So near...

Dodgers so nearly pulled off their greatest-ever victory yesterday against Warwick Castle but fell just short, losing by one wicket.

McB opened with Warwick reject Qureshi on a pitch that looked distinctly "sporting" and played more so. The first ball from our old friend Mark Cav bounced and jagged back to hit Phil in the stomach; the second he steered to second slip. 0 for 1. Two no balls for head-high bouncers later, Alex Luke's mate Johnny got a grubber. 2 for 2. Then Alex himself was called for a ridiculous run by Tawhid, dithered, then went. They didn't need the direct hit but that was 2 for 3 and humiliation looming with three players not yet at the ground.

Neil Benn joined Tawhid and the recovery began. Avoiding the short ball was key, but both latched on to a few half-volleys and with the odd nurdle and a lot of extras the score had reached 52 before Tawhid was bowled for 16 by one that kept very low. John Hilary was next and he batted in typically positive fashion before being hit in the chest. That seemed to shake him up considerably and he soon perished, also for 16, with the score 82-5.

The score had passed 100 before Benn was out attempting a chip to long-on that sliced to long-off and was pouched. Perhaps his best-ever innings for Dodgers, he had again fallen tantalisingly short of a maiden 50 for the club. The rest of the innings folded rapidly and 119 didn't look anywhere near enough. Extras made a handy 30 and apart from Benn, Qureshi and Hilary no batsman had reached 5.

Indeed, a 10-wicket defeat looked on the cards as Warwick started strongly against Hilary and Patel - a guest from Superstars. Then John trapped an opener LBW and wickets began to fall steadily. John Cooper picked a useful two, one from an excellent catch by Johnny, and the second Patel brother began a tremondous spell of spin and guile picking up the other opener as the tension mounted.

Benn took the 7th of the nine wickets needed with more than 20 still required. Could the miracle happen? The 8th wicket proved stubborn, however, with two catches being shelled (one, sadly, a complete dolly) as McB kept one end tight with Benn while mixing the Patels. Eventually the batsmen cracked first, attempting a crazy single and Hilary's good work effected the run out.

13 needed, then 9 and decision time for McB. Should he keep on Benn from whom there were no runs at all but little chance of a wicket, or try to blast them out with a third spell from the pacy Patel? He opted for the latter but disaster struck - a wide went to the boundary quickly followed by a thick edge and it was all over.

What a game! A super effort from the Dodgers from a hopeless position with credit due to all the bowlers and the Cat, whose commitment meant he picked up numerous injuries in the most dangerous fielding position on the park. But let's not play here too often...

Quote of the day: "I saw most of your runs but eventually I just couldn't keep my eyes open" - Neil Benn's girlfirend, obviously inspired beyond belief by his heroic innings

Comments

John said…
Man of the Match votes: Benn - 7, Patel T - 2
John said…
Scorecard now available in the Stats section.
John said…
Of course the Scorecard / Match Report is accessible through the Fixtures and Results section and not the Stats...