Early Saturday morning the Foxes travelled to Farnham for a potential league decider against a very strong team. This was a rearranged fixture due to weather, with the opposition insisting the only time it could be played was at 9am on a Saturday morning. As we arrived at the ground in humid and overcast conditions with dew still on the outfield, it was clear that the toss was going to be an important factor in the outcome of the game. Unfortunately lady luck wasn’t with the Foxes and we were asked to bat first.
Henry G and Scott M opened the batting and were confronted for the first 6 overs by the unusual combination of pace and leg-spin. While the opening pair kept their wickets intact, they made very slow progress failing to consistently put the bad ball away and when they did connect, the damp outfield preventing boundaries. In the 8th over and only 30 on the board Scott M fell, caught at cover trying to push the score along. Lucas H joined Henry G at the crease and tried to get the scoreboard moving. With the score on 63 in the 12th over, Henry G fell to a catch for 17s. Now Tom W arrived at the crease and the pair started to move the scoreboard on with Lucas H retiring for a well-made 30, at a run a ball, bringing Barnaby JH to the crease. When Tom W was stumped for 17 & Henry C was caught at mid-wicket the next ball, a below par score looked on the cards. In the 19th over Barnaby changed all that byblitzing 6 fours in a row. All that was need was to get Barney on strike for the final over. Unfortunately he was run-out off the first ball trying to get the strike and what followed was a clatter of wickets with George B & Miles Huffam caught behind & Ben P run-out with only one run being added in the final over.
130 for 8 was a defendable total if the Foxes bowled at their best, had a good start and took all their chances. But by now the sun was out, the outfield was quick & Farnham are a very strong batting side. Unfortunately what followed was the Foxes worst bowling performance of the season. Normally if one team member has an off day, someone else steps up – but not today. Normally the ever reliably Barny JH over pitched & was driven for boundaries while Scott M went for 18 off his first 2 overs. George B who bowled so well the night before, bowled too short and was ruthlessly dispatched at over 10 runs an over & when a chance was offered up the catch was put down. By the 9th over both openers had retired with the score on 81. Lucas H bowled a couple of overs for 9 runs but didn’t really threaten, Henry C regularly dropped short and was punished. Both openers retired unbeaten, Farnham by now were cruising to victory picking off the bad balls under no pressure and the Foxes didn’t look like taking a wicket. Henry G bowled a couple of over for 15 and then Barney & Scott M returned for tidy spells but the damage had been done. The final run was hit in the 18th over, a comfortable victory set up by the fast start to the innings.
While on the day the better side won – the frustration was the Foxes hadn’t played to their full potential in all aspects of the game. The positives were that the batting, although slow to start accelerated nicely to a credible total & the fielding was far better than the previous year encounter showing that the practice was paying off. When under pressure in the field it is the small things make the difference - being able to see them and react to them is the next stage of development for the team.
Something to work on for next years encounter!