2015 Match reports
Fen Ditton Vs Milton
Saturday 18th June
Fen Ditton Vs Milton
Round 7, Milton at El Campo. Last season's corresponding fixture brought a competitive and hard, but fair game of cricket. It was played in great spirit throughout, with us edging the win.
In that sense this game very much deja vu (though not totally similair).
Rob, AB and Skip returned to the side, with Longy and George C absent, whilst Mick A and Giles played for the 2nds. Dobbo came back from Sussex for his first appearance since the opening match of the season.
It was a damp Ditton wicket with plenty of moist long grass representing a slow outfield, so both sides were very much hoping to win the toss and bowl. We had that priviledge.
After 6 overs that 'priviledge' was one we very much weren't making the most of. Opener Conlon was on 27 from just 19 balls, taking Milton to 40-0 through particularly targeting Dobbo, who bowled too short, going for 27 from his 3 overs. The partnership did also included H using one piece of fielding off Dobbo to attempt an audition for a trial at his beloved Watford next season. Based on this evidence, I don't think we need to worry about losing him yet. Skip took the ball from the Pavillion End, had Conlon caught by Rob at mid-on and from there on Milton were 'in effect' bowled out for 92. In fact they ended up losing another three wickets before scoring a run, Jacko tempting the other opener into offering a catch to Rob. Skip was back charging in for the first time in a while after his injury, and claimed an important wicket in bowling Liam Dye with a ball that, by the batsman's own account and everyone else in line, was a jaffa. Kodakkattil and Sivajoti sought to rebuild, and did put on a partnership on 57, but the combination of a difficult pitch to bat on, and really tight Ditton bowling, meant the run rate was far from getting away from us. Skip came off after just three overs due to his injury playing up again, but Fez took over and continued to show his improved bowling (particularly length) this season. Newly-crowned club record wicket-taker Jacko bowled through for an excellent 10-3-24-1 from what I will now refer to as the Jackson End out of respect. There was a spell of what felt like ten overs or so without a boundary, only emphatically ended when seemingly out of nowhere Milton's number 3 hit Fez for a straight six. Having stabilised Milton tried to accelerate, but it was a difficult pitch to do that on, leading to their last six wickets then falling for just 35. Rob had taken over bowling from the Jackson End and got two wickets in an over, one a really sharp caught and bowled chance, the other a looped leading edge caught by Skip. Fez recorded excellent figures of 9-2-24-1, the majority of that spell coming either side of drinks before being replaced by AB. AB got Kodakkattil, as a ball that was 'there to go' was only scooped out to Butler on the boundary, who took a really nice running catch to his left. Rob completed a miserly spell of 7-0-25-2, nearly gaining a third victim with a loud LBW appeal against Scotter that, when unsuccessful, left Mr Smith with a facial expression mixing disbelief and disappointment. Meanwhile AB induced Coston to hole out to deep mid-on, where Rob made a difficult catch running around to his left look simple. AB's finished up with 4-0-19-2, a useful contribution. Skip yet again defied his seemingly never-ending injury (maybe that's why it doesn't seem to be getting better fast, but the commitment's admirable), returning to bowl Drummond for 5. Fez returned at the death and got a deserved wicket, a ferocious drive well-pouched by H. It was a 'catch it or wear it' scenario, and H held on to remove Henderson for 3. Scotter had made a cameo 22 but was the last to go, bowled by Skip, who recorded figures of 5.3-2-11-4. He really does like playing Milton it seems, a point reflecting out and laughed about by both teams in the Kings Head afterwards. Milton 132 all out with 9 balls to spare, and given our visitors had been 40-0, we were the happier side at tea.
McCann and Rob haven't had a big opening partnership this season yet because of one going early and the other getting a significant score. That trend continued here, McCann playing all around a straight one, bowled for 1, whilst Rob made an excellent 60 to record back-to-back league fifties. AB made 16 and was building nicely until bowled by Liam Dye, who bowled a testing spell which Rob used all his experience to survive. Skip and Rob then put on a sizeable partnership through doing the basics, knocking the ball around and taking the singles on offer, then putting bad balls away. Skip's 6 against Coston over mid-wicket was a highlight, so good Milton fielders were complementing the shot as it was airborn. Rob passed 50 in the quietly effortless style we've grown used to seeing from him, and when he was eventually caught for 60 off Drummond, leaving us 108-2, we still should have been easily fine. Needing 24 at two-an-over with 8 wickets in hand, we nearly threw it away, and Milton bowled and fielded brilliantly to make us scrap over the line. H made his 3rd duck of the season, before Skip was run out for 32 by Dye. The run came as Butler took on a single that was a wholly unnecessarily risk given the game situation. Butler was then caught brilliantly by Gresty off Drummond for 2, and Dobbo was bowled having a swipe against a full and straight ball from Dye. From 108-2 we were 121-7. Watching from the boundary it felt like witnessing a slow-moving car crash. When Dobbo fell Marc went out and survived the rest of Dye's over, leaving 10 to win from 2 overs and Fez on strike against Drummond. Thankfully Fez struck three well-timed and powerful off-side blows, two of which went for four, to secure the win for a relieved Ditton side with 8 balls to spare.
A win to leave 4-3 for the season and a heck of a game of cricket played in great spirit, on which note it was great to chat to so many Milton players back at the Kings Head.
The fact that rather than being chuffed we won many of us were primarily annoyed at how we collapsed like that again, after Granta, says a lot about a 'winning' mentality and the ambition there is to improve within the squad.
We host Sutton next week, a difficult game but one where, with a stronger side available than last time, we should rightly go into with belief.
The vast majority of our 1st XI were at the Shephards to greet the returning 2nd team, leading to a good few hours of worthwhile discussions about all things cricket and how to keep pushing things forward. 5 players (and our batting consultant) then headed back to McCann's to chat about seemingly anything but cricket (which bizarrely only came up with a comparison between the CCA AGM and the EU referendum). Things only finally wrapped up north of 3am, almost like a week-late Bumps party, a series of events that reflect how there's is a spirit and camaraderie across this club that goes far beyond just cricket.