Infantry CC 2012
This was the match to secure a home fixture in the semifinals. This was also the match in which defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. Infantry CC was far from full strength on arrival at Larkhill. The Gunners, whilst not fielding their most powerful eleven, certainly produced a side more than capable of a win.
RACC won the toss and elected to bowl. Skipper, Oli Burwell would open the bowling from the paddock end, with Mishak Belfon from the RA Mess end. Astbury and Barton were the opening batsmen for our visitors.
Oli started in his usual, economical manner with only 5 runs coming from his first, 3 overs. Shak, on the other hand, had obviously decided that, if the batsmen weren't hitting runs, he'd give them a bunch of extras. He then confused them by taking a wicket, getting Astbury caught behind on 11. Palmer replaced him and settled down to produce the Infantry's top score of 65.
It was then the skipper's turn to get amongst the wickets, clean bowling Barton for 10 on the penultimate over of his opening spell. Belfon soldiered on to 6 overs in his first spell without a further victim. The devil was in the detail, as 16 of these runs were extras.
Kumar and Schofield then took the bowling attack to the Infantry. It was not Schoey's day with the ball as he failed to produce a consistent line and length. There were some very good deliveries, indeed, but his overall performance fell short of what we've come to expect from the lad. After 4 overs at the cost of 31 runs, it was time to let Govender in on the action.
Kumar fared somewhat better. His 5 overs yielded only 17 runs but, importantly, included Hornbuckle's wicket when he was caught by Burwell on 9. So 3-80 after 17 overs was on the scoreboard as Hudson and Govender started reeling them in. Palmer was batting well, taking his chances when a loose ball came his way and powerfully placing them where it would do most damage as he did his utmost to stay on strike.
Huddo, showing off some of the talents that won him the Army's captaincy, clean bowled Hudson who was on 7. He followed this in his next over with Palmer's wicket as Warner caught him behind. 5-125 and a pivotal moment. Govey, like Schoey, was finding accuracy a bit harder to sustain than usual, giving away 12 extras in the 34 runs scored in his spell.
Meanwhile, Hudson dispatched another 2 batsmen, McKeeman and Charles with only 4 between them. Burwell dislodged England, lbw, on 27 thereby removing any wag from the tail. The last 2 wickets fell to Shak as he replaced Oli at the paddock end; Murray on 7 and Green on 3. Last man, Defreitas, was 1, not out.
4 wickets for Hudson, who would have had his 5 had he not been dropped, 3 for Belfon, 2 for Burwell and 1 for Kumar. A good knock for Palmer, without whom the innings would have been a disaster and a valiant effort by England to keep the wheels on an Infantry innings which was aided by a horrific contribution of 47 extras from the Gunners.
It's fair to say that 191 wasn't a tough number to chase on a Ben Kent pitch. Hudson and Hoggard opened the batting for the Gunners, but in the 4th over, Hoggy was given lbw off Liddle for only 2. Gilles came in at No. 3 and we all relaxed. Huddo was holding the strike and was starting to build a score, but with only 20 runs added, Malec found himself bowled by Liddle on 3. This was not in the script.
Govender joined Hudson and the middle and, as the home fans' nerves settled, the pair were set and runs were flowing. They were cruising, with boundaries amassing when, with 124 runs on the board, Huddo didn't quite get on to a hook to fine leg and was caught by Defreitas, off Barton, for 54. A very positive innings in which 26 of the runs were boundaries.
Warner, who'd taken 2 catches, behind and a stumping (we'll gloss over the byes and wides that ran down to the boundary) , now had his chance to show what he could do with his bat. It didn't start well; his call for a single, that was just never there, saw Govey run out on 61. A splendid innings was ended prematurely. Sherwin had performed with his usual, aggressive approach to run scoring; 45 minutes at the crease, 61 runs scored, ten 4s and one 6 in his innings.
It was not 2Lt Warner's day. 1 run and he was bowled by Barton.
Enter Nick Schofield and his new bat, partnered by Phil Erasmus. 5-133, 23 overs gone and 59 runs needed. Should be safe ... really!
Schoey was off the mark with a lovely sweep to backward square leg for 4. He did his best to hold the strike as 25 runs flashed from his bat - three 4s and a 6 - but was bowled by Defreitas with the score at 163. 29 runs need.
Kumar took his guard but only 4 runs were added before Raz was caught and bowled by McKeeman for 10. 3 wickets left and 25 runs needed. Kumar managed 4 before he was given lbw off McKeeman
That fierce hitter of the ball, Sean Hargrave, stepped into the breach with Oli Burwell. There were only 17 runs required, so not too much to worry about, or so we thought. Liddle promptly had Sean caught by Hornbuckle on 3. Shak took his guard as last man and managed a single before being given lbw of McKeeman. The skipper made 4* and the Gunners fell short of a win by 12 runs at 180 all out.
Not the finest exhibition of cricket from the RACC, but good batting from Govender, Hudson and Schofield and, in the end, a well deserved win for a depleted Infantry CC.