VI-Kings turn up the heat on Leigh
By Chris Hudson
Reigate Priory VI-Kings 200-7 (35 ovs) beat Leigh CC 182-7 (33) by 18 runs
On what was to be the hottest day of the year so far, the teaser for the Trans Mole Cup in August was played out. The opposition was depleted and so, feeling flush with a number of extra players raising their hand, the skipper offered to lend Leigh a few guys to ensure the match got going. By Friday evening he was regretting this gesture as his own side had been decimated by the usual shenanigans in the league sides above and so there wasn’t the same surplus to be had. In the end, the match went ahead as a 9 vs. 10 with two Reigate regulars deputising for the oppo.
As Hudson was one of the lucky ones going across to Leigh (along with Richard Boon), the VI-Kings were skippered by Geoff ‘Caveman’ Chay. Miraculously, he won the toss and decided that his boys would be setting the pace this day. Starting off was the one and only Barnacle (Wilson), who was partnered with up-and-coming youth player Jonny Long. For the second week in a row the opening stand went for more than 50 runs although the lads were lucky to have the large gaps in the field that playing against nine men affords one. Eventually, Long (29) holed out in the ring, which saw the inaugural VI-Kings innings from Chay (19) for this season. He too has a penchant for slogs to leg and unfortunately the deputising VI-Kings on Leigh knew all about this making sure that a deep square and cow corner fielder were in place. This forced the skipper to try to play ‘in the V’ which he was able to manage for precisely 4 boundaries before he got found out there too. Dismissed by a decent catch at mid on by Leigh’s star player.
Next in was Mark ‘Snapper’ Waine (7) who continued his good run with the bat until the donkey dropper managed to get straight one to hit his leg. Dave Littlemore turned up and decided he had no better chance to hit a score than this. He carted several wide deliveries and stole the odd 3 to very quickly reach 41. Leigh had no answer to him and so they did what every team should do in such situations- bowl straight. That did for Dave. Meanwhile, at the other end Wilson was marching progressively towards his best score of the season and even found success with the cover drive for a change. He made the magnanimous decision to retire to let the rest of the batsmen fill their boots, having paused on 73*. Well done that arthropod. The remaining batsmen, giddy with opportunity or perhaps heat stroke were not quite a successful. Newcomer Adam Smith observed the VI-King debut tradition and got a duck. Tom Mackrell (11*) was a vision in his lovely hat and made some gloriously dramatic strokes to help ebb the oppo’s remaining energy by sending them on a few chases. Ned Littlemore can’t complain about his dismissal as he was bowled by a peach and Tim Davies was run out in the last over trying for the inevitable (but not evident) second run. 200-7 at stumps and even though Leigh had managed to entice another player to turn up late by this stage it seemed a defendable score.
Leigh’s innings started well with their tame South African and stalwart keeper (Cox) reaching 30 very quickly. However the effort of having fielded in the high heat started to show and a tired drive to extra cover saw Cox go for 7. In came Mark Bounds who has menaced the VI-Kings attack in previous matches but thanks to some direct bowling from young TJ Cossey (4-39) was sent back to the shed for not many. Next in was…well, let’s just say a player who the VI-Kings know very well. His previous poor run of form was also well known to the team and so every opportunity was taken to remind Hudson (for it was he) of the pressure of the situation. When you’re in a slump it can take some getting out of. So it will be for the Captain, as he has to get back to the nets and rebuild his swing after yet another duck. That is not to take anything away from Cossey who’s instincts told him that it is always worth bowling leg stump Yorkers to a bunny. If Hudson thought he go away and lick his wounds he was mistaken as staff shortages mean he really only had time to remove his leg pads before needing to officiate the next delivery as Umpire. Perhaps that explained the curious let off for Richard Boon who was hit on the pads next ball in a very proximate location but was allowed to stay by the still sulking Hudson. No matter, Cossey had Boon feathering one to the keeper several balls later and so was not denied the wicket in the end. At this stage, things settled for Leigh as their other opener Dale Horsten was defiantly marching towards a good score and their skipper joined him at the crease. Together they took Leigh’s score from 4-50 to 4-100 and things started to look interesting. Only the spell of VI-Kings secret weapon ‘Snapper’ Waine did the trick of enticing Horsten (50) to nick one to slip and break the good run. With a mountain left to climb, Hirschfield (Leigh’s captain) recognised he needed to do it all on his own, and damn well got close as he reached 72*. Reigate did well to contain the partnerships as they started to experience a certain fatigue themselves. A brilliant catch in the deep by Dave Littlemore seemed to be the beginning of the end for Leigh but the tail-ender did a terrific job of supporting his skipper and only an amazingly athletic run out by Ned Littlemore saw the home side over the line. It looked a close run thing.
Good effort by all in the stifling heat. Two wins on the trot now for the VI-Kings.
Ultra posse nemo obligatur.