Sunday 6 July 2014 – Winchester Leisure Centre
This was a trip that nearly didn’t happen, beset with problems from the very start. Firstly, the projected Saturday fixture with The Plums was abandoned when the opposition pulled out. Then, with so many players on vacation and others unavailable, a team could barely be scraped together. Eventually, eight stalwarts were mustered and a decision was made to gamble and go ahead despite the unappealing weather projection. Fortunately, the Sunday opposition, Racqueteers CC, loaned the Tigers two players and an entertaining 10-a-side contest ensued as the predicted heavy showers stayed away.
A weekend of high culture had begun with a trip to the house of Gilbert White, the well-known naturalist, in Selborne, Hampshire, also the home of the Oates collection, featuring the tragic polar explorer Captain Lawrence Oates. Selborne is also Jane Austen country – she is buried in Winchester Cathedral. A fine evening and Sunday morning was also enjoyed in the aesthetically enriching city of Winchester, including a night at the University and a visit to the famous cathedral to pray for a much needed victory.
The tourists’ supplications were answered with a solid 49-run victory on a green, unpredictable track, thanks to a five-wicket haul by Simon Warren. Under local rules, the contest was restricted to 30 overs; batsmen were required to retire at a score of 30 and could not be out first ball (in effect a free hit). Curiously, only last man Steve Bignell gained any advantage from the final rule as the Tigers compiled a steady score of 150, with Ian Porton the only player on the day affected by the 30-run law. There were useful contributions from Mike Delanian (26), Chris Dane (27) and Craig Murray (23) in addition to Porton’s retired 33. Holmes was the pick of the home bowlers with 3-23 from his six alloted overs.
Racqueteers’ innings never really got going, Simon Warren using the vagaries of the pitch to excellent effect, bowling three batsmen with deliveries that kept low after Chris Dane had opened the show with a superb low catch at point and Porton closed it with a sharp stumping to complete Simon’s 5-29 bag. Spells by Matt Webster, Chris Wright and Daney were frugal enough to frustrate the remaining batters, with the innings petering out somewhat despite 27 not out from both Sudip and Caldwell in an unbroken seventh-wicket collaboration.
Hopefully, the team’s mid-season wobble is now put to bed, with results and availability improving over the second half of the summer.