A Kibworth Cracker as the Glorious Green Caps win a thriller to secure Division 6 status.
So we meet again. After a good game of cricket the week before we met Kibworth 4th Team again this time at their ground. Not a bad place to finish the season but, for us, a lot riding on the result. The points table had us equal with Blaby but above them with one more win and a few points behind Fleckney. Other teams were also potentially in the mix to take the unwanted last relegation spot with Illston Abbey 2nds. We had to win.
It was sort of sunny when we arrived with a mixed forecast for the afternoon and flippin’ cold just standing in the Pavilion. After some debate with Pops about whether to bat or bowl we lost the toss anyway and batted.
Surprisingly our solid opening Two Hills partnership who have delivered on numerous occasions this summer were parted fairly early and Matt came in at 3 looked very good and was unfortunately undone by a cracking inswinger from nearly the oldest left-armer in the game. They bowled very well, unlike the previous week, and we trotted along at 3-an-over as storm clouds rolled in and the temperature (unbelievably) dropped. The light drizzle slowly worsened until we had to come off having scored 60 odd off 20 overs. Mirroring the 2nd team game behind us.
It looked like we could be off for a while but we needed to know what was happening in the other games to understand how many points we needed. At that point, and to my surprise, Dave and Matt then said they were off to Illston to see if they were playing. Soon after we trotted off to the club house for a top Kibworth tea. Matt let us know that the Blaby v Illston game was in full swing and Illston were biffing the ball absolutely everywhere and Pops said they’d better get back for tea and for Dave to bat, time was suddenly short.
So we restarted a 33 over a side game and Dave soon joined Andy and they put on crucial runs against the disciplined Kibworth attack and with some hard running and deft placement we ended up on 119 with both getting decent 30s under pressure. At the half-way stage we were not even half-way through the drama.
After a quick turn-around and with Dave especially feeling the pain of a manic last 5 overs batting we started bowling. The weather was never great but it stayed cool, calm and sunny for the rest of the game. Connor and I opened the bowling and their little guy was as irritatingly successful as he had been the week previously. They slowly accumulated runs but were cut down by some excellent swing bowling from Conner. He had big Chris the opener bowled that only brought in at No.3 a guy we hadn’t seen the week before and who walked in with the air of a good player. It was therefore a joy to hear a loud nick to his first ball that took an age to land gratefully in Meggo’s gloves, 2 down for very few. Connor then took a third wicket and they were in trouble. The game then went quiet for a while and then the little guy clonked one to Dave at a deep gully off me to make it 40 odd for four we were confident of victory and I gave him a send off. We were obviously happy as that bought in the 12 year old who had batted well for 20 overs the week before for 30, but he wasn’t going to take the game away from us. I apologised to the umpire for the send off to their opener but he told me really not to bother!
The run rate climbed from 3 to 6 an over as we continued to control the game and Dave & Dylan came onto bowl. Dave kept it tight and Dylan bowled a great spell as the tension mounted towards the finale. They occasionally attacked and Dylan responded by taking wickets consistently throughout. It should be noted that Kibworth batted well and took the game deep on a pitch that wasn’t that easy to bat on. With only a few runs to defend a couple of fours would swing the game drastically towards them, a wicket or another maiden back towards us. We knew our season depended on this and it was going right down to the wire. With 30 needed off 6 overs both bowlers were into their work and going to go through to the end.
Dylan had the kid caught behind and the next guy chipped to mid-on. IT WAS DEFINITELY ON. A burly left-hander arrived who looked pumped for the contest and like he could easily chop wood, particularly square of the wicket with his left leg somewhere off to square leg. With two overs left they needed under twenty with the big guy swinging like a windy barn door into the off and on sides, but they were 9 down. So down to the last over it goes. Dave is bowling his 10th over and the first ball goes for 2 out to the fence. Next ball is shorter and he pulls high and handsome through mid-wicket for 4. Dave knows he needs to get it full outside off and even from deep third man I can see and hear him chuntering loudly to himself. No pressure eh!
The next ball disappears for 6 as the batter’s forearms flex them into the ascendancy. With two balls to go they need 7 to win or 6 to tie and there’s a mixture of confident shouting and hand wringing by all the fielders placed at regular intervals around the boundary. Dave gets it full and he misses it, we blow a collective, but temporary sigh of relief. The last ball needs to go the distance and I can feel Dave’s blood pressure from the other end of the ground. It’s full again and clonked somewhere for one run, and game over and we’ve won.
Everyone runs to the wicket to celebrate and collectively exhale. Pops has done a good job of leading us through the day and the team responded well throughout. A tense, highly competitive and ultimately successful day ends with us finishing 8th in the League with Fleckney going down.
Phew, time for a glass of lemonade. See you next year Div 6 East.