Played at Toddington Manor
The Fallopians entered this fixture on the back of a fine start
to the season with only the weather preventing a 100% record to
date. However, the team arrived at the idyllic setting for the match
with only 9 men in the team and the feeling that we were a couple of
To add further confusion to the situation, the opposition
proposed we play a timed game with a half hour tea to be taken at
4.45 - with a suggestion that the team batting first were expected
to declare if still batting at the break - and then 20 overs from 6
o'clock and no limit on overs per bowler.
The weather couldn't have been better with not a cloud in the sky,
and after winning the toss and choosing to bat on a green looking
pitch the Fallopians slipped to 30-odd for 2 with some accurate,
nagging bowling from the Gents' opening attack. However, Rafe
Smallman once again held an O.F. innings together, playing his
accustomed anchor role, and with able support from both Mark V and
Matt was able to push the total on past 100.
Sadly, after he fell for a well played 50, the lack of boundary
hitters in the outfit was sorely felt. Some excellent late hitting
from Matt and a cameo from Kit Wright bolstered the total to 139,
but with only 9 men we were all out at ten past 5 with the Gents'
opening bowler returning for a second lengthy spell to finish off
the innings (it was later found that he had bowled 15 overs, which
was no surprise as he held the opposition's bowling together!).
By this stage the home side had long been complaining of empty
stomachs to try and hurry along a declaration, but if this had been
made at the implied expected time of 4.45 then the Gents would have
had around 35 overs to chase 100-odd!
With 139 to defend and the Gents still having around 30 overs to
chase it in -- the Fallopians knew they'd have to bowl our of
their skins and that wickets were very much the requirement. Ben
Taylor - who bowled a particularly good, hostile opening spell - and
Peter Frisby began well, forcing plenty of false strokes and
Many of these were close run out misses or difficult catches,
which sadly didn't stick, but sustained pressure was put on the
opening pair. The opening 2 wickets both came from run outs,
testament to the fact that the Gents came out to bat with all guns
blazing and regularly ran extra runs on the fielder's throws.
However, the number 3 batsman was playing a superbly sensible,
well-paced innings and the Fallopians' skipper (Will Hopson-Hill)
was forced to change the bowling with regularity in the search for
further wickets to try and keep the pressure on.
Unfortunately, it wasn't until the score had ticked past 100 that a
couple more late wickets - including one for Tim Castle, who bowled
a spell with great vigour and pace - brought more pressure on the
batsmen, but unsurprisingly it was the number 3 who ended the match
by spanking a full toss from the skipper straight down the ground
for four, and the Gents had reached their target with around 5 overs
It must be said though that all the Fallopians' bowlers
contributed to making the match far closer than it had any right to
be. With only 9 players, a fairly short batting line up and
crucially only 10 men fielding - having borrowed one of the Gents
players - this was a fantastic effort and continues what has been a
great start to the season. It was a committed, never-say-die
performance in a match where the odds were stacked against the
Fallopians. If a full side had been put out I'm convinced that the
game would have gone the OF's way!
-- Will Hopson-Hill
|Nine true men: (standing L-R) Kit Wright, Will Hopson-Hill,
Ben Taylor, John Shaw, Mark Venables; (sitting L-R) Rafe
Smallman, Peter Frisby, Matt Meads, Tim Castle