|Date||5 August 2017|
|Venue||Monkhams Lane, Woodford Wells, IG8 0NL|
|Result||W (Woodford Wells 267 M.Webb 133, Brentwood 268-5 R.Walford 84 M.Davis 58)|
Anticlimactic run chase sees Brentwood home with overs to spare.
Brentwood travelled to one of the more quaint and peculiar grounds in the league at Woodford Wells hoping to continue their strong push for the title. It was certainly a game where looking at the scorecard alone would not tell the full story.
The day started with some of the usual club cricket fun and games, Dave Balroop having to do his familiar dart away from the pastries and Anam Hussein missing his train (and subsequently his lift from the station). Out in the middle, a slice of luck happened as Pocock accidentally called heads instead of the standard tails only for it to be a correct call. Brentwood would be chasing on the postage stamp.
After some slight confusion over ends, it became Balroop from the pavilion end and Bainbridge from the garden end. No prizes for guessing which one was up hill.
The innings started relatively tight with Bainbridge picking up the first couple of wickets with Hobson taking a smart catch at short cover before Pocock caught one down the leg side to see the back of both openers. The scoreboard looked even healthier for Brentwood when Balroop clattered the timbers twice in two balls to leave Woodford 54/4 after 10 overs.
Then came a frustrating 24 over period for Brentwood as former 1st XI player Robert Marshall & skipper Mark Webb built a formidable partnership with the ball disappearing into the trees and gardens that surround the ground. The pair put on an almost chance less 209 before Marshall (78) succumbed to the returning Bainbridge holing out to Hobson at long on. As so often is the case, one brings two and Webb finally fell for 133 to a Hobson yorker.
Hobson, Hussein and great work in the field helped Brentwood close out the innings in impression fashion. First, Micky Davis rolled back the years with a diving stop in the covers before throwing to Hussein who completed the run out of Goodlet. Hobson then bowled Best next over and Hussein had Patel caught by Wells at long off before Hobson wrapped up the innings getting Schofield LBW. 263/4 collapsing to 267 all out meant that Brentwood went into the tea break the happier of the two sides.
Hobson & Richard Walford started the run chase watchfully before Hobson was bowled by Goodlet for 1. This brought Pocock to the crease at first drop, a position where he'd batted last year successfully and he built a steady partnership with Walford who passed 50 with another controlled boundary. Pocock had survived a couple of chances in getting to 29 before he played the wrong shot to wily spinner Neil French and was out LBW with the total one shy of three figures.
Brentwood took drinks an over early on 111/2 after 22 overs. 157 to win from 23, the game was poised nicely. Marshall and Neil French bowled particularly well in this post drinks period and somehow managed to dry up boundaries on the tiny ground as home skipper Webb showed his course knowledge to get his men in the right place. Davis & Walford only managed to add 45 in the next 10 overs before Walford departed for 84 with Gary Rollins taking the first of three "surprise" catches at cover.
99 needed off the last 10. Davis & Jack Payne started to push the rate before Payne attempted a clip over square leg only to see Neil French (20 stone, 183cm in his own words) leap all of 3cm off the ground and throw up a right hand and clasp onto a catch off of his namesake Louis. This brought Luke Brailey to the middle who opened his account 2nd ball with a six over extra cover. Next over however Davis, having past 50, found the man at deep backward square who took a smart catch low down to leave Brentwood needing 57 off the last six overs.
A watchful next over meant 54 off 5. Opener Wade Goodlet back into the attack. His first ball, a six from Balroop. A few dots, nudged single then a four to end from Brailey.
43 off 4. No dots in the over. Both men hitting sixes and scoring singles off the remainder meant 16 off and a great over.
27 off 3. Goodlet to bowl. First ball, no ball above waist height. Next, a scrambled two. Then the wheels came off. A high no ball top edged for six, 5 wides, then another no ball that the keeper missed crossed the rope for 5 more. A single from Brailey followed by a boundary from Balroop left Brentwood needing two to win. A dot ball followed sadly by another no ball that went passed the keeper meant that 27 runs had come off only 4 legal deliveries.
A strange way to end the game and almost a shame as it was set up for a thrilling climax but certainly it was a nicer feeling for the visitors and with other results falling kindly, it means that Brentwood are within touching distance!
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