5th XI Match report vs Long Ditton

5th XI Match report vs Long Ditton

2 Jul 2024

A mammoth huge win for the 5s against top of the league Long Ditton! An incredible team performance as we chase 197 with 4 balls to spare. Multiple contributions, lots of runs, excellent fielding performance, fantastic with the ball, what more can you want! So strap yourself in reader, as this tale had more twists and turns than an F1 circuit!

After being put into the field, Skipper Howard opened with Zeeshan and Felix. After starting a little loose, both soon found their rhythm, with Felix making the breakthrough with a nutty seed, which swung right into Off Stump, and sent the bails to Wales (if you ignore the appalling chat, dear reader). It wasn't long until Felix had a 2nd, with the other opener gloving one into the safe hands of keeper James Cadogan. Zeeshan went about his business too, frustrating the batsmen with his mix-up of pace, and general accuracy. Zeeshan (0-34 off 7) was unlucky, and Felix worked hard for his 2-32 off 6, both got the Hill off to a good start.

First Change bowlers came in, soon to be star of the show Jamie Hillier (The Mayor) and Tommy Rance. Jamie claimed his first wicket with a snick off, and soon grafted another with a decisive blow onto the stumps. Tommy, working away at the other end, then got himself a wicket bowling a good line, with the batsman edging one straight through to James Cadogan (JC) behind the sticks. 

Following on from this, The Mayor continued to bowl excellent stuff, with another wicket falling from a catch directly at Felix, who took it with authority. After this came one of Long Ditton's colts, an excellent bat in his own right, batting at 8. With extravagant calls for runs and leaves, he certainly looked and played the part, with some lovely shots, especially straight. The Mayor soon took care of him however, with a running catch for Felix at cover, taking Hilliers total up to 4.

All this time, Long Ditton's number 3 had been hitting away, punishing the bad balls and looking to score off the good. He had worked his way to 73 (64) before The Mayor struck once more, the ball hoiked up into the air between mid-off and mid-on, Gavin shifted round and took a superb catch high up, providing an imperative breakthrough for the Hill. Hillier finished off his glorious spell with 5-48 of his 9 overs, and Tommy 1-17 off 7. An excellent pair of first Change bowlers if I do say so myself.

Howard and Theo (Super T) followed, Theo bowling an set line and length consistently troubled the batsmen despite getting no wickets himself, and Howard having his first bowl of the season, easing into it and getting some lovely spin onto the ball towards the end of his spell of 0-16 off 3 overs. Theo's line and length provided too much scoreboard pressure for the number 10 batsmen, who chipped one up above short cover, despite the despairing leap of your author, to Paul Deane Williams (PDW), who collected the ball off one bounce, and threw it in collecting a run-out, with the batsman halfway to the pavilion when JC whipped the bails off. This was down to Theo's pressure building, not allowing the opposition to build up any head of steam during his 7 overs of 0-17.

On came the final change of Ben Blackshire and Gavin McCartney (The Gavelar) to try and take the final wicket, of a fine bowling and fielding performance from the Hill. Ben Blackshire bowled some excellent pace but couldn't quite take the final wicket off his 4 overs for 14 runs, despite creating some excellent chances for the fielding unit. The Gaveler, (0-11 off 2) bowled a decent line and length, but unfortunately to no avail, as the final wicket partnership stoutly persevered claiming 34 runs and seeing Long Ditton through their 45 overs, taking their total to 197.

The team fielded excellently keeping their concentration levels up even if the final wicket didn't quite fall our way, causing an extra 30-50 runs to chase. Felix with 2 catches in the field with a good performance, and Paul Deane Williams with an absolute lazar of an arm from the boundary, keeping 2s and 3s down to singles, with no batter willing to chance 'One for the arm' after his previous efforts. Must also mention, the best portions of juice I have encountered yet since playing for the Hill, Props to the oppo!

After some excellent "Scran" for tea, the Hill began their pursuit of 198 to win, always a tough ask. In an attempt to throw the opposition off, we sent Ben Donald and Super T out to bat first, with the Left-Hand, Right-Hand combination to open up. Ben immediately delivered a statement of intent by hitting the first ball for 4, showing a determination within the himself and the side to endeavor to chase the total down.

The pair put on a crucial 47 for the opening stand, with Ben Donald falling after trying to play the ball over Mid-off and being caught. This brought PDW to the crease at Number 3, alongside Super T to build a crucial partnership. Super T continued where he left off, seeing out the good balls and obliterating the bad in a true openers knock. Batting well, Theo hit a one-bounce four just behind square leg, Cue cries of Hit the Gym. Soon after, Super T picked a delivery up, and sent it into the trees, for a magnificent maximum, well and truly shutting up this idiot of an author who had dared challenge him a few overs previously, as he began to accelerate the run-rate. Credit to the Long Ditton bowling attack who kept the bowling tight, not giving much away, but this also emphasising the graft our batsmen were showing, to not give their wicket away and score at a good rate. 

At the halfway stage, we were behind the run rate, but with 9 wickets in hand. PDW and Super T, gradually started to increase the run rate, with Theo reaching his 50 in 80 balls, after some excellent, conserved batting. The pair continued to rotate the strike, and holding a solid partnership of 82, before Theo fell to a cracking ball on 61, from one of the openers having been brought back on, worried about the accelerating run rate. Thanks to Dan Beadle and Ollie Blackshire for rushing over from the 6s match to support the team at the end, despite their first action being walking in, and Theo getting out. Conspiracy? Bad Luck? Who knows.....

Up stepped Ben Blackshire at 4, to maintain the incredibly useful LH, RH combination, meaning the bowlers were never able to build up a head of steam against the pairings, an incredible piece of captaincy by Howard. Having upped the runrate himself, PDW started to increase his flow of boundaries, including a delightful flick through midwicket for 4. 

Ben Blackshire, after completing his quest to field with anything but his hands for the U17s the previous night, was ticking away at a run a ball, with a couple of fantastic boundaries behind square, and excellent running, pushing every single and putting pressure back onto the fielders, despite his dislike of touching the bat down, and preferring to side-step into the crease in the most casual manner possible (something that Bobby F most certainly disapproves). 

Having reached 46, PDW fell to one of Long Dittons astronomically straight bowlers, who took the stumps leaving the Hill 169-3 off 40.5 overs. Fear not, the Gaveler was in, fresh off his previous League 50 for the 4s to try and see the 5s through. And what a start he made, as a slips drive for 4 took the Hill up to 173 with 4 overs remaining. At the end of the 41st, the Equation was simple, 25 runs required, 24 Balls remaining, the game hung tightly in the balance. Hang onto your coat tails reader, as the climax was something to behold!

In an interesting move by the opposition skipper, Long Ditton brought on their young spinner for a 2nd spell. He bowled credibly in his first over back, going for 2 runs off of the bat with 3 byes, followed by 3 runs in the 43rd. Leaving the game precariously teetering in Long Dittons favour, with 17 to win off of 12 balls. Gav missed a straight one for the 2nd ball of the 44th leaving Long Ditton confident of a win. Howard was the next man out to bat, and got off strike with a bye getting Ben Blackshire, the set batsman on strike.

Ben, who had been working away at the total, was on strike (with an old head on young shoulders) for the most crucial passage of play in the match. Ben timed the spinner to perfection, mullering the ball straight to Long on, who Fumbled! The ball bounced off him and went past the rope, Ben claiming a much needed boundary! After putting more pressure on the field, with an exceptionally run 2, we were into single digits required, with 9 off 7 needed. 

Put into context, Ben on 31 at the time, having hit his first 2 mixers ever during the season was the key batsmen. The spinner delivered the final ball of the 44th, which BEN TRULY DISPATCHED OVER LONG OFF FOR 6!!!! One of the best shots the writer has ever seen under pressure, leaving the Hill in what was surely a winning position. The importance of this shot was not to be understated, as the Hill were now firm favourites for the victory, against all odds! 

Long Ditton brought on, the 1st change quick decent Bowler for the final over of the match (who also happened to be the guy who bullied his way to an exceptional 73) in a desperate attempt to win the tie. 3 runs to win, Skipper Howard facing, the bowler steamed in, and the Keeper misfielded, getting Blackshire back on strike, with a bye! 2 off 5. The bowler charged in once more, Blackshire set himself, the Bowler delivered back-of-a-length, and.......... BEN LAUNCHED THE BALL OVER SQUARE LEG FOR A ONE BOUNCE 4! HILL HAD CHASED 197 SUCCESFULLY AND CLAIMED A FAMOUS VICTORY AGAINST TOP OF THE LEAGUE! 

What an incredible performance, the best for the 5s this season and undoubtedly one of the best whole club performances of the season. An inspired Team effort, with Ben finishing on 41 not out, partnering Howard, who didn't give his wicket away, exactly what was required at the time. Theo with an exceptional performance with the bat, almost certainly earning himself a promotion for weeks to come, claiming a hard fought 61, and Paul Deane Williams getting 46 of his own and running hard between the wickets. Gavin, also accompanying Ben at the end, when scrambling for runs, and playing some lovely shots of his own!

Given the Hills batting struggles across the year, The 5s batted calmly, and maturely finishing on 200 runs for the chase, which was a ridiculous achievement, which left Long Ditton stunned, having been used to rolling teams and deservedly taking their place at the summit of the division. 

It was a game played in good spirits. It was a game with a thrilling finale. Runs scored, wickets taken, hard work in the field and a Huge 5s win! To keep us fighting for top half in the division! Next week brings a trip to the Guildford City Youth Project 2XI, who, knowing this league, will provide a stern test. But for now, all the plaudits go to the Hill for a fine, well deserved victory, with 20 Boobs to show!!!!!!

Thanks also to Neal Blackshire for scoring throughout the game, both on Play-Cricket, and on a difficult scoreboard controller, which proved a burden on more occasions than one! I need a lie-down, WHAT A WIN!