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May 26 2018 - Winterbourne - Home - 1pm
Damerham 95-6 lost to Winterbourne 96-8 by 2 Wickets
08 - 2 - 23 - 2
08 - 6 - 06 - 2
04 - 0 - 19 - 0
08 - 1 - 20 - 1
08 - 3 - 09 - 1
04 - 0 - 14 - 1
This bit may sound familiar, so bear with me: Winterbourne’s first team played in CD3 last year. This year they’ve lost a lot of players and could only get one team together, so their first team have withdrawn from the league… Yes, just like Dinton, today we played a side half full of guys who played county three last year. (Though on the upside, so far this year we’ve beaten the only RD2 side we played, and lost to the two ex CD3s). Anyway never mind that nonsense.
The pitch was an odd one. Really peculiar. Perhaps the strangest Damerham track I remember. It looked fantastic – hard and compact with an even covering of straw coloured grass, and a few small cracks. Joel has done a great job on the square, and the strip was covered for all the rain in the run up to the weekend, so it was as dry and well prepared as it can be. But still the ball didn’t come on. It bounced, but slowly. Almost tennis ball bounce, but it wasn’t quite that either. Balls that looked there to drive just didn’t arrive, skipping over the bat or hitting splice or edge. Maybe the ball won’t ever come on at Damerham, and driving along the floor will simply never be a realistic option. And there were bouncers. Genuine bouncers. I wore one and Hakey got a wicket with one – he bounced someone out! Bouncers at Damerham! Have you ever heard of such a thing? It would almost be less surprising to see unicorns on that square than bouncers.
So although it looked like a belter, it proved in fact to be very much a bowler’s track, not a batsman’s.
The outfield, which looked amazing a week ago, had been victim of a growth spurt due to the late week rain, and was glacially slow (at certain points near the boundaries, the ball actually appeared to travel back towards the square, as if it was feeling the pull of some sort of grassy event horizon) so that hardly helped the run rate.
Winterbourne bowled very well, and no one could get the ball away. (It may be worth mentioning that they had among their number the most incredible chucker I have ever seen. He got two wickets in his first over before anyone worked out what he was doing – which was throwing a javelin. Only with a cricket ball. It was quite extraordinary. But again: never mind that nonsense.)
The highest score all day was Hakey’s, who carried his bat for 37. 37 is a crazy score to carry your bat for, but he batted tenaciously to keep the innings together. It was that kind of pitch. I said it was odd. We finished 95-6 and few thought we had much of a sniff at tea.
But we bowled well too, and they inched towards the target. We only had 10 men, but fielded probably as well as we can, despite a couple of drops. They were not halfway by halfway. Soon after that they lost two significant batsman, and we were into the tail. But the tail batted very well and fought back into it. After 39 overs the scores were tied at 95. The 40th over went dot, dot, run out, single. They inched over the line eight down with two balls to spare.
The pitch may have been an odd one, but it produced a very tight low scoring thriller with a nail biting finish, and you can’t ask for a lot more than that.