Saturday 18 June 2016 Little Easton, Essex
Sunday 19 June 2016 Little Berkhamsted, Herts
The Tigers enjoyed an entertaining if ultimately frustrating weekend mini-tour of the Home Counties, having to settle for a winning draw on the Saturday, then failing to chase down a modest total in the Sunday fixture.
A damp ground at Eastons meant a lively drying track with assistance to the bowlers, so the Tigers did well to post a total of 189, built around a stand of 86 in 16 overs between Stewart Taylor (62) and Chris Dane (54) after Ian Porton had supplied a brisk cameo of 26. The innings fell away somewhat in the chase for quick runs until Simon Warren and Steve Rennie clumped 23 from the final three overs before tea.
The home side never looked like achieving a win and although they slumped to 26-3 thanks to Daney’s 3-20, Scott (48) and Sims (16) added 80 for the 4th wicket until the former was well clenched by Buttocks on the boundary. The remaining batsmen had little trouble holding out for a draw.
Highlight of the subsequent evening entertainment was the excellent curry at the Queen Victoria in Great Dunmow, just edging out Ronaldo’s penalty miss and the Renster’s dalliance with a giant teddy bear (see Twitter).
After a pleasant night at the Travelodge the party moved on to Little Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, whose main claim to fame is as the venue where William the Bastard’s invading Norman forces accepted the surrender of the City of London and overlordship of England in 1066, changing the course of our history forever.
Despite an ominous beginning where Matt Webster’s first over went for 14 and the LB openers put up 60 for the first wicket in 11 overs, the Tigers recovered to turn in their best bowling performance of the season, restricting the home side to just 148 all out despite the presence of several league players. All the bowlers chipped in with Wright (3-37) and Dane (3-38) being the pick, the latter bagging six wickets over the weekend to cement his place as leading bowler of 2016.
Less than four runs an over were required to chase down the target of 149, and the two Mikes got the reply off to a steady start with 35 in the opening ten overs. But the bowlers tightened their grip to an extent that the score had moved to only 68-3 by mid-innings, though with Dane and Wright at the crease WASP was showing a Tigers win probability of 60 %.
Sadly, as the bowling and fielding closed in the Tigers began to resemble a vintage car with a dodgy gearbox and flat tyre running out of gas, Daney being defeated by Smith’s slower ball and Wrighty swatting a full toss straight to square leg. With the pitch rapidly expiring, the skies becoming ever gloomier and a ball that looked like it had been chewed by a giant hound, the batsmen found it almost impossible to hit off the square, the only increase in the total coming from a bag of extras, including a five point penalty for the ball hitting a helmet on the ground, Smith (4-8) and Jackson (3-16) cleaning up the last 7 wickets for a meagre 24.