Bates 99 in vain as Leigh chase clinches Trans Mole Cup
By Antony Ireland
By Chris Hudson
The 2018 Trans Mole Cup (held annually between Reigate and Leigh) appeared to be within the grasp of our boys this year as the oppo were short a few regular players and the selection sheet was full of decent options. However, like six of the last seven years, the cup would stay in Leigh.
Having gifted four of his potential players to the oppo to ensure the event was viable, the skipper felt reasonably secure in his side’s ability. But as usual, late changes in the league teams above meant surrendering a pivotal player at the last minute- this time Ahmer Javaid, one of the few seamers in the attack. No matter, a well-disciplined field and good rotation of the bowlers might do the job as long as the toss could be won. It wasn’t.
Leigh ask the Vi-Kings to bat and opening up were Geoff ‘Caveman’ Chay with Tom ‘roll up’ Mason. At this point it became apparent that Leigh had nothing but slow bowling to offer and this somewhat befuddled the lads, who were hoping to cart some quicks to the rope. Charlie Harris (nominally one of ours but this time playing for Leigh) was able to convince Mason (10) to sweep one to square leg who picked it off his shoelaces. Jamie Quantick
was in next and wanted to demonstrate that the dreary batting performance by the 6s the previous week was an anomaly. Sadly his big innings will have to be delayed as he misjudged a swinging ball that clipped his off peg. Tommy Bates
, hero of the match at Abinger arrived at the crease and started to accumulate immediately. At the other end, Caveman was slogging away; impressive in his ability not to let the several deliveries he had played over top of undermine his confidence. Having reached his traditional quarter century he finally lost the battle and was caught at mid-wicket (also traditional). Chris Bates
(for it was he) was in next and was keen to re-enact his brilliant partnership with his son. Unfortunately the slow bowling (some of it VERY slow) proved to be a difficult temptation to resist for Bates Jr. and he top edged to point for 16. Erstwhile VI-King legend Cameron Stewart
took guard and signalled good intent with some immediate boundaries. It took a quicker ball Yorker to get past him- not seen before or since- and he was unlucky not to go on. Meanwhile Bates Senior was beavering away with some hard hit shots. While not exactly looking comfortable he was in control and determined not to give away his wicket (probably more concerned about looking like a Goose at VI-Kings level than losing the Cup). ‘Snapper’ Waine was in and out faster than a Love Island contestant. Jim ‘Tokyo’ Harmer, an important stalwart for the team but many would argue overused, attempted to show how effective his practice sessions had been but realised all too late that damp tracks at Leigh are not the same as the nets at Park Lane. At number 8 was Majid ‘Majd’ Azam, on loan from Tadworth CC for the day. He was a welcome addition to the side as his ebullient personality and energy kept the team going when the mood had dipped. If only he had saved some of that energy for his batting. He was back in the shed for not may being bowled through the gate. At this stage the score was about 130 odd for 8 and the omens bad. Enter Hudson, the skipper. Many would say his batting form has been…inconsistent of late (code for rubbish?), despite all the remedial work attempted by Richie Oliver in the nets. But on this day he finally stepped up- well, held an end up anyway. Bates Sr. and Hudson were able to navigate their way to 100 run partnership, surviving a few interesting moments (“how did that miss?”) and an injury to Bates late in the innings. At the close, Bates had reached 99* (although a school of thought exists that a misinterpreted leg bye may have cost him the recognition of a ton) and Hudson 28* (not pretty, but the scorebook says what is says). Reigate would defend 232.
Leigh started slowly as Mason and Azam tied them down with some good line and length. After ten overs the score had reached 20 something for 1 (run out). First change saw the emergence of the JAYDEV VYAS
, back from a long term injury but the same man in terms of his fighting spirit. After a couple of sacrificial overs to find his line, he was causing the batsmen some issues with his late turn. Unfortunately, the cost in runs was a little dear as Leigh started their charge. Tommy Bates
, usually a tidy left-armer, found that his deliveries were sticking in the track a bit and the wind was foiling his swing. Second change bowlers Quantick and Harmer were not successful this day (although one was more economic than the other). Hudson hung on to a catch at mid-off, but this would prove to be the last one that stuck in a Reigatian hand this day; there were several dropped chances that ultimately decided this game. Another challenge were the number of players afflicted with mobility issues as a result of injury- shots that might have been chased down seemed to easily find the rope. Included in this group was Chris Bates
who was nursing a hip injury acquired during his innings and thus fielding (virtually one legged) with an ice bag down his trousers. To make matters worse, the on loan Jason Irwin chose this game to hit his top score (26) for the oppo and rub salt in the wound of the beleaguered VI-Kings. When a back peddling Hudson shelled a chance at mid-on to dismiss the Leigh top scorer (Herman) in the penultimate over it was the fourth time the batsman had been put down by the team. No further demonstration of what it takes to win was required by then. Leigh cruised to victory by a healthy 6 wicket margin. Frustrating once again, but one day the cup will return. One day.
Man of the match for his innings, his fielding heroics and his leadership on the day was Chris Bates
Ultra posse nemo obligatur