Breakfast at the Wensum Lodge and it sounds like we’ve employed a Lancashire taxi hire company to get us to Cambridge as Higginbottom and Shufflebotham drive over to Cambridge to meet up with the Gardeners just playing the Sunday of the East Anglia tour. Today it’s a timed game and home skipper Cai Read won the toss and opted to field (he’s obviously heard about our batting collapses and fancies testing our mettle).
Dave Hollingsworth and Pete Shufflebotham opened the innings and got us off to good start, adding 30 until Pete (13) was caught at the wicket off Milhan. The captain added 26 with 2-Bats until he fail to connect properly with a full toss and spooned up a catch to midwicket for 11 off his opposite number. Roger McCann is looking focused and settles in well as Dave fell to another catch for a well made 33. Enter Stuart Bruce who started hitting the ball cleanly from the off, putting us into the ascendant. Roger is far to bright a star to be outshone and the Ulster Maestro was matching the South Coast Slammer shot for shot as our fairly pedestrian scoring rate gained impetus. At 29 overs we were on 89-3 and by the end of the 38th we’d reached 180-3. Roger completed his half century and shortly after decided to retire as Stuart uncharacteristically missed a sequence of deliveries then pinched the strike off the last ball of the over. “Did you and Roger frequently discuss tactics to get the runs flowing?” inquired the captain. “No, hardly said a word” reported Stuart. Stuart made it to 51 then was stumped off De Saxe. Sachith, Joe and Nick all flailed along with mixed degrees of success until we declared at 211-6.
Did I mention how splendid the weather was? This was matched by the tea – thanks to our hosts – and we headed out into the field determined to make early inroads. Joe Woolmore’s heroic efforts on the Saturday are rewarded early as he trimmed Sybil Stackpoole’s bails with a sharp off cutter. Sanjeewa Jayathilake was also bowling a good accurate spell putting the batsmen under pressure. It felt like a second wicket was imminent for a while but chances were not going to hand as Evans and Rutter proceeded to gain confidence and play some good shots – Evans driving particularly impressive whilst Rutter worked the ball around neatly. Lord Fakenham produced a good spell at first change, only surrendering 14 runs in 5 overs whilst David Stead varied his pace, seam position and the field (“let’s attack” he agreed with the captain for a couple of overs) for no tangible return in the shape of wickets. As the final 20 overs approached the run rate had been moderate but importantly there were a lot of wickets in hand. Stuart steamed in eager to “win the match single handed” (his words not mine) but struggled to find the best line, the batsmen using the pace well to locate the square boundaries. Sachith almost inevitably got the breakthrough, bowling the ailing Rutter (who had pulled a muscle and recruited a runner) for solid 43. David Wilson played some good forcing shots as he and Evans upped the ante until Stuart – now into his rhythm – bowled him for 16. Shortly after Evans completed an excellent century and with Perrera (24 unbeaten) saw Jesus College over the finishing line. Well played.
Jesus College won by 7 wickets.