2015 Match reports
Fen Ditton Vs Cherry Hinton
Saturday 16th July
Fen Ditton Vs Cherry Hinton
Round 11, and Cherry Hinton visiting El Campo. It was to be a cracker, and quite probably the most memorable game for the 1st XI this season when we look back on the 2016 campaign.
This was a game that almost certainly had to be won to keep realistic hopes of promotion alive. Thankfully we did it.
I had faced Cherry Hinton’s 1st and 2nd XI 7 times between them for Ditton from 2010 to this season, and had never once beaten them. Fez describes Cherry Hinton games in particular as being as much like a war as a cricket match, and once again today’s game proved that way. It was nice to be a victor.
We’ve had three mightily close games with them this season and last, losing every time batting first, but bowling first this time we got over the line. Just about.
From the side that disappointed against Wilburton Jacko, Mark Benn, Marc W and George C were out - Wayne C, Ralph, Gilo, and H in. Meanwhile Longy became a father for the first time this week - congratulations. Some things are more important than cricket. Rarely, but sometimes.
The weather was sunny, and though there was more cloud cover than last week, it was still pretty sticky and humid.
Not actually sure who won the toss, believe it was Skip, and we bowled, and understandable change of tactic as Hinton had consistently chased successfully against us.
Wayne opened up from the Pavillion End and Reedo from the Jackson End and both settled into a decent rhythm against two openers who weren’t batting overly aggressively.
Hinton were 35-0 after 14 overs, and later own in their own players view it was such caution that might have cost them not scoring another 20 or so invaluable runs.
I say this because the pitch was playing really rather well, combining with the difficult heat and humidity to make it a day for batting, despite the long hay-strewn outfield again not giving value for shots.
Opener Womack Evans, who has scored match-winning unbeaten fifties against us both this and last season in tight chases, and was at it again, though not scoring at a rate that was really hurting us.
He was accompanied by Ahmed, who was lucky beyond belief. Multiple near run outs, edges to all parts and big swings, interspersed with the odd big hit that connected.
To say Wayne’s last over was unfortunate to go wicketless was an underestimate. Firstly Ahmed nicked off, a difficult chance at slip that Joe did well to get a decent hand on. It would have been a blinder.
Then Ahmed chipped one up that hung in the air for what felt like forever, but dropped just over Wayne, and infront of Rob running in from deepish mid-off.
To add further insult to injury, Wayne induced Womack-Evans into a loose off-drive, Skip ran around nicely to get under it, and for the first time in my memory ever, couldn’t finish the job.
As if that wasn’t frustrating enough for Wayne, he had actually already run Ahmed out with a brilliant direct hit. The batsman was noticeably not only short of his ground AND had bizarrely decided to jump in the air. Somehow it wasn’t given.
Wayne, in a suitable tribute to Jacko, albiet from the other end, bowled straight through for a very tidy ten overs for just 31.
The first 7 overs went for only 12, but his last three got some tap, as did Fez, who had replaced Joe. Hinton 70-0 off 20. Solid but not spectacular.
Ditton continued to bowl pretty well and set sensible fields to contain the rate, with Wilson coming on after drinks alongside Fez.
The Hinton openers were struggling to push the rate on, and were finally separated in the 27th over. A run out had always looked a solid bet for the method of the first wicket falling, and so it proved.
Womack-Evans clipped Wilson into the leg-side, McCann hurled after it, and delivered a good through on the bounce to the bowlers end. Wilson did the rest to run Ahmed out for a fortunate 41.
103-1 off 27 overs, and as Rob rightly pointed out Hinton were going at below four-an-over on what was looking like an increasingly good wicket.
Inevitably Hinton’s plan was a late onslaught with their hyper-aggressive batting order, but in such circumstances only 92 off the last 13 overs ( 7 an over essentially) was actually a very respectable result for us.
AB had bowled 4 overs for 23, whilst from the Pavillion End Skip bowled through for a magnificent spell of 10-0-45-4.
Firstly Skip ensured we finally (after three consecutive fifties, two unbeaten) saw the back of Womack-Evans, bowling him for 65.
Not long afterwards Skip bowled Jaffer Hussain for 18, and then dismissed Rashid for 8, though by our captain’s own admission the credit for that one really goes to the catcher, Rob Smith.
Rashid absolutely walloped a straight drive down the ground, but Smith moved to his right and nonchalantly stuck out his right hand to intercept the ball like plucking an apple from a tree.
These wickets were hugely valuable in stopping the middle order push Hinton onto something really daunting.
Furze went for 10, spooning one straight up that was to be a comfortable caught and bowled for Wilson.
At the other end Fez’s second spell saw him get more tap in what was a thankless situation to bowl, finishing with 9-0-58-0. Given the time in the innings Fez bowled both his spells, that wasn’t as bad as the raw figures might suggest.
Reed came back for two more and got some tap, but 7-0-32-0 was very respectable.
31 not out from Zala included some lusty blows saw Hinton finish on 194-5, a target we felt was gettable, and we were to be proved right.
Hinton certainly weren’t going to make it easy though. After two tight maidens from openers Reman and Rashid to start proceedings McCann went for a duck, a leading edge leading to a catch off Reman.
Reman was quick and skiddy inswing, Rashid tall, fast and generally shorter, with the pitch offering plenty of bounce.
Rob and AB saw off the pair of openers really nicely, initially 5-1 off 5 overs.
From that point Rob and AB went at more than five-an-over until drinks, which was reached on 83-1.
Rob was finding regular singles in the long grass and responsibly seeing out some good bowling.
AB was at his imperious best, particularly when going after Orchard, who went for 22 from just 3 overs. He also hit a fair few bullet drives that were somehow still only 2 due to the slowness of the outfield.
Following drinks AB and Rob continued to press on, AB reaching a very fluent 50 that was a pleasure to watch from the umpire’s viewpoint.
AB couldn’t build on that, bowled off his pad for exactly 50 next ball, leaving Rob constructively suggesting on the podcast that such a good knock and such obvious talent deserves to be getting even more.
AB’s knock was important as his quick scoring rate had kept the required rate nicely in check to around a run-a-ball.
Skip joined Rob and the pair ticked along as change bowlers Mumtaz, bowling a good line from left-arm over, and Deepak, bowling his usual spin, continued their spells.
Ditton had reached 118-2 off 27, the required rate only just under six, when a real turning point came.
Skip had his eye in and hit Deepak for a gun-barrel straight 6, and then another, this time over cover.
17 coming from the over. Rate required now under 5. A ‘big’ over just before the opening bowlers returned. 135-1.
Rob had passed 50 for the 5th time this season in that quietly effectively way that he always seemed to but went for 60. 142-2.
That brought in Fez, who particular enjoys quick bowling, so unsurprisingly relished this scenario and scored quickly from the get-go.
Skip and Fez were running hard and putting loose balls away, and the required rate was dropping when Skip was bowled by Rashid for an excellent 28. 177-3 but the required rate was now down to below 4, so very much manageable.
H joined Fez and the two kept things ticking, though the tension was still palpable. Fez released it by nonchalantly walking down the track to Mumtaz, meeting the ball before it had pitched and smashing it back over the bowlers heard for 6 to the delight of those in the Ditton pavilion.
Having seemingly done the hard work Ditton needed 4 from three overs, and Fez was on strike to Rashid. Surely this was all sorted?
Having told H he’d be sensible and get it in singles, and having played a class knock until this point, unfortunately Fez was about to make things a little more complex.
After a brilliant knock in a pressure scenario and showing the very best of what he can do, Fez showed us the other end of his batting spectrum when losing concentration.
Four dots including some wild swings, and an attempted reverse on-drive, involving totally changing his feet position, were not what the doctor ordered.
The fifth ball of the over bowled him for an important cameo 24, and the final delivery whistled past new man Gilo’s off-stump. Surely we couldn’t throw this away?
The first ball of the penultimate over from Reman saw an attempted off-drive from H not come out of the middle. It nearly looked like a catch for mid-off, but just about got over the fielder and ran away for 4.
H 8*, Ditton 195-4, an excellent chase against a good bowling attack, that really made us work hard for these runs.
This win leaves us 7-4, and a glance at the table shows just how significant a 20 pts it could prove.
Defeat would have left us 5th, behind Milton and Sutton (who played each other, Milton winning that one) and Wilburton (who won again).
As it is we have moved 2nd by a slender margin, our average of 14.91 just pipping the 14.55, 14.45 and 14.4 offered by Wilburton, Sutton and Milton. It’s tight at the top.
All four sides are very capable on their day, shown by ourselves and Milton beating Hinton whilst Wilburton have tied against them, Sutton have to play them twice yet, games you would imagine could be crackers. It’s a matter of consistency really.
7 games left, and we are now the team in total control of our own destiny.
A long way to go though, and the hard work continues next week when we welcome Littleport, who recent result suggests and resurgence suggest a significant improvement from their poor early season form.