TEMPLE GRAFTON 181 for 9
NORTON LINDSEY 2nds 185 for 8
Norton Lindsey 2nds won by 2 wickets
Classic Grafton Bingo.
- A Killer 50, tick
- Killer not going on to his ton, tick
- Grafton batting collapse, tick
- Set a total over 30 runs short of par, tick
- Bowl ourselves back into contention, tick
- Drop to catch ratio 50%, tick
- Holty aghast at the sheer audacity of a batsman to middle a ball that may well have gone on to hit the stumps, tick
- Grafton lose a game that, despite our best efforts to throw away with the bat, we should have won, tick
To the actual game. We arrived at the picturesque ground of Norton Lindsay, only to discover the highways agency had only gone and built a bloody motorway right through the heart of the village. Initial thoughts centred around whether 270 would be enough. Grafton won the toss and had no hesitation in choosing to bat first. Openers Kirk and Killian started cautiously, but Killian was fortunate to survive a nick straight to second slip in the second over. However, he made the most of his chance, batting with unusual caution initially, but gradually went through the gears to construct yet another fine 50. Opening bowler Webber finished his 10 over spell (1-35), and can feel unfortunate to only pick up the one wicket, Kirk caught at point. Johnston, promoted to no 3 following his good form over the first 2 games found the going tough, with the nagging length of Webber offering him nothing to hoick to leg. The introduction of Kite was always going to be his downfall. Throwing the ball up above the eyeline, Johnners was finding it increasingly hard to maintain his discipline, and was soon on his way stumped for 9 from 39 balls.
At 110 for 2 Grafton were well set at the half way point to push on to that 270 target. However, Jarrett was caught at point, the very ball after being offered a life, and Badger spammed a full toss straight back to the bowler, the first of 3 caught and bowled off a full toss for Nijjar (4-26). Killian was next to depart falling short of a coulda, woulda, shoulda ton and 120 for 2 quickly became 140 for 5 with still plenty of overs in the bank to negate. Andrew Thorpe made it all look easy with an excellent 33, but when he departed with the score on 171, Grafton were left to stumble to the 45th over, finishing on a well below par 181 for 9.
The Norton reply got off to a steady start against the good lines of Pedley and the returning Grafton legend Anthony Holt. Holty playing his first game for Grafton since injuring his knee in 2015. We all waited in anticipation to witness the first Holty delivery. Famous for his normal 0.3mph first ball loosener that barely reaches 22 yards – what would 2 seasons out of the game do? It all started off as classic Holty. Run, run, stop, cough, run, stop, bowl. But clearly, with 2 years of pent up cricketing anger bursting out, the biggest shock of the day shamed all who doubted, as he fired his first delivery at normal pace (2 foot down leg).
Pedley got the first breakthrough trapping Nijjar LBW, but Norton moved on towards their target with increasing aggression. It was the introduction of Benjamin and Jarrett that turned the game in Grafton’s favour with a superb 20 over spell that created pressure at both ends. Benjamin put a 10 run first over behind him, and returned with an excellent 3 for 28. Whilst at the other end Jarrett, full of high pitched yelps and eye popping aggression that we all used to hate, but now it’s on our side we quite like, an impressive 2 for 37. With 67 required from the final 13 overs, and only 4 wickets remaining, the game hung in the balance. Despite an unusually strong second spell from Pedley (3-23), Grafton were unfortunate to come up against a resilient Robins, who calmly guided the tail over the line with a match winning 65 not out. Grafton were unfortunate to lose a well fought game that could have gone either way right to end.