ASHFIELD JR. INSPIRES 14 RUN WIN THRILLER

TGCC 185 for 8
WOODBOURNE 171 all out

TGCC win by 14 runs

25 degrees and a pleasant setting for Grafton’s fifth run out in the League.  Last man to arrive was the captain – one presumed, given the recent lacklustre start to the season, he was sat staring into a triple JD wondering why he should really bother.

And so, out to bat and not long before Harris edged for 1 and the potential for contagion to spread like every other week so far.  But if there was any single passage of play where the season potentially turned (actually there were about seven later) then the next 45 minutes of Killian, and increasingly Kirk, climbing into the bowling was it.  Killian’s rapid 50 was just what the doctor ordered, although the medical professional would probably have suggested not pulling out of a big shot and tamely spooning a return catch.  Moral of the story Mr Killian if you are reading (or indeed can read) – play like you’re still 18.  A fine innings though, only topped by Kirk’s 70 which not only bludgeoned some decent bowlers but also provided a spine for Grafton to attempt to play around.  I suspect he had no clue that it would be match-winning.  Wheeler and McAdam contributed but there wasn’t much else as the innings petered out.  185 was probably 40 or 50 short, but it was a score and Woodbourne still had to get it.

And so to tea.  Those in the know understand the Cornetto Scale, which starts somewhere at the dizzy culinary heights of Holt and finishes somewhere in a coolbox, via a Domino’s sourced emergency fare.  A bowl of beef chilli, cremated potatoes (which were wisely left where they died) and 6 ham sandwiches really didn’t cut it for the vegetarians.  Had Jesus done anything like this when he did his loaves and fishes number, I’m not sure that brand of monotheism would have taken off.  As if Harvey hadn’t lost enough weight on his bike ride (did anyone know he did a bike ride? anyone?), by the time he walked out to field the man was a mere husk.

A lost (new) ball meant an immediate bowling change and a mixed start to the Woodbourne innings. Pedley, who one presumes had contracted another of those ailments of his, was taken off after one over to be replaced by Harris bowling with one of the potatoes that never made it out of the kitchen.  Needless to say he started with three maidens while Benjamin, initially battered, began to tighten his grip.  The key wicket belonged to Pedley on his return, Rooney being bowled by a cracking yorker for 22.  At this stage Woodbourne still had the game under control only for the return of Harris to take two quick wickets, the first a neat little catch round the corner from Benjamin, the second a dubious (I’m afraid) lbw.  Whatever – 53 for 3 and you never know.  And it was at that high point that Woodbourne simply took the game away from Grafton.  Firstly, needing in excess of 6 an over, they consolidated and then accelerated with scores of 43 and 36 for Coombes and Doveston respectively – contextually match winning.  And less than 3 an over now needed with 15 overs to go.  Eyes rolling, shoulders slumped and Killian ready to fetch his JD and tumbler prior to a short, simple suicide note and a pile of clothes on the nearest beach – fifth straight defeat on its way.  Bring on Ben Ashfield.  Why not?  Feed him into the mincer and we can all go home even earlier.  Sure enough, his first delivery was pitched in his own half, lollipopped up, batsman’s eyes shone radiantly with expectation as his mind clearly raced with the perplexing decision of which square boundary to muller it over and promptly sliced it into the hands of backward point.  I have never seen anyone so angry – although more bat throwing was to come.  What followed was quite remarkable as Woodbourne slid from 132 for 3 to 158 for 4 and then lost their last six wickets for 11 runs.  Ashfield, having got his worst ball out of the way early, took 4 wickets and thoroughly deserved to.  McAdam bowled his heart out and a tight fielding performance, ably led by Wheeler behind the stumps, made a big difference.  The emaciated Harvey tightened the screw and the return of the superb Pedley (10-3-18), now bowling in the gloom with the throbbing strains of ‘Staying Alive’ pulsating from the sports club behind him, really was far too much for the Woodbourne tail to handle.  Harvey finished them off 14 short.

Scorecard – https://templegrafton.play-cricket.com/website/results/3749192

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