Niffy total not quite enough
By Richard Holdridge
Kirby's batting depth critical
A total of 218 seemed defendable, but was perhaps 20 runs short of a good total. With their strong batting side (their first four batsmen have scored centuries this season) Kirby opted to chase by inserting Countesthorpe. It was an afternoon of wides, 34 in all, and it took four attempts before Eliot Neary opening the bowling for Kirby achieved one that satisfied the umpire.
Though Ben Sharpe, with a steady innings of 63, was in no trouble, his partners Gaz and Will departed without troubling the scorer. A partnership with Badger of 67 in 38 minutes appeared to give the advantage to Niffy, but three quick wickets meant that at 119 for 5 after 24 overs , rebuilding was required.
Simon Garrard and James Hunt carefully did this, but with the score at 170 (36 overs) the dark clouds that had been appearing all afternoon, decided to produce some rain. The 10 minute break, caused a reduction to 44 overs, but worse was the brace of wickets, Simon LBW and Joe Hawker run out, that occurred on resumption.
This did however introduce the skipper to the batting crease. He was particularly severe on the exotically named Emilia Freire-Patino, taking 19 off one over, though the bowler had the last laugh by catching him off Neary, leaving James unbeaten on 34.
In reply, Boggle struck early, Hammond pulling him to the skipper, but Dan Kinsey batted confidently; After 20 overs Kirby were 96 for 3 compared to Niffy's 105 for 3, so 'game on' with advantage Niffy. Kirby batted steadily, a few half chances went begging, and a missed run out with the batsmen having a chat mid wicket was perhaps the critical event. Gaz struck late in the day, bowling Williamson, and Kirby required 44 of the final 8 overs. This seemed to motivate the batsmen who knocked them off in just 5 of them, and a victory margin with a little to spare.