receiving end of almighty wallopings. Amesbury themselves handed out a hiding to Broadchalke, who last week inflicted our 30 all out humiliation on us.
Or maybe it’s not about the ball so much as general top order incompetence. (Guilty as charged.) Who knows. Whichever it is, we arrived at Amesbury – a flat ground with a fast outfield surrounded by a sprawling Stepfordesque new-build housing estate – determined to bowl first, given the option.
H won the toss and exercised that option. Hakey and Rob opened well, and the hosts were quickly pinned back with two early wickets. They then proceeded cautiously, until four in two overs really put the brakes on. At 45-6 they looked like getting rolled, but their lower order fought well and they got to 131 in 25 overs.
It was an odd day for no balls. All three seamers on show – Hakey, Rob and Jude – were warned for no balls. Last year, with the utterly ludicrous Law 41.7 still in place, all three would have been removed from the attack. Jude would have been off two balls into his spell. But after those first two he bowled beautifully, he and H taking out the fiercely wagging tail with precision.
Our reply was a tale of three partnerships. The top order had a miserable time again, and cannot even be said to have seen off the openers. H and Pards came together at 9-3, and their 70 partnership rebuilt steadily, until Pards was given out LBW to a ball that might have been going as little as a foot over. Jude and H then put on 25 together until H was caught attempting a flat bat six to the longest boundary. Jude had begun in jittery fashion, swinging at everything, but settled down, defending a few good ones and saving the big swings for looser ones. When H fell he was joined by Lewis with 30 still to get. The side’s two fastest runners took full advantage, Jude hit his stride, and what looked like it might have been a tight chase ticked down at quite a lick, finishing in glorious fashion with a pick-up six over square leg.
Amesbury, largely a decent lot, have a few guys with a little to learn about manners and sportsmanship, which always makes a win sweeter. And this was a particularly sweet one, with excellent 2-point performances from H and Hakey, and a match defining knock from Jude.