Match Report: 04/08/2007 – 1st XI vs Old Colfeians
|Chislehurst and West Kent:
|S. Hirst – 4-54
P. Crowdy – 3-40
S. Meyer – 121
M. van Oorschot – 44
With the evil spectre of relegation looming over them like a dark cloud, the CWKCC first XI ventured into the heart of South London for a must-win clash with third placed Old Colfeians. The drastic youth policy of recent weeks was discarded and only Smiler Fox found himself the right side of 20 at the start of the match. Much needed experience was drafted in the form of Mughiz and Whitfield and Chislehurst CC stalwart Battarbee made a very welcome return to the first XI.
With summer holidays decimating both clubs the umpiring was left in the questionable hands of the players and Chislehurst CC were pleasantly surprised to have the option of tossing. Skipper Hirst decided to sample the sights and sounds of South London so the questionable honour of losing the toss fell to administrative Skipper Crowdy. Unsurprisingly Chislehurst found themselves in the field on the first baking hot Saturday of the summer with a flat track and a lightning outfield to contend with. Old Colfs capitalised early as Chislehurst struggled to adapt to the unfamiliar conditions and the late arrival of Skipper Hirst. Battarbee was unlucky not to see a few aerial shots go to hand and Meyer was his usual aggressive self from the pavilion end. Hirst brought himself on and was immediately rewarded for his tight lines with the opening wicket, well caught by new Chislehurst recruit Lloyd-Jones at mid on. Chislehurst continued to tighten the screws with some brutally efficient swing bowling. Meyer in particular was clinical, bowling an incredible 7 maidens and frequently terrifying the batsmen with his sour demeanour. What batsmen often fail to realise, is that the flurry of invectives is generally directed at himself in his constant search for perfection. Meyer was rewarded for his best bowling spell of the season with the wicket of the second opener, well caught at point by Battarbee. The bowling was supported by some spectacular acrobatics in the field with Whitfield, Mughiz, Fox, Hirst and Lloyd-Jones all covering themselves in glory with eye-catching athleticism. Old Colfs were overwhelmed by the combined Chislehurst bowling and fielding talents and only managed to scrape together 5 runs in the second ten overs for the loss of one wicket. With the score at 70-2 at drinks Chislehurst had once again manoeuvred themselves into a promising position.
The change bowlers Crowdy and Battarbee manfully took up the mantle and continued to probe and restrict the old Colfs batsmen. Battarbee bowled some unplayable deliveries and Crowdy continued to build on what is gradually turning into an excellent season with the ball. Just as Old Colfs were looking to pick up the scoring rate Crowdy found some extra bite in the pitch to lure the batsman forward and enable MacCullum to complete a sharp stumping. The next delivery would definitely have featured in CNN’s “Play of the Day” had it been caught on tape. The outgoing batsman had helpfully whispered to the incoming batsman not to get lured out of his crease. Crowdy duly produced a lightning fast arm ball that had off stump out of the ground before the batsman knew what had hit him. Crowdy’s celebrations were quite clearly plagiarised from Alan Shearer, but with bowling like that his teammates were willing to forgive him. Crowdy picked up a third wicket soon afterwards, turning one past the batsman’s defensive prod to catch the top of off and leave Old Colfs 108/5 with about 13 overs to go. Hirst struck soon afterwards, but by this stage the Old Colfs were taking advantage of an old ball on a flat pitch and were throwing their bat at everything. Meyer, Crowdy and Hirst all took some punishment in the last ten as Chislehurst suffered once again for not taking enough wickets when on top. The chaos that ensued was best characterised by Meyer’s wild throw for four overthrows. Some lusty hitting enabled Old Colfs to scrape past the psychologically crucial 200 mark and Hirst’s two late wickets did little to dampen Chislehurst’s disappointment at letting the opposition off the hook once again.
After heartily tucking into tea, Chislehurst Skipper Hirst decided to throw all caution to the wind by opening with his two premier batsmen, himself and Meyer. A promising start, which featured some searing shots from both players, was swiftly curtailed as Old Colfs dropped Meyer in the slips and Hirst got one that popped and went out caught in the gully. Seeing Van Oorschot (season average approx 4.5) walk out next did little to inspire the Chislehurst faithful. Meyer, cognisant of Chislehurst’s batting frailties, proceeded to take matters into his own hands. After carefully playing himself in, he latched onto anything remotely loose with aplomb and hit some spectacular boundaries on all sides of the wicket. Meyer soon brought up his second fifty of the season and Chislehurst took drinks with the score on 100-1. Meyer continued to punish the Old Colfs bowlers at will, although he was the beneficiary of some generous drops in the field. Old Colfs managed to keep a lid on the scoring rate from one end as Humm whizzed through his overs without bowling anything loose. Once Meyer brought up his richly deserved 100 with another fierce boundary the match looked a foregone conclusion though. Van Oorschot eventually fell for 44, but with the batting talents of Sheftel, Crowdy, Battarbee, MacCullum et all still in the hutch the match seemed safe. What followed was a Chislehurst special. Meyer wast run out after a miscommunication for a glorious 121. Battarbee soon followed in a repeat performance. When MacCullum, one of Chislehurst’s batting finds of the season, went for a second ball duck the nerves where truly jittering. Thankfully Sheftel managed to keep his cool as everyone else fell around him (partially due to his calling!) and finished the match off with a couple of boundaries in the second last over. Equally importantly, his 22 not out will have gone some way to boosting his flagging confidence and have surely cemented his position in the middle order as ice cool match killer.
Despite the late wobble, Chislehurst truly deserved to win this match. They were on top for 80 of the 100 overs played and if they manage to improve the last 10 overs of the innings in the field as well as with the bat they are surely still in with a chance of averting relegation or at least salvaging some pride from the season.
There were plenty of individual highlights in the match, but the most gratifying aspect was that all 11 players made a significant contribution to the win. The return to form of Meyer was also fantastic to see and he certainly showed why Dean Headley rates him as “the best batsman in the league by far”. Next week Chislehurst take on second bottom RACS so whatever happens there will be plenty of excitement. Watch this space!