All Saints record dramatic victory!
Aug. 29, 2010
A fantastic end to the season was completed today with an incredible victory over Wembdon Wyverns.
Going into the final round of fixtures in the Somerset League, Saints were in with a chance of leapfrogging their opponents to finish 7th in Division 6 and record their most wins and points in four years. However, Wembdon had enjoyed four wins over their hosts in their previous 5 meetings, and had brought a strong side, aided by the inclusion of some second XI players. In conjunction with league directives, Wyverns were entitled to bring their own umpire to the game. More on that to come...
After a week of heavy rain, the wicket was green and damp, and the outfield slow. The cloudy conditions confirmed the bowl-first conditions. And in typical style, Nunns lost the toss and was duly asked to bat by Wyverns captain Pete Gliddon. Ron Seward and John Cole opened the batting, and found the conditions difficult. A number of decent-looking shots couldn’t penetrate the field and Cole succumbed to a wide one to top-edge for 0. Nunns came in at 3 and looked in good nick. Against his favourite opponents, he started to dismantle the opening bowlers with a series of fours. Seward, meanwhile, found it hard to score anything and did the job of frustrating the first-change bowlers Futcher and Gliddon. Nunns hit another couple of fours and a huge six off his opposite number, before witnessing Seward uncharacteristically bowled through the gate. Reynolds came to the crease and his first action was to see Nunns given out lbw. A ball heading down leg rapped him on the top of the pad and he looked up to see the visiting umpire’s finger raised. Nunns was gone for 41 and made no attempt to hide his anger on the way off.
With the visitors seemingly considering the job done, James Wallace had his leg stump toppled after a misjudgement, while Reynolds looked to be building a big score with some lovely boundaries. Atkins came in and middled his first couple before backing away to the fast bowler and edging to the keeper. Reynolds then looked for another boundary but toed it to square leg for 26. Saints looked duly dismayed with the fall of wickets 95-6 with few overs remaining, and Ben Sunderland immediately triggered lbw for 0 following a half-appeal. However, Derek Seward played a valuable knock while Fraser Wallace chipped in with 8. A couple of decent overs towards the end of the innings and Seward’s 24* took the score to 125-8.
With a long batting order, Wembdon no doubt looked at an easy total, but All Saints are the masters of defending low totals. In fact, the one All Saints victory in this fixture had seen them defend 126 by 6 runs in 2008. With four bowlers, Nunns opened with himself and gambled on the mercurial Fraser Wallace, the rationale being his unorthodox wicket-taking style, as opposed to the more economical option of Atkins. The gamble paid dividends immediately, with Wallace striking in his first over, the dangerous opener caught at mid-on by Atkins.
The unorthodox Morrish came in at 3, immediately walking down the wicket to try to score, but Nunns bowled well against him and restricted the runs. Wallace faced the other opener, finding an edge that fell just short of Gillingham. Occasionally straying on leg side and being duly punished, he recovered to find another jaffer which this time carried, albeit with Gillingham diving forward and to his left to snaffle a fine catch. The two early wickets were vital, but the dangerous Rawles entered at four, having smashed 30-odd in the previous meeting. Nunns removed him though, bowling him leg stump. The youngster trudged off, smashing his bat down and when asked to refrain from such activity, responded in a less than polite manner!
Morrish was joined by the controversial Futcher, and the two wise heads took a more sensible approach to affairs. With the opening bowlers replaced by Atkins and Reynolds, runs were difficult to come by, and at drinks, the visitors were on 62-3. Plenty of time remained to knock off the meagre total, but All Saints were never going to lie down. After drinks, Reynolds induced a lofted shot from Morrish, causing the jittery Futcher to attempt a run, and be sent back. Nunns, fielding at mid-on, picked up the ball and threw down the stumps at the non-strikers end. Celebrations began all round...but Futcher remained in place. The visiting umpire had given it not out. An incredulous Reynolds signalled his disbelief, but there was nothing else but to carry on.
A number of false strokes and some lbw appeals were interspersed with singles, as Wembdon limped along. Atkins found Futcher’s edge, only to see it put down at slip by Ron, as Wembdon survived again. Not for long though, Reynolds forcing a top edge from Morrish which was claimed by Gillingham under pressure from Atkins. Lowe entered and soon witnessed Futcher dismissed by Reynolds as well, this time bowled. Fisher then entered and looked eager to get on with things. Playing hard at Reynolds, he survived what looked a more-than-good stumping shout before freeing his arms to hit a six and two fours to cow corner off the spinner. Reynolds continued and Atkins was replaced by Nunns as Saints began to get desperate. He struck in his first over, removing Lowe with a catch from Fraser Wallace, but then bowled a couple of loose overs. After 36 overs, Wembdon needed 11 to win with four wickets in hand. Surely there was no way back?
Reynolds set the collapse going with his third wicket in his final over, bowling Paull. Nunns then cleaned up top-scorer Fisher in his final over, leaving 8 wickets down. But with the captain entering at 9, and numbers 10 and 11 no mugs, it still wasn’t over. That was, until Atkins replaced Reynolds. First ball...bowled! Huge celebrations as the Saints truly believed. The next two balls were off target, and then the fourth ball of the over was full and straight. Young Watts got a stride in, but everybody turned to the visiting umpire, hands up in the air and screaming, until the finger was slowly raised and the home side went crazy.
Victory was secured by just 9 runs, Atkins finishing with 2-18, and a fantastic performance gave Saints the result they deserved. The performance summed up a season of great spirit and fantastic commitment, and just reward to see a marked improvement on last year. Well done everybody and roll on next year!
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