May 22nd, 2022 – Cholsey Cricket Club, Ratcliffe Court, Wallingford
TOP KNOCKERS – 151 for 7 (30 overs)
S Ahmed: 50, B Bridgeman: 25
Head: 2-13, Reeves: 2-22
CHOLSEY – 121 for 9 (25 overs)
K Ahmed: 3-22, J Macaulay: 2-12
RESULT: TOP KNOCKERS WON BY 30 RUNS
MATCH REPORT: (Bobby Bridgeman #29)
Crash. Bang. Wallop.
Whatsapp: ‘Me and Ed might be a little late.’
Not a phrase uncommon with TKCC players spread across the country, however the reasons behind this were more than mere traffic. Skip for the day, Alf, was involved in a major car accident just hours before the match begun and most of us would have understood if he had to duck out on this occasion. However, Alf’s unwavering and insatiable drive to represent the Knockers meant that ‘he found a way’ ably supported by debutant Ed who relinquished opening the batting to get the Fonz to the ground on time.
Elsewhere, the Birmingham car was also stuck in unforeseen traffic and the prospects for play were looking very bleak indeed, but this is tale of triumph over adversity and the Brummies arrived in the nick of time and play got underway under glorious Oxfordshire blue skies. This was the first fixture against Cholsey, and we had a warm welcome at a very picturesque ground.
PJ and Shahed made a steady start on a slow pitch with unpredictable bounce before Cholsey’s backward point took a ‘worldie’ to dismiss Paul diving full length to his left to take a one-handed grab. ‘I started to run as soon as I hit it because there was no way he was catching that…’ PJ’s reaction tells you what a fine snare it was.
Khaled became Reeves’ second victim when he was trapped in front before Bobby and Shahed then shared a partnership of 70 in 13 overs. The outfield was slow, so it was fortuitous that two of TKCC’s finest physical specimens were at the crease to turns those ones into twos and even threes!
Shahed reached his second consecutive half century, another fine knock which again included an audacious switch hit to the boundary before he selflessly took on a suicidal second run in the 24th over with the score at 104.
Debutant and chauffeur for the day, Ed then came to the crease and his first contribution was running a 3 – that must be a first for this team? Dropped by the keeper on 1, Ed took full advantage with some imperious drives showing that he is clearly one to watch in the future.
Bobby departed for 25 and Jim then made an eye-catching 10 but a late flurry of wickets impacted the run-rate in the latter overs. Ed’s unbeaten 22 ably supported by Jamie got the total up to a competitive 151-7 from 30 overs.
A tasty tea complete with a well-stocked beer fridge and keg of ale was the perfect preparation for fielding and Jamie continued his fine form opening the bowling with another miserly 6 overs which yielded just 17 runs. He took the opening wicket, finding the edge of the dangerous-looking Padwick with the score on 32.
Ed opened from the other end in a short spell which included a vicious bouncer that struck the helmet before Khaled took the match by the scruff of the neck with a superb spell of 5 overs 3 for 22. Maddox was bowled through the gate and Sarjant was caught by PJ at point before Bunting became Khaled’s third victim.
The ball before this wicket fell, PJ turned to Bobby in the gully and predicted, ‘it’s coming to one of us next ball.’ Perhaps PJ needs to play the lottery more often because low and behold it did go to him but required a fine sprawling catch diving forward to his left.
With the game under control, the Ramadin and Valentine of TKCC, Jim and Bobby, took up the middle overs. Jim was bowling spin because he yet again pulled his hamstring in the field however many in the team are now suggesting this is purely a ruse to ensure he does no running.
Nevertheless, Jim returned very tidy figures of 220.127.116.11. both wickets finding the gap between bat and pad to send the bails flying. A note too at this point for some excellent ground fielding from Ed who was swooping in the covers like the ubiquitous Red Kites that are often overhead in Oxon.
Amongst some abject filth, Bobby picked up two wickets as well including a fine catch from heroic skipper Alf at mid-on and a very smart stumping from Sunny, who with his floppy white hat, continues to channel Bob Taylor and Jeff Dujon behind the sticks. This would be a good moment to point out that Alf took to the field in bare feet due to most of his kit being involved in the earlier accident and he even bowled an over without any form of footwear. [bowing hands emoji]
With the home side hoping for an unlikely victory with some lusty blows late-on, it was the other debutant and proud Scot Pete to complete the win, enticing Wooton down the track. Sunny completed the stumping and maintained the 100% start to this 2022 season for the Knockers. Hats off to Alf for showing incredible commitment to the team and for leading us to another victory filled with fine performances across the board.
Champagne moment from the day was probably ‘PJ’s prophecy’ mainly because your reporter was the sole witness to his sorcery in field. Onto the next one Knockers!