Match Report – Wick 4s vs. East Molesey July 1st 2017

What a Match; 4s Draw in Thrilling Finish

The final over of the day began just before 8pm, with all four results possible – Wick 4s could win, lose, draw or tie the match. The tension was visible in the faces of the 4s players and the small band of Moseley supports as they watched the final act of what had been a topsy-turvy match in the sunshine at Imber Court. At the crease were the last wicket pair of Jacob Povah and Richard Cole. This pair wonderfully represented the essence of the 4s this season; Povah playing his first adult fixture, Cole snr a talented and experienced cricketer who, though now an irregular performer, has played over 90 times for Wick 2s and 1s in years gone by. The 4s needed 7 runs to win, East Moseley needed 1 wicket. Malik bowled an excellent over, Povah and Cole tried to find the boundary and tried to take a run which wasn’t there; Povah defended the final ball and a draw was the result.

Upon arrival at Imber Court several hours earlier the 4s had assembled for their pre-game warm up. The team had a different feel to others this season, as the age breakdown of the players was more balanced than usual. Where previous 4s teams have been dominated by over-40s and colts, this one had three over-40s, one 30 something, two 20 somethings and five colts. U13 Christopher Cole was making his league debut for the club, U16 Jacob Povah making his debut in adult cricket and Jamie Carter (30 something) was playing his first competitive fixture for several years. The inclusion of the 20 somethings was rather exciting – Sam Blank is making his way back into cricket after a season or so away and Jack Le Feurve was making his first appearance of the season for the Wick after a successful University cricket season.

The Moseley skipper won the toss and elected to bat as he only had 9 players in attendance at 1pm. The 4s opening pair of Sam Blank and Nabeel Shahpurwala immediately settled into accurate spells which troubled successive batsman. Blank claimed 3 wickets and Shahpurwala was unlucky to only claim 1 wicket as Moseley were reduced to 30-4. Povah bowled his first overs in adult cricket and was unlucky not to claim a victim and then the skipper turned to the ‘spin twins’ – Richard Cole and James Adam. There have been occasions this season where the lack of a proper spinner has been a problem for the 4s; not this week when 19.3 overs were bowled. Cole settled into a super spell of tight off-spin; the only runs he conceded appeared to be from a mixture of hoiks and slogs. At the other end, Adam was slightly less accurate but equally threatening in terms of wicket-taking. Cole shared his thoughts about the correct speed to bowl given the nature of the playing surface, which helped his partner to claim four wickets. This return was well deserved by Adam, who had bowled with attacking intent throughout his 10 overs. The middle and lower order of Moseley slowly dug themselves out of trouble, whilst never looking like pushing the scoring rate above 3 per over. The last two wickets added 60 which meant that the 4s had to chase 145 to win.

The opening pair of Houghton and Le Feurve were face with two U15 Moseley bowlers. The young bowlers were excellent and it later transpired, were joined by another U15 bowler. The 4s innings stuttered with Houghton, Shahpurwala (promoted to number 3 as an experiment) and Cole jnr all falling cheaply. With the score a mere 12-3, Le Feurve was joined at the crease by Sam Blank. For 13 overs, the 20 somethings shared a stand of 35 which steadied the innings. Le Feurve was resolute in his defensive technique; showing the straightest of bats to anything on the stumps, leaving well and striking lose deliveries with authority. This occupation of the crease laid the foundation for what was to follow 90 minutes after his departure. Having Jack in the side was great for the 4s – along with his batting he provided much needed noise in the field and recording keeping of activities which deserve fines. He also provided something of a comedy moment, shouting to his teammates while batting that he needed sun-cream! The necessary cream was found, provided and applied to the

batsman. Sam Blank had his first meaningful bat for a couple of years. It took a while to find his timing, but once he did Blank displayed his batting ability with sound defensive shots and lovely attacking ones. It was a fine all-round display by Sam, with 3 wickets, 18 runs and lots of encouraging words for his colt teammates. Let’s hope that we continue to see this fine cricketer for the rest of the season.

Moseley broke the 4th wicket stand with the score at 47 and followed this up with more dismissals (Carter 0, Dunmore 0, Hennessy 4) to leave the 4s at a precarious 60-8. The 9th wicket saw a stand of 27 between Cole snr and Adam, before the latter fell. Cole had by now been at the crease for 20 minutes and was beginning to look comfortable after a shaky start; such a start was always likely as this was the first-time he had batted for 2 years! Jacob Povah was last man, having informed the skipper that he ‘didn’t bat very often’. Povah announced his arrival at the crease with a lovely square drive for 4 and proceeded to look comfortable for the next 17 overs. It was Cole who dominated the scoring during the unbroken stand of 52 for the final wicket, unfurling a series of straight drives against both slow and faster bowling. He reached a well-deserved fifty in the penultimate over and had guided the team to a draw.

All those involved had played in a fantastic game. Both teams had recovered from poor positions whilst batting. Both teams had been excellent with the ball and in the field. East Moseley are top of the league and have a fine group of U15 and U16 colts. The Moseley bowling line-up is by far the strongest the 4s have seen this season. The Moseley team was disappointed not to have won the match, but recognised the fight and determination shown by the Wick 4s. After 4 consecutive defeats, to get a draw against the team top of the league (and to have had a chance to win) was a great achievement.