Itchington lose on Sunday to Ashorne

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Funday Sunday team near but not near enough

Ashorne & Moreton Morrell CC vs Long Itchington CC Sunday 17 June 2018

This week saw an away game for the Funday team who welcomed back into the fold the ever popular Aaron Suttcliffe (only because Martin comes and scores for us you’ll understand….).

Ashorne sees Long Itch return to the venue of the 2nd’s victory on Saturday, a happy hunting ground one suggests. A number of the 2’s were on duty again and their morale high with expectations equally placed.

The dependable George Riley keeping again, a most welcome return behind the timbers this week provided another young player along with Charlie Parsons taking the average age to a level that I think is the same as the current England team, there the resemblance ends…..

The Skipper, having managed to overcome a severe bout of Man Flu, arrived back from the good looking strip with the tried and trusted team talk, bowling boys. Given the strength of the bowling attack, this was no bad thing and the youthful opening bowling pair of Aaron and Fred Hart provided the opening Ashorne boys something to think about.

The Ashorne opening pair looked useful. Wilcox especially is recognised as a dangerous attacking bat but both he and Bhasker were under pressure from the off with Aaron bowling an excellent line and length swinging the ball each way. But it was Fred who got the early breakthrough with an excellent straight and full ball that Bhasker plays down the wrong line to with his back pad being directly in front, even the square leg umpire gave it.

Steady run accumulation followed and Wilcox looked increasingly commanding. The sage like Perks made his first decisive decision and the bowling change that the vocal crowd were clearly gagging to see. Scotty Senior now into the action with top pies needed. Wilcox took a liking and swatted the dross for which Scotty Senior is most famous.

Recognising the challenge, the looping flight and deceptive speed undid Wilcox who managed to avoid hitting a very full ball which was unusually straight. He missed it but the ball had just enough on it the dislodge a bail and to Wilcox disgust (and to many of the Itch teams embarrassment) he was out cheaply. In consternation, Wilcox trapped off to contemplate how on earth he go out to that garbage.

Ashorne settled down and tucked in to the pies still being served. The noted comment from the Itch travelling support of “have you got a faster ball Scotty” was responded to as one would expect.

Sam Green-Armitage, making a welcome Sunday debut contributed with first with the ball although was not rewarded for his 5 over spell of excellent swift seam swing bowling. But perhaps this absence of success spurred him to great heights on the batting front, who knows……

Pulley and Knight accumulated runs with increasing confidence and it took something special from Sutcliffe to winkle out Knight who looked a little McKenna ish with a fish outside of off which got a decent tickle and young George did the rest. Beauty of a ball which put the game back into the mix.

Young Charlie Parsons took up the charge with a spell of fine precise bowling which both Pulley and Knight struggled to get away. Nagging accuracy coupled with subtle variation in line and length clearly creating confusion in the minds of the well set pair.

The fielding side now up and chirping keeping the enthusiasm alive both in words and deeds. The ever nimble Greaves stopping anything that came within his range and the newly named Perkolator showing his bowling prowess again. It is unclear how ball and stumps failed to connect on a number of occasions. Turn and subtle changes in line and length were seemingly too much for the increasingly frustrated Bott who was undone by Aaron in his fine return spell.

Sadly Perks was not well supported in the field with the balletic (I think that was the word heard) attempt to catch a mis-timed lofted off drive from Pulley was disappointingly poor from Scotty Senior however, it was pleasing to note the chuckles from many who saw it.

Fred also returned as the Ashorne boys looked to push on. Cheap wickets now the Itch bowlers fodder and Aaron benefitted from lose swings of the willow.

The arrival at the crease of the aggressive yet stylish Husseby saw another twist in the flow of this game as the rate increased significantly. As the acceleration was progressing, another chance was spilled by Scotty Senior although the boundary was averted by the parry completed.

Man of mystery, Rishi Gupta was finally brought into the fray and showed immediately why he was the final change…… Husseby was after quick runs and was striking the ball fiercely. In on the one, Sam GA was in the firing line and was lucky to still be in one piece as he manfully avoided a thunderbolt of an uppish cover drive. There was no time even to suggest catching it and to his credit (and to the damage on Sam’s right hand) he took the pace out of the ball. Brave we all thought I’m sure.

The long staying Pulley seeking to hoik for all he was worth was bemused by a Gupta man of mystery special and holed out to long on where Fred took a good catch under pressure.

The Ashorne boys gave George another opportunity and Rishi one further wicket as they concluded at 196.

The Itch response was one led by Aaron and Ben Pratt. Ben, whose pre-game routine had not been followed the prior night was not his normal self suggesting that seeing only one ball was something strange to him. That being said, he and Aaron both looked solid against accurate and pacey opening balls.

The Ashorne chirp was extensive and continuous. Clearly, like the Itch Funday side, they were playing for the fun of playing and the narrative that continued made for some entertaining observations.

Having almost seen off the opening salvos and as bowling changes were being planned, Ben missed a cutter which clattered into the stumps having passed through his gate. Disappointment for Ben as he was sober for all of the game but I’m confident that the enforced rest of the coming weekend will see him resume his search for the perfect drink, and see him return with an appetite for runs.

Matt Cottle was his normal stoic self and he kept out the accurate bowling from Husseby who by now had taken up off break bowling replacing his swift seam attack. Runs were hard come by and Matt was looking at see off Husseby in the hope of something less challenging. Sadly, the accurate bowling and determined line was too much for Matt who edged to the keeper.

Itch at 33 for 2 off 8 were looking a little shaky. The shakes increased as George was in and then out in no time. Seeing the arrival of Fred who, to his credit looked good against the decent bowling offered but the a left hander bowling around the wicket on a run-up between umpire and stumps, seemed unable to fathom an approach.

Aaron looked the quality batsman he is and with increased confidence struck cleanly off his legs to generate some scoreboard momentum. Perhaps a little over confidence provided the accurate Pulley with his wicket with a lofted push to cover which was easily held and the score now 46 for 4. In the overs to follow, Fred had his wicket rearranged and Rishi returned a catch to the bowler putting young Parsons and Sam GA in.

The Ashorne chirping continued unabated with seemed to act as a spur for Sam.

Charlie looked solid and supported Sam well nudging ones and twos – a proud Simon Parsons and the Parsons clan watching on. Sadly Charlie’s support of Sam ended but he certainly did himself proud today.

Sam looked set and with plenty of overs in the tank, having arrived with 22 still to play, had all the time he needed to master both the pitch and the bowling attack. And boy did he master it. Looking to score with firm strikes straight and square, Sam took the attack to the Ashorne boys. With increasing authority he took control. Aided now by the ever youthful Martin Greaves, the chase was most definitely on.

The nagging Huddesy returned and with the keeper Wilcox changing roles allowing him to bowl, he was fielding at 1st slip. Martin was his usual wall like self as he got himself into the pace of the ball and bounce of the pitch. The outside edge that would normally be a simple single was clutched by Wilcox and to the disbelief of many, Greaves was walking back to the hutch.

Sam was now in his stride and struck a magnificent straight 6 which delighted the Itch team no end. With the still ailing skipper joining him in the middle, the 197 required was still possible but the rate now looked a little daunting. That being said, Sam and Tom were on a charge. Skipper striking a trademark square drive to which Simon Parsons was overheard muttering something about teaching Tom all he knew. Clearly delusional Simon……

Tom was looking good and Sam and he chased the rate with ever increasing anticipation. Set 7’s from the last 5, the game was very much in the balance. Sam still making runs and Tom also getting his fair share. But, at 169 the keeper turned bowler Wilcox managed to get one past skippers bat and straight enough to bowl him. 4 overs remaining and the last man in. Sam asking about the capability of the number 11 in terms of running ability, what can one say……

Comedic probably, shambles and ridiculous are other words which spring to mind. Sam, calling the shots, clearly had ambitions for Scotty Senior that were beyond the ability on show. That being said, the Ashorne chaps, now getting edgy and sensing the game was teetering towards Itch, panicked into not running Scotty Senior out twice with stranding being a polite word……

Sadly, Sam in forcing himself to take more and more risks saw his timbers rearranged and at 173, the chase ended.

What fun we all had, thanks to Ashorne for hosting and Martin for scoring. Great fund Sunday cricket again played with the right blend of fun and focus.

Itch Innings of the day – Sam GA for a quality 67 and on the bowling front, Aaron for a classy 3 for 20 off 8.

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