On the hottest day of the year since, oh I don’t know, last week some time, it was to North Walls in burning sunshine to play 18 overs on the driest pitch since records began. Lowe was triumphant in the tossery and elected to bat. Hamer and Hurst, aided by E X Tras scoring two for every wide and no ball, kept the score ticking over but fours were at a premium on a boundary so far out that the Boom Town Shuttle Buses from the station were offering a service between the square and the rope. There were some fours though, each one met by a mighty cheer from the pavilion. 23-0 after six was a fair return from a strong opening attack. In the seventh, Hurst offered a high c&b that hovered in the air for longer than many of this correspondent’s innings over the years, but it was dropped. Next over the breakthrough came though as Hamer offered an even higher one to mid on but this time, no mistake. Hurst was in belligerent mood, taking on the bowling and Farmer joined in. Both Blades were hitting big shots, Farmer’s swept four the pick of the bunch, but he was caught and bowled next ball for 10. Webber’s cameo 8 included a ball that needed to be rescued from the bushes. When Hurst was clean bowled for an excellent 14, Grimes took over, batting like he had somewhere to be and like he wanted the ball to be there first. It was four after four as he hammered 28 in just four overs, retiring with the score on 91-4 after 16 overs.
Meering to the middle with Tubb to see out the final two overs. “See out the over Bazza” the Newport Express called from behind the scorebook with three balls to go. Meering was bowled next ball. Galpin went in and was clean bowled, leaving Lowe to put his pads back on and face the final ball. “See out the over” several wags offered. Reader, he didn’t; LBW was the decision, the hat trick was complete and the final score, even with the mini-collapse at the end was 94-7.
A rate of five an over was respectable against a decent league side on a pitch the size of Moeen Ali’s beard but anything under six always looks vulnerable to an in-form batsman or two. We didn’t have to wait long though for the breakthrough as Grimes caught the number one behind in the second, a wicket maiden which saw Knowle on 5-1. The number two gave it what we all in the business Some Welly after that, and the number three joined in. 30-1 after five was ahead of the rate and Knowle were cruising. A stumping in the seventh from Meering in a spell of 1-17 gave Blades some hope. Knowle were slowing, 62-2 after 11 was just ahead of the rate but Blades were reining them back. Until the 12th went for sixteen and suddenly they needed just 17 from six overs.
Farmer bowled their number four next over and Grimes, now out in the field after Meering had taken over the gloves, caught one off Farmer in the 15th, but that was to prove to be the final over. Yet another huge four coasted them to victory. Tubb’s 1-11 and Farmer’s 2-11 had been excellent resistance but Knowle knew were the gaps and the boundary were and were just that bit too good, ending on 95-4 with three overs to spare.
RESULT: KNOWLE WIN BY 6 WICKETS
Champagne moment contenders:
Lowe calling “see out the over” before a hat-trick
Grimes 28* two catches and a stumping
Tubb’s wicket maiden