Bentworth vs Littleton & West Hill II

Another glorious afternoon beckoned at the home of cricket (for Bentworth CC at least). The larks soared over the adjacent farmer’s field but could the Mighty B’s similarly remain so beautifully on high and continue their recent unbeaten run? That little niggle of doubt was there – as skip had so judiciously reminded us we’d only beaten teams towards the bottom of the table so far (albeit at least one containing a former Minor Counties player)…. L&W’s record this season told of a team which was far better on the road than at home.

All was set – a decent mid league oppo, pitch looking wonderful courtesy of the supreme efforts of Pete and Max, a hearty tea including yet again a strawberry cream cake loving assembled by the crew at The Sun and complimented by an outstanding lemon drizzle cake courtesy of the good Mrs Mitten, Angie with her full array of pens for book keeping duties. Bentworth had an established 11 (no debuts this week) and well balanced line up. Skip proceeded to lose the toss, the first their skipper had won for c 2 years so he said, and the ides looked more worrying. We were duly inserted and against a miserly bowling attack Doc put in his first solid appearance for at least a week. At the other end Trev got a good nut to return to the Pav early whereupon Stevie – our Mr Reliable, promoted to no 3 strode to the wicket.

Runs were accumulated and well earned against the L&W attack and at drinks we were going along c 2 rpo but no further mishaps. Doc held his end up well and Stevie started to play more shots refreshed by Sainsbury’s finest OJ. Having made a respectable 24 he mistimed one back to the bowler but at least we had a foundation. New Ben, having spent much time preparing his new bat for combat, decided to use a borrowed one. Let’s say I’m sure his new one will work better. So 3 down for 60 odd and a bit of momentum needed perhaps to support Doc. Chairman had a few lusty blows and then one too many but at least this time he left the pitch retaining full control of his bat and with the score advanced towards the 100 mark. The team was pleading for skip to pad up and play the sort of cameo of which only he, Freddie Flintoff or Ian Botham are capable. But no, he had faith in his batting line up and besides Angie had inked the order in the book.

So Benny the Fish and Dave went in their due place and all contributed whilst Doc continued to play the all important anchor role with the occasional glorious shot unfurled against the tiring bowlers. So with a few overs to go Doc eventually got out for a magnificent 58 leaving the stage to Ali and Jezza to launch one last blitzkrieg to add more batting points. Now apparently Jezza hasn’t hit a six for the Bs yet. But with 13 needed from the final over first Ali pumped one over the boundary and then, not to be outdone, Jezza smashed another. Whilst his running may have resembled a gnu with a steel hip trying to progress over a particularly icy lake, his hitting could not be faulted at we added our 6th batting point. We feel there will be more heard of this over the ne DT weeks, months, years but hey read the scorebook!

So the usual conundrum of whether to launch a full scale attack on tea or hold back for our spell in the field was faced and ignored by the men of Bentworth. Well, you can resist coronation chicken sarnies and cakes to make Paul Hollywood envious.

And perhaps it showed a little bit early on in the field. Ali appeared somewhat off balance in his delivery stride although Kenny put in yet another masterclass (8-4-14-0). But wickets wouldn’t come even to skip’s devilish and pacy offies. Whilst the run rate never rose too high, their openers got them to at least 40 before at last skip got the breakthrough. By now most of us had at least partially digested tea and so everything picked up. Doc, not happy with leading the way with the bat, grabbed the ball and set about wrecking their middle order taking 3-18 including whipping their most threatening batsman’s off peg out the ground. Andy and Kenny, The B’s version of fine French claret, improving with every year that passes. Benny Mack got his heat up and bowled a good spell grabbing a couple of wicks as L&Ws middle order melted like an ice cream in the hot sun.

Fielding by our own admission was as good as it has ever been, Ali of course leading the way but El Trev and his golden boots were everywhere and Jezza the Mighty Hitter held on to a smoking shot at shot extra cover. Steve the ventriloquist fooled everyone to thinking chair had called for a high one to arise from the resulting collision triumphantly holding the ball aloft whilst Rich tried to work out what had hit him. Even old chairman got in on the act standing on a ball which the oppo thought had disappeared under his size 11 and tried a sneaky single to be comfortably run out when the ball resurfaced and was flung to the keeper who smartly removed the bails. Mention should be made of New “umpire, can you see the line” Ben who was positively buzzing behind the sticks and pushed Doc close for man of the match. Rich’s non spinning offies cleared up the tail and the Bs were home by 80’odd runs and off to The Sun for a well deserved pint.

Well played all. Enjoy your weekend off this Saturday.