Friendly Match - Proper Cricket
Nurstead 231 all out (39.5 overs)
New Ash Green 225 all out (44.1 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 6 runs
Early morning rain looked as if it might end the weekend prematurely, but it quickly passed over, and although grey clouds loomed ominously over London for most of the day only a short, sharp shower in the second innings disturbed play. Nurstead won the toss and chose to (or were persuaded to) bat first, and their openers might soon have been regretting that decision. John Harley's first over found hugely variable bounce from the damp surface, as well as seeming to hurry through. Dan Walker was unwise enough, having survived a shooter and a lifter, to try and cut the fifth ball and got a nick behind. Olly Wallace was perhaps more unlucky in the second over when one reared up sharply, took the edge and was well caught by guest player Dave Bishop at slip, who just got his left hand to it. Joe Elisak had decided to try and bowl pace on the green topped wicket, and was mostly ineffective, but he got the third wicket with a rare good ball that cut in to bowl Adam Whatman middle stump, and soon after John Harley picked up a third when the umpire almost apologetically gave Simon Murray out LBW to one that started down leg but swung back on line. From 46-4 Nurstead recovered well. Edward Quantrill bowled a tidy spell without success, and Phil Steers posed few problems, but Mark Chapelhow's friendly offerings caused the usual confusion in the batsmen. Even the experienced Jon Beadle made a mistake, top edging a sweep gently to fine leg where Joe Chapelhow missed the chance for a father and son combination wicket. Chris Whatman wasn't so lucky with his own top edge a few minutes later, it going up very gently and into the safely gloved hands of Matthew Quantrill. Andrew Brown has a liking for New Ash Green bowlers, and set about the attack with gay abandon, hitting a huge six off Phil Steers, but after a couple of fours he over-reached himself against Chapelhow, trying to pull from outside off, and looping up an edge which Dave Bishop did well to reach, running from slip almost round to gully. The combined age of the bowling was then lowered to an almost certain club record of 21 years as Joe Chapelhow and Felix Quantrill bowled in tandem. Chapelhow picked up two wickets with another top edge and an LBW, while Quantrill started tidily but suffered some sort of strain in his elbow and struggled through pain in his last over, spoiling his figures and eventually having to let the skipper finish his over. This brought about the return of the opening bowlers, with the score still mounting. John Harley struggled with his line, bowling one over with all eight balls (including two wides) down the leg side, but having softened the batsmen up with that he fooled them with a straight one that brought him his fourth wicket. With a declaration looming the number eleven gave Elisak (now bowling spin, much better than his pace) the charge and missed, to be very comfortably stumped, the final total being a formidable 231. with skipper Jon Beadle 89 not out.
With the two junior Quantrills having to leave early to attend their grandparents' wedding anniversary dinner they were sent out to open the batting, and Nurstead opened with spin. Unfortunately this probably didn't help Edward, who nervously poked at his first ball and was bowled. He was replaced by another guest player, Trevor Blackett, who set about the spinners with relish, making 23 from 12 balls before being slow to get back after missing a leg side ball, and being stumped. He was convinced he had his bat down, but the wicket was caught on video and (much) later video analysis confirmed the umpire had made the right decision. Felix Quantrill had, in the meantime, got off the mark with a pull for one, but then imitated his brother's dismissal by missing a loopy straight ball and being bowled. Joe Elisak launched a brief counter-attack with three good swats for four, but one swing too many had him in trouble when he missed a straight ball, and was bowled. Dave Bishop then kept Quantrill senior company while the bowling stepped up a gear, with Jordan Hicks generating a fair amount of pace downhill, with the wind behind and the ball still seeming to hurry through off the surface. The pace caused more trouble to the wicket keeper than the batsmen, though, with experimental keeper Olly Wallace letting a lifter through his gloves and into his face, giving him a fat lip and causing him to have to temporarily retire to patch himself up. Hicks couldn't get a wicket, though, and Nurstead turned instead to usual wicket keeper Andrew Brown, who quickly got the wicket of Bishop, caught behind by replacement keeper Dan Walker. Brown had launched a few big shots from Mark Chapelhow's bowling, and Chapelhow now returned the compliment, carrying on his fine late season form with some big hits, interrupted but not slowed down by the rain break. He scored a rapid 34 before returning a second compliment to Brown when he launched a big hit to mid-wicket that was destined to be six if it hadn't found the safe hands of the recovered Olly Wallace pouching it on the boundary. Wallace now joined the bowling as well, but couldn't take a wicket as Quantrill and Phil Steers consolidated in good ODI mid-innings style. They needed almost exactly 100 from the last twenty and kept the required rate steady at just under 5 as they nibbled away at the target. The more serious bowling began to come into play as they accumulated. Adam Whatman lost control of one ball, and unleashed a head high beamer which Quantrill, more in trying to get out of the way than intentionally, managed to pull for six to bring up his fifty. The pair added a season leading 68 for the 7th wicket before Steers, having survived a nick behind that Walker dropped was beaten by one that kept low from Chris Whatman and was bowled. Joe Chapelhow followed soon afterwards, hitting a full toss well, but straight back at the bowler, but Tim Cooper stood firm as Quantrill continued to pick up runs and took the total past 200. Cooper managed to get off the mark, but was eventually bowled by Jon Beadle with 21 needed to win. John Harley caused the usual palpitations with his batting, but managed to stand firm, but with fielders defending most parts of the boundary and the pitch still variable enough against tidy bowling to mean nothing could be taken for granted Quantrill was struggling to score fast enough. He reached his century with a drive for four off Beadle, but when he got a single from the second ball of the penultimate over and Harley batted out the rest it left seven needed from the last over. Looking to pull to one of the undefended areas of the leg side boundary he didn't quite get all of the ball and looped it up to square leg, where Brown took the catch and secured a win for Nurstead by 6 runs. An excellent game played in very good spirit, just what end of season games should be about.
Current League Table - (Surely it's still worth another look?)
Friendly Match - 35 overs per side
Betsham 92 all out (22.1 overs)
New Ash Green 95-5 (19.4 overs)
New Ash Green won by 5 wickets
Trying to avoid finishing in the dark Betsham suggested a 35 over game, and suggested the rather bizarre restriction of one bowler being able to bowl ten overs while the rest would be restricted to a maximum of six. John Harley should have smelt a rat immediately, but agreed to the restriction, and Betsham allegedly won the toss and chose to bat first, though given they were still a few short it may have been by agreement. The openers looked a little insecure and Harley and Kieran Poole kept them tied down, with only extras getting the scoreboard moving. It was Poole who took the first wicket when the batsman stretched for a wide one and could only just get a toe end to it and nick it to the keeper. This brought in the first of several young batsmen who had clearly decided to have a bit of end of season fun, and the nature of the game changed as a series of big shots were launched. With the wicket not being completely reliable such a course was fraught with danger, and plenty of chances were generated. Poole picked up two more wickets, with an edge to slip for Mark Chapelhow and a mis-timed drive caught running back at mid-on by Matthew Quantrill, Harley got one bowled and Joe Elisak, having been hit for two consecutive sixes responded with a very good caught and bowled. He followed up with two more, one caught at slip and one bowled swinging at a slower ball, and this was the cue for the record for low combined age of bowlers to be broken again. Two Phils, Markham and Steers, had dropped out, Steers through what he described as a “bad body” after playing football in the morning and Markham through simply failing to appear. As a result first Joe Chapelhow and then Ritchie Harley, for his New Ash Green debut, had been drafted in, and with the wickets tumbling they now bowled in tandem, with a combined age of 18. Chapelhow, the senior bowler, struck first, having the one remaining likely dangerman stumped giving him the charge, then Ritchie had a moment he will not forget when his first ball, a touch short, yorked the batsman on its second bounce and bowled him. He followed with a sound over, and then finished the job off with the first ball of his second over, which was also straight and went right through the batsman's defences to complete the innings for 92, leaving Ritchie with 2-3.
The early finish to the innings meant tea wasn't ready, as Matthew Quantrill discovered when he was ferociously told off for taking a crisp from a bowl on the table, and the New Ash Green batsmen had to face six overs before tea. They soon discovered the reason for the one bowler bowling the overs rule, when Betsham's opener, Kieran Wells, bowled at a good pace, well pitched up and getting a bit of movement. He was too much for Mark Chapelhow and Dave Harley, and with Olly Cooper being bowled at the other end New Ash Green were 1-3. Ryan Harley has grown hugely in confidence in recent weeks, though, and played solidly at number 4, while Scott McKecnie at number 5 was, of course, not in the least intimidated by the pace, and they safely saw the side through to tea. Afterwards Ryan was bowled by Wells, but Matthew Quantrill was solid enough against Wells, while McKechnie was quickly into a duel with the bowler which he started to get the better of, hitting some excellent shots down the ground. It was actually at the other end that McKechnie had more of a problem, the apparently more innocuous looking Ross Perkins causing him all sorts of trouble, and he was lucky on several occasions to survive balls not going to hands or just missing the stumps. He did survive, though, until Wells was rested, Perkins was nearly finished and the game was almost over, making 63 before Perkins got a just reward when McKechnie charged him, missed, and was well stumped. Quantrill had been accumulating steadily, and with a four off Perkins last ball he made sure the New Ash Green nerves were steadied before finishing the game off with a big six over long on, whereupon almost everyone rushed off to try and watch the football on TV!