A day to prove what a wonderful and yet frustrating sport we play. A fine game that came down to the last ball and was drawn with scores level but yet a long list of imponderables and queries as to the format of the game were debated as we were denied a victory to keep us in the hunt for the league (admittedly if we had won the league would almost certainly be decided by the toss of the coin at Hadley Wood).
A grey overcast and humid day amongst the posh houses of Chigwell (no squatters in sight) greeted an unusually punctual Pacific team. Skip Webbo won the toss and chose to bowl as we needed a victory.
Nuggsy and Jon B opened the bowling and proved the virtue of right arm line and length top of off stump. Their frugality would have impressed even the IMF as they only conceded 31 runs off 21 overs for a wicket apiece with Nuggsy at one point bowling 5 maidens on the trot. Toby was excellent at cover. Rob Allum who opened for Chigwell was unusually restrained and made Trott look exciting as compiled a stodgy but ultimately very valuable fifty that held Chigwell's batting together. He should have been Mankaded on a couple of occasions but the skipper did not deem it proper and discouraged his bowlers from doing so.
Unfortunately the rest of the bowling attack was not so parsiminious. Webbo failed to swing the ball much for once but bowled pretty tidily. Tom sadly made Harmy look accurate as his two overs brought the best from Ben who was keeping but did not test the batsmen much. James S bowled a good spell and took three deserved wickets (including two skiers that were well held by Tom and the bowler himself). Aroon bowled well without any fortune (particularly the spinning ball in the outfield that left fielders red faced). Ahmed's two overs at the end were not his finest as Chigwell's attack on the bowling peaked.
A good tea was munched wondering how Chigwell had got to 205 off 45 (including some puzzlement at strangely harsh bowling figures)
Our reply started badly when Steve R chipped to square leg early on. Toby and Jon patiently dealt with the opening seam bowlers as they made a fifty partnership. Toby never really hit his straps and was bowled by a beaut for 25 just the last 20 was about to start. Tom then joined a tiring Webbo at the crease and Tom played supremely as he used his feet well to clock the spinners round the park. Unfortunately just after he got to fifty he wandered from his crease and was stumped by a keeper who done very well to collect a ball that had spat off the pitch. The skip then found his groove despite looking like a candidate for a heart attack every time Ben hussled him for a two. Despite the overly negative fields we closed in on the target until Jon was bowled (for a fine 80odd) by a shooter in the penultimate over. Lahri was then run out first ball bravely attempting a single to mid off. This left 8 needed off the last over with Ben and James S at the crease. They ran well and levelled the score off the penultimate ball. However, Ben could only push Rob Allum's yorker to short mid on and was run out by a country mile.
Well done to Chigwell on winning the league (again). It was agonising to come so close.