Played at Parliament Hill
By Will Hopson-Hill (skipper)
Having played at Parliament Hill on a bouncy wicket the previous
weekend after a lengthy dry spell, the intervening damp week had
dramatically altered the conditions and created a soft, slow, sticky
wicket. Even so, the Fallopians won the toss and chose to bat in
these difficult circumstances and try to put a score on the board.
The opening bowlers of Village CC started accurately and the
Fallopians scoring rate suffered as a result, with the run rate
rarely touching 3 per over for the first 10 overs or so. Having lost
Rafe Smallman early on in the innings, Will H-H and Andy Huckle soon
followed to leave the innings struggling at around 30 for 3.
However, Mark Venables and Matt Meads then rebuilt the innings with
some sensible batting - while riding their luck here and there! -
and at the halfway drinks break we were in a solid position of
around 80 for 3 after an excellent partnership and the run rate was
building nicely. Sadly, the innings then fell away rather alarmingly
as a combination of good bowling and fielding, a run out and some
ill-advised strokes saw a stunning Fallopians collapse of 7 for 25
runs and before we knew it we were all out for 115!
After another delicious tea provided by Jo, the Fallopians needed a
great start to their stint in the field, as encouraged by the
skipper in a team-talk focussing on the fact that while we'd scored
decidedly fewer runs than we'd hoped, runs were on the board and the
slow conditions would challenge Village CC as much as they had us.
This was our chance to make up for it with a tight, aggressive
fielding performance and plenty of wickets!
Messrs Frisby and Castle began excellently with great spells,
bowling to a plan with an attacking off side field and the rest of
the team backing this up with enthusiasm and energy in the ground
fielding. Peter took the first 2 wickets to fall with consecutive
deliveries, cleaning up both batsmen with lovely, almost identical
balls and the Fallopians were on their way. The bowling then
switched to our debutant Azaz - who bowled a superb, pacey, accurate
spell - with Matt Meads taking the other end. Two more wickets fell
to Azaz - both bowled - and the match was shaping up nicely.
However, the run rate of Village was comfortably better than the
Fallopians had been, so more wickets were still required to pull the
match back in our favour.
Meads finished his spell after 3 overs and John Shaw replaced him,
bowling his usual nagging line and length and the batsmen struggling
to get it away. Kit Wright then followed up and took a wicket with
his first ball - featuring an excellent snaffle from Simon Hemelryk
behind the stumps - to increase the tension. At the mid innings
break, Village were around 80 for 5 and in a slightly worse
situation than the Fallopians had been. However, when the equation
was looked at, they still only required 35 odd runs with 5 wickets
in hand, so we still required quick wickets and had to keep the
The team responded to this superbly, and in a masterful stroke Meads
then switched ends - replacing Azaz who bowled his 7 overs straight
through - to make use of the slope and try and bring the ball back
in to the right handers, and it worked a treat as he bowled a fuller
length and more accurate spell, taking 2 wickets to put the
Fallopians right on top. This featured a nice slip catch to a
tempter outside off and a catch behind to a lifter.
Castle had come back on and bowled his final, accurate over, so the
captain turned to John Shaw to bowl again with an eager number 9 on
strike. He was clearly intent on finishing the game with a couple of
big hits as at this stage they required around 8 to win the match
with 3 wickets still in hand. The skipper therefore placed Peter
Frisby right on the ropes at long off in anticipation of a catch.
Shaw then bowled him one in the perfect spot and he obligingly fired
it up in the air and towards Frisby. The ball seemed to hang in the
air for an age as Peter settled under it, but he kept his nerve and
took a wonderful catch - with cracking celebration to go with it! -
and there were two wickets to go.
Meads next finished his superb spell with his third wicket from his
final ball, knocking over the number 10 with a full straight one.
Then the penultimate over went to Shaw with the opposition's
seemingly impregnable number 8 on strike. At this stage, Village
required 2 runs to win the match and 1 run to tie. Nerves seemed to
be getting to the imposing batsman though, as a cracking over from
John was played out as a maiden - including a crucial stop to a
straight drive from the batsman which would have won the game for
Village had John not intervened!
The captain then turned to opening bowler and hero of the hour
Frisby to send down the final over. He rose to the challenge
magnificently, bowling the number 11 with his first ball, which was
full and straight, was missed by the batsman and knocked out middle
stump! The Fallopians had won by 1 run! The celebrations of the team
were ecstatic as Frisby was mobbed by his comrades and a quite
unbelievable, momentous victory had been pulled off against the
This truly was a stunning performance and excellent victory for the
team. The whole team contributed, but some particular performances
of note were by Mark Venables for holding the Fallopians batting
together from number 3, Tim Castle for a great, accurate spell, Azaz
Khalil for ripping out and subduing their middle order, Simon
Hemelryk for brilliant keeping and John Shaw for some superb
pressure bowling at the death.
However, the man of the match award came down to a choice between
Matt Meads for some great batting in the main partnership with Mark
V and a wonderful spell of bowling - taking 3 quality wickets - and
Peter Frisby for a cracking opening spell, a superb, steepling catch
in the deep and finishing the match off with a pressure ball of high
order. I think what decided it was the fact that it turned out that
Peter himself had scored that single, winning run in the Fallopians'
innings and so massive congratulations to him, but also to the
entire team for one of the great team performances!