For the last match of the summer, the Blades trudged up the huge climb to the Sporty’s top postage stamp where NOCS awaited them. Conditions were pleasant, and 18 overs of cricket began with the Badger winning the toss and electing to field.
Adamson and Lowe opened the bowling and for the most part were accurate and giving very little away, but as so often on the “one or four” pitches, one slightly off ball an over can cause the rate to creep up and NOCS got off to a reasonable start averaging around five an over. Lowe had a very confident LBW shout declined in the fourth over and NOCS started to find the fence, dashing to 47 from the first eight overs. Afzal took the first scalp with an LBW as part of a wicket maiden, and when Galpin clattered the stumps for a second wicket, the pendulum appeared to be heading back in our favour. Galpin bowled another in the twelfth, then Farmer caught the 4th wicket during Wythe’ wicket maiden and it was advantage Blades at 66-4 from 13. But NOCS began to find the fence again, particularly with four fours in the fifteenth. While Meering bowled two more in the sixteenth and eighteenth overs, the run rate was creeping up again though, and NOCS made a respectable but gettable 101 for 6.
Farmer and Wythe took to the crease to set about the target, but the NOCS bowling attack were giving nothing away. It wasn’t until the fifth over that Farmer hit the Blades’ first boundary, and in the same over Wythe survived a catch thanks to a no ball but found himself bowled next ball. 13-1 off 5 and already much to do. Hurst joined Farmer and built a partnership based on canny running and pressured singles but with boundaries at a premium, Blades were struggling to match the required rate. At the halfway mark the total stood at 33 for 1.
Shortly after this, Hurst was bowled and Farmer retired on 28 and it fell to Ramdin and Adamson to take on the miserly NOCS attack. There was some attractive stroke play and good shots played but the opposition know their ground and had placed much of their field on the rope. The gloom was descending rapidly in the last handful of overs as the Blades began a brave charge towards the target. Ramdin was caught in the fifteenth after a well-fought 10, and Meering took his place at the crease with 28 needed from the last four overs. Sadly the darkness and the accuracy of bowling throughout the attack meant that Blades fell just short. One more over may have been enough to see them home, but as it was, the innings closed 8 runs short on 93 for 3.
RESULT: NOCS WIN by 8 runs
Champagne moment contenders:
Farmer 28 n.o.
Afzal’s wicket maiden
Wythe’s wicket maiden