Hampshire Hogs Match – 3rd July 2010

Firstly thanks must go to match manager Andrew Broderick for his expert organization skills in delivering, by 10:30am, 11 fit and fully functioning Fantasians to the heart of Hampshire for this years outing against the Hogs.

Unfortunately Andrew had failed to notify the opposition of his plan to start their match at an earlier time to what had been officially planned. Therefore we found ourselves congregating in the centre of the pitch without any opposition in sight, scratching our heads and wondering whether we had the right date.

If anything it put us in good stead because as the opposition turned up in drips in drabs we put on rather an excellent front as an organized team with focus, poise and deadly potential!!

Play started at 11:30am on a gloriously hot day and I successfully lost the toss and we were subjected to the full force of the warming day. We were gifted however with an excellent opening bowling partnership of Mo Verjee and Jonny Howarth who started with promise, applying pressure and creating chances. It may well have been the loss of an extra hour in bed or the searing heat but catching was not our forte in the morning session and apologies must go to Mr Verjee for a number of drop catches in the field at the start. There were only so many fielders we could place in the slips unfortunately!

Wickets started to fall with the introduction at first change of Rory Crawford who with deadly accuracy commenced the fall of wickets. Along with his all-important 2 for 26 off 12 overs he was ably supported by Mo Verjee who eventually gave up with entrusting help form his team mates and took the first of his 2 wickets with an LBW that left their batsmen with a broken toe! Singular but equally important wickets came from match manager Broderick and Callum Clark respectively, leaving Jonny Howarth duly rewarded for his intelligent bowling with the team’s best figures of 4 for 39 off 12 overs.

There was some spirited batting from the opposition and the middle order held their own for periods but our bowling never really faltered and the pressure would eventually leave them with an all out total of 185 just before tea.

As with many a Fantasian game we could bat all the way down to 11 which is always encouraging when chasing a total. It is just as well because it turned out we needed the strength in depth. An explosive start from James Close-Smith was exactly what we were after. However none of his batting partners felt like hanging around with him too long until James Allan (35) steadied the ship and with an excellent partnership with Dave Merrifield (32). However we lost both of them in quick succession we found ourselves 7 wickets down after tea with still another 60 or so runs needed for victory. We fell back on those who had bowled so tirelessly in the field. Jonny Howarth (23) and Rory Crawford (31) saw to it that we came home safely only losing one more wicket at the death that saw Mo Verjee clinching victory for us.

Thanks very much to all who played. It was a great day and we look forward to continuing our winning streak next year.

Team sheet: J Close-Smith, A Yorke, N Francis, J Allan, A Bell (c), A Broderick,
D Merrifield, J Howarth, R Crawford, M Verjee, Callum Clarke