South Brent 154-10 (34.2)
Buckland Monachorum 120-8 (36)
It was a day when there were three parties battling for a win, South Brent, Buckland Monachorum and the weather. The Buckland team arrived at the ground just after a downpour of biblical proportions. Groundsman Richard Haines, chairman John Cranch and Matt Dardis were out on the square trying to hold back the tide with the club's new drying equipment.
After a quick look at the wicket by the two captains, it was decided to delay the start to 2:15pm to allow the bowlers run ups to dry out. So after just enough of a wait to allow John Cranch to pad up, the game got underway with only 40 overs per side to play. Cranch (4) started in an uncharacteristically aggressive style lofting his third ball just short of the mid wicket boundary. However the crowd were robbed of Cranch's lusty blows when Rogers found his line and swung a lovely ball into his pads, trapping him LBW.
Skipper Lewis joined Malpas at the wicket with the score on 14, determined to avoid a traditional Brent collapse the two set themselves. Malpas was playing well, mercilessly picking off bad balls and solidly blocking the good ones. After another heavy shower, the teams were forced to take shelter, this meant another reduction to the overs, down to 36 for each side. Left armed Rogers (2-25) was bowling well, managing to get the wet ball to swing a long way, got Malpas (12) to drive at the one that didn't swing and the catch was taken at slip by Barrett.
After a nervy start with a few misjudged prods Lewis began to settle down and started finding the extra cover boundary regularly. Daniel had joined him at the wicket and was playing the difficult wicket well. Hoad (2-36) came into the attack and got the wicket of Daniel in his second over, Daniel (2) edging the ball at the off stump bail. At 60-3 Brent were still fighting off the collapse, Buckland skipper Mannell decided it was time to take the pace off the ball and brought on Pike. Lewis was starting to pick up the pace and cleared the boundary twice off Pike and picked up a few more fours as well. McArdle was the new man at the other end and playing in his first game for Brent was striking the ball firmly. Hoad got his second wicket, targeting McArdle's (5) leg stump and eventually got his reward.
On the first ball of the next over Lewis (63 off 39 balls) was deceived by a low ball that didn't turn and was trapped LBW. New pair at the crease Saunter and Glen were forced to reset and start a new partnership. Mannell (4-16) brought himself on to attack the two fresh batsmen and got the wickets of Glen (5), Dardis (0) and Cook (0), all looking to up the tempo in the closing overs. Young Matt Dardis so keen to get going he reached the middle before re bearing his bat! Saunter at the other end was striking the ball hard and quickly raced to 42 off 35 balls. Unfortunately he couldn't get his second half century of the season hitting a ball high to mid wicket where Brooks took a great catch. Willoughby and Bevan were tasked with getting Brent to 160 and the next batting point before the last wicket fell. Bevan (3) had decided to go out and swing from the first ball while Willoughby (1) was more conservative. Unfortunately Willoughby was caught at short mid wicket,ending the Brent innings. Brent were happy with their batting performance on a difficult, slow wicket and were confident at defending 155.
The weather was improving and the showers had held off, giving the Brent bowlers a bit more grip on the run up. Cook (2-37) opened up the bowling getting some good swing and dip which got the wicket of Barrett was well caught at slip by Glen. Willoughby (0-12) kept things tight at the other end and with the pace off the ball the Buckland openers were struggling to get him away. Cook struck again with a low full toss that dipped, swung and moved liked a heat seeking missile at the base of Halloran's (8) off stump.
Brent were bowling and fielding well and kept it tight, Malpas, Dardis and Cranch chasing anything and everything down that came their way in the field. Edwards and Edwards were at the wicket together and P Edwards started to find the boundary. Skipper Lewis brought on the dangerous Glen, immediately started causing problems with his out swing. P Edwards (34) had scored almost exclusively in boundaries, hitting 8 fours, before Glen got him to swing and edge to keeper Lewis. Glen not satisfied with one Edwards, got another in the same way, this time edging a half volley to the keeper.
Bevan (1-18) at the other end was bowling well and his frugal bowling got its reward when Ashurst (1) hit one up to Saunter. At 67-5 the game was in the balance, a fantastic innings from Pike who was protecting his wicket from anything Brent could throw at him, kept the score ticking over. Next to go was Hoad (7) when Glen (3-18) directed a ball towards his legs which went through to clean bowl him. Glen had bowled a fantastic spell, which had beaten the bat on many occasions and gave nothing easy for the batsmen.
It was left to Daniel (2-19) and McArdle (0-13) to seal the win for Brent. McArdle did exactly was needed at one end by taking the pace off the ball and bowling tight lines, bowling in partnership with Daniel putting pressure on the batsmen. Daniel bowled with accuracy and pace got Mannell (11) bowled and Rogers caught and bowled. Buckland had a lot to do in the last few overs and Pike (24*) made sure they got over 120 for the point.
A big thank you to the guys from Buckland for playing the game in such good spirit and the DCL and DCB for helping fund the covers and BowDry. Well done to John Cranch and Richard Haines for preparing a decent pitch despite the weather conditions. Another massive thanks should go to Chris Kelcey for umpiring at both ends and having to make some difficult decisions about the safety of playing in adverse weather.