home | contact | search

Holton & Wheatley vs Great Milton

Sunday 21 June 2009

Original Report by John Simpson

Holton regain Audley-Miller cup in Final-Over Victory

 Holton vs Gt Milton (480x360, 25223)

Guy Burford with the trophy after scoring his first fifty for Holton

It was a warm but slightly overcast afternoon last Sunday as we rolled up for the annual challenge match against Great Milton. Great Milton always bring a strong team, and last year they walked away with the trophy. This year, we had high hopes of wresting it back.

Perhaps it was a toss to lose. Anyway, we did, and found ourselves batting on a pitch that needed a couple more hours in the sun.  With the cloud cover we expected some swing with the new ball, and there was certainly some swing around.

Guy Burford went for consistency in the opening batting this time, and decided to open with himself and me.  Graham Hawkins had suggested to me that I might manage to hit the ball further if I ditched my own trusty bat (the ‘deadwood slugger’) and tried one of the Club swipers. He seemed to be right.


Anyway, Guy and I went in, with instructions to get the score moving along. Surprisingly, that’s exactly what happened, with Guy hammering fours to cover and deep mid-off and myself trying to keep pace, off an attack which was quite accurate but sometimes a bit short of a length. The pavilion was stunned as we passed 50 within ten overs, and at the drinks interval we were still there on 110-0, with Guy passed fifty and looking for his first hundred.


But the drinks interval cast its usual spell, and two runs later Guy was caught (58). Phil Knox and I then  tried to keep things going against the spinners, but I holed out (40), and Phil was bowled soon after. At 124-3 two of our three Simons were at the crease, Robinson and Switala, and a lively partnership developed (more fours on a fast outfield). Sadly Simon Robinson was bowled for 14 just after the thirty-over mark, but with the score of 151-4 we had high hopes of a final score of well over 200. We raced on to 185 before Simon Switala was caught for 23, while his partner Dave Williams carried on regardless.


Some alarm set in as Graham Nichols succumbed to a high catch for 0, trying to push the score along; John Kelly had an argument with his pads while completing a sharp single, and eventually reached the safely of the crease just after the ball had broken the wickets, and as we crossed the 200-mark Dave was finally caught for 16. New recruit Luke Evans and non-striker Graham Hawkins saw the final balls off as we ended up on 203 for 9 at the end of forty overs.


Holton & Wheatley   203-9


John Simpson            caught        40

Guy Burford              caught        58

Phil Knox                    bowled      10

Simon Switala           caught       23

Simon Robinson       bowled      14

Dave Williams          caught        16 

Simon Littlewood    caught          9

Graham Nichols       caught          0

John Kelly                 run out          1

Luke Evans               not out          2

Graham Hawkins    not out          0


Fall of wickets:  1-112 (2), 124-2 (1), 124-3 (3), 151-4 (5),  185-5 (6), 194-6 (4), 194-7 (8), 195-8 (9), 202-9 (7)


Run rate:  10 overs – 53, 20 – 110, 30 – 148, 40 – 203


Over tea (courtesy of Graham Hawkins) we wondered whether we might have got a further twenty or thirty runs somewhere or other, but 200 was a good score and we knew it was up to us to tear through the Milton top order.


But with high hopes still in the ascendent we strode out after tea to do battle, and it wasn’t long before we had our first success as Graham Hawkins enticed the Milton No 2 to a defensive prod - caught and bowled. 8 for one, and we hoped for a crash. Graham and John Kelly carried on tidily, but the Milton No 3 looked extremely dangerous. He whisked Graham off for a classy four off his legs, and generally seemed likely to cause mayhem. From slip I thought we had about 30 minutes to get him out before the game was effectively lost.


But, as they say, cometh the hour... A bungled second run – trying to get No 3 back at the batter’s end – gave Guy the opportunity to collect the ball and fire it back to Simon Switala behind the stumps for what we hoped was a match-turning run-out.


With the Milton No 3 gone, we sat back and waited for the real middle order to start. Again sadly we were deceived, as the Milton No 4 had as much meat in his bat as a lorryload of butchers. But before he started to make hay, a deft change of bowling saw Graham Nichols enter the fray in place of Graham Hawkins, and with his first ball he trapped the remaining Milton opening lbw for 5 (32-3).


By now we had the idea that the Milton No 4 was a hard-hitting batsman, and the new batsman too was quite capable of holding his end up. As the total started to increase, we saw the balance of the game edge towards Great Milton. Nevertheless, we nipped away, and when Phil Knox rose feet off the ground to catch the Milton No 5 off John Kelly we assembled for the usual mid-pitch celebrations (71 for 4).


Spin had worked well for Great Milton, and as the match went on Guy turned to newcomer Luke Evans’s off-spin to hold back the tide. As Milton appraoched 100, and Luke was tossing them up temptingly, we finally reaped the dividends as Simon Littlewood caught the Milton plunderer for a quickfire 41 (95-5).


But still we weren’t amongst the Milton rabbits, and we wondered if indeed they did have a tail. With Luke coming to the end of his eight-over stint, I came on at the other end – and together we managed to see another wicket go down (118-6). Each time the outgoing batsman was replaced by another capable bat, and we knew we still had the solid Milton captain ready to come in further down the order.


Guy rang the changes with his bowlers, and Milton climbed to 145 off thirty overs. Ten overs to go and 58 runs to win. You’d have to give the batting side good odds now, and we were wondering where it was all going to end.


Things got tighter, and Graham Nichols and I were left with the remaining overs. Milton No 6 went for 30 with the score on 166 for 7 and the Milton captain arrived to start a memorable innings of 39 – which the mathematically minded will realize takes them more or less to the required total. So things were tight.  No 9 went at 179 for 8, then the Milton captain was caught off a skier by Guy (186-9). Three overs left and it looked as if both remaining batsmen could get the runs if we weren’t careful. A few singles came off the next two overs, and the last over started with Milton needing 13. Had we turned the game or not? Worryingly for the fielders, it was me bowling and the fast outfield beckoned. The first ball went up towards the batsman, on a length and outside the off stump. The batsman saw in his mind’s eye a crashing four through covers, but missed the ball – to be stumped resoundingly by Simon Switala. 192 all out, and Holton and Wheatley had won!


Relief is hardly the word. It was a close-fought match. We should have made more runs but we did well to remove the most dangerous Milton batsmen without suffering too much. But the result was still up in the air until the final over, and both teams retired to the Cricketers in Littleworth to discuss what might have been.


And next week it’s Holton and Wheatley against Richard Denner’s XI. Richard was on hand this Sunday to vet us. So we’ll have to see if we can match this week’s heroics with a fourth victory in a row next week.


Great Milton   192


Graham Hawkins         8-0-37-1

John Kelly                     8-1-38-1

Graham Nichols           8-0-47-2

Luke Evans                    8-0-47-1

John Simpson               7.1-2-19-4


Catches:  Hawkins, Littlewood, Knox, Burford, Nichols

Stumping:  Switala

Run out:  Burford/Switala


Fall of wickets: 1-8 (2), 2-32 (3), 32-3 (1), 71-4 (5), 95-5 (4), 118-6 (7), 166-7 (6), 179-8 (9), 186-8 (8), 192-10 (10)


Run rate: 10 – 39, 20 – 108, 30 - 145