TGCC 186 for 7
WARDENS III 169 for 9
Temple Grafton’s upturn in form continued on Saturday with a hard fought win away at Kenilworth Wardens 3rd XI, a result that moves Grafton out of the bottom two at the half way stage of the season. With captain Killian absent ‘working’ (despite being facebook tagged in the pub @6pm on the Friday) Ed Harris stepped in to skipper the side and, to the relief of everyone, ably performed his first task in winning the toss and choosing to bat in blistering heat.
Harris & Wheeler opened the batting in watchful manner on a slow wicket with an even slower outfield, against a disciplined attack – Whiting in particular was very miserly for hosts. The pair passed 50 & both had started to accelerate when Harris (23) was remarkably caught at square leg off a strong pull shot, by a fielder who appeared to be trying to avoid the ball!
Harvey joined Wheeler and they continued to tick along nicely before Wheeler (38) walked for a thin nick through to the keeper. Harvey & Farrow then started to accelerate against a tiring attack. Harvey (31) also walked for a nick. Farrow (26) scored at more than a run a ball before edging to slip. Onens (a brisk 16) soon followed after a mix up with Kirk to leave Grafton 152 for 5.
Not every Cotswold Hills League side can boast a former England international at number seven, but debutant Gareth Barry strode out to the middle, he quickly lost Kirk & Joyce as partners, but found support in McAdam. Some quick running & sharp singles – including a referral to the square leg TV umpire – took Grafton to their highest score of the season 186 for 7, off their 45 overs.
In reply McAdam & Pedley were excellent from the start & didn’t allow any free scoring shots to the opening batsmen. McAdam dismissed both openers leg before wicket, in a fantastic marathon opening spell (8-0-13-2) still in blistering heat.
The change bowlers Benjamin & Joyce continued the good start, but the batsmen were now starting to take risks against them & the scoring rate increased slightly. Joyce picked up the third LBW of the innings to leave the match evenly poised.
Smith & Berry then began to wrestle the initiative back for the hosts, and a match winning partnership threatened. Harris rotated his bowlers well & his hunch in keeping Barry on despite being hit for two fours in his previous over paid off when Berry was caught by Harris. Barry picked up another wicket next ball with Pedley somehow taking a catch at point.
Harvey was introduced into the attack and appeared to have Smith caught behind third ball, but the umpire didn’t give the decision and the batsman didn’t walk. Harvey was unperturbed by this and picked up two wickets in two balls to leave Grafton in control. Smith was looking the sole threat to Grafton and needed support. Bal stuck around with him before Harvey had him caught out, Harvey then won another LBW decision to leave the hosts nine down.
Smith was joined by injured last man Whiting. Initially it looked like they were just trying to play out the overs, but then Smith began to play a few shots. Grafton always appeared in control despite missing a couple of chances to give Harvey (10-2-31-4) his five-for. 19 off the last over proved too much for Smith (76 not out) and Grafton ran out deserved winners by 17 runs.
The win lifts the side out of the relegation zone at the seasons halfway point.