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Wickets win matches (again...)
TWCC v London Unity June 13th 2021
Match Report Jim Simon

Assuming all keen Gazette readers, and there are no others, read last week's edition, they could be excused for believing that the website had failed to update so numerous are the parallells between this match and that of the previous week. Personnel may vary, but the difficulty of taking ten wickets on an artificial surface if batsmen fail to conspire with bowlers remains. This isn't to say that, within the narrative of the match, there aren't many triumphant performances to register, and some equally momentous failures to gloss over.
An air of bonhomie and goodwill to all pervaded the TWCC dressing room, along with several other airs, as Skipper Brock won the toss and condemned his opening batsmen to rushing about in the considerable heat of the afternoon, which cruel design was cuningly thwarted by Jim who arranged to be bowled by the second ball he faced. Paul, who had pounded the very first ball of the match through point for four, was then, happily, joined by another real batsman in the eager form of Jonathan and this pair went on to produce some proper batting in the face of some proper bowling from Unity stalwart Joe Driver. Care was needed to survive Joe's nippy out-swingers to these left-handers, whereas the less penetrating slow bowling from the Pavilion end was both the means to runs and an opportunity for the batters to get themselves out. Happily survival and scoring prevailed, and Paul and Jonathan took TWCC on to a healthy 53 for 1 before Paul edged a high-bouncing slow ball to first slip, which one-handed catch would have made any highlight reel if such things were a thing. 26 calculated runs (four 4's) from our long-time opener, and the scoring was well under way. Tom Firth, batting at No. 4, was only briefly involved on this occasion before Rob (R) made his understated way to the middle. It seemed, and a glance through the more recent archive entries confirms this, as if this might have been London Unity's first sighting of Rob. Unassuming in his body language, little did they realise that Rob's batting is a force of nature. Unity began by bringing the field in to the new man, and the new man calmly dumped the ball over their heads. A fluke, they thought. Maybe an opportunity? Bowl it again. 4 again. The penny was beginning to drop as Rob smoothly changed up through the gears on his way to a match-defining 66 not out (ten 4's, two 6's) and London Unity will certainly remember him next time. Meanwhile Jonathan was still there, also upping the ante as he took on the bowling in an increasingly forceful manner before he was out to a good catch at mid-on off a hard-hit ball. Coming in so early and, with Paul, working through the opening bowling, and then cashing in with four 4's and a 6, on his way to 42 was a great effort and a testament to his classy play.

Joe Driver neatly avoids getting Paul out

Rob, increasingly dismissive of the bowling, was joined by Edward who continued on his undoubted upward curve in form as illustrated, not least, by the popular vote for shot of the day of a pull/hook off a short ball to square leg for four. Let us not dwell on other candidates such as Rob's wide leg glance for four towards fine leg, or Jim's heroic block of his first ball, or many other shots played by others, for Edward's four was a sight to behold and to enjoy. Then he was out.
Tom (R) went in to bat with his Dad - always a joy to see - and though neither of them was comically run out the vigour made for good watching from the home side's point of view as both Rydons finished the innings with their not out status intact. Tom's quick 9 and rotation of the strike with Rob, who continued the plunder to the end, secured a 200 plus total for the second weekend in a row.
Of note was the over rate which was pretty poor, with just 33 overs being bowled in two and a half hours, so it's just as well that the TWCC batters were able to score at a rate of over 6 per over, and to end up with 205 for 5 on the digiboard.
So. A fine total. 10 wickets required. TWCC's extensive range of fine bowlers. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, I could cut a long story short and disappoint regular readers who savour every piece of pith, but we'll see how it goes...
Ed and Tom, suppliers of the usual blitzkrieg, could be relied upon for a bit of sturm und drang, and it was Ed der das erste Wicket genommen hat whilst Tom, equally tight and fierce, on this occasion had to settle for just being plain devastating without getting a mention in the fourth column. First change, as is TWCC's way, brought no relief for the batters, and Phil, starting with a maiden, moved on to take 3 for 5 in his next 17 balls. Not that he ever went away, but Phil's back!
And so is Matt (E) who was back to his well-oiled self in his 6 overs during which Paul took a t-r-r-r-r-emendous catch in the covers. Jack Moore, keen keeper and powerful left-hander, drove a pacy ball from Matt over Paul some twenty yards from the bat, but Paul has arms that go higher than his head, and he pushed the ball up, kept his eye on the debris and clung onto the falling ball. A great wicket, and probably the main reason that Unity were unable, as the game progressed, to attempt to overhaul TWCC's score. Joe Driver, marooned, now had to consider whether or not the visitors should continue to loosely bat on with runs in mind, or whether to simply try to survive. Not that surviving was easy as first Brocky, with a high catch taken by Jim, and then Rob, holding on to a mincing catch off his own bowling, convinced the visitors to stop trying to make headway against the strong tide and to drop anchor.
It then got a little dull. Verging on very dull, though, as Brocky worked through the beauty pageant of bowling options at his disposal, we did get to see single overs from Edward, Tom Firth and lastly Paul who, when, after the third ball of the last over of the game had dribbled off Joe Driver's bat to irrevocably deny TWCC a win, flipped the ball past the advancing Joe leaving Jonathan to whip off the bails. The last chapter was written, and a draw had been acheived by London Unity.
Jonathan had once again had a great day behind the timbers, with 2 sharp catches and a stumping to his name. Just 2 byes is a credit to his agility and skill, especially given the frequent opportunities he has to fail. Pick of the bowling was undeniably from Phil who continues to deliver balls that clip the very top of the stumps from an awkward length which, when this control is combined with a bit of movement off the pitch, means that it's no surprise that he ended with the commendable figures of three for 18 off 8 overs.
Significant contributions were, on this occasion, from our main batting arsenal, but it is worth noting that TWCC's batting strength doesn't stop there, with Tom (R) only just getting going at tea, and with the likes of Ed, Matt, Brocky and Phil to come high scores are becoming an expectation not an aspiration. Let us hope that this potential is fully on tap as TWCC march on to Jevington next week.

TWCC won the toss and chose to bat first.

TWCC Innings: P Hunter Ct (slip) Bld McKenzie 26; J Simon Bld J Driver 0; J Rowland Ct  D Ghashemi Bld McKenzie 42; T Firth Ct D Ghashemi Bld McKenzie 3; R Rydon not out 66; E Bunn Ct J Driver Bld D Ghashemi 33; T Rydon not out 9. DNB E Howes, M Edwards, R Brock, P Steinke. Extras 26 (B3, LB1 W20, NB2) Total 205 (33 overs).
Fall: 1-4; 2-53; 3-61; 4-105; 5-186.
London Unity Bowling: S Columbine 5-1-21-0; J Driver 7-2-18-1; McKenzie 7-0-46-3; M Driver 5-0-37-0; J Uren 3-0-24-0; M Daniels 3-0-32-0; D Ghashemi 3-0-22-1.

London Unity Innings: J Burke Bld P Steinke 22; M Cockburn Ct J Rowland (wk) Bld E Howes 3; J Caulfield Bld P Steinke 12; D Ghashemi Ct J Rowland (wk) Bld P Steinke 4; J Moore Ct P Hunter Bld M Edwards 5; J Driver St J Rowland 22; D McKenzie Ct J Simon  Bld R Brock 6; J Uren Ct & Bld R Rydon 11; M Driver not out 6; S Columbine not out 0. DNB M Daniels. Extras 10 (B2, LB2, W5, NB1) Total 105 for 8 (42 overs).
Fall: 1-11; 2-30; 3-39; 4-44; 5-48; 6-59; 7-81; 8-104.
TWCC Bowling: E Howes 8-4-16-1; T Rydon 9-2-21-0; P Steinke 8-3-14-3; M Edwards 6-0-14-1; R Rydon 4-0-9-1; R Brock 4-0-16-1; E Bunn1-0-4-0; T Firth 1-1-0-0; P Hunter 1-0-4-1.

Match Drawn.

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