Newtown and Chilwell Cricket Club pulled off one of its most stunning wins of recent times in the tied 20/20 game at Stinton Oval on November 7th.
Such that after the tension-filled bowl-off, men (and one woman) of varying vintages had grins like split melons and all rushed to be together in the change rooms.
The president could not have chosen a better day to host his sponsors and supporters.
With so many wags from eras long gone in the rooms and on the balcony, there were plenty of great one-liners, too.
But down in the change rooms, Sammy Eason topped them all.
“I haven’t won a game in two years and now I have won two in two days,” he beamed, and then repeated it just in case you hadn’t heard it right.
Both N&CCC and Grovedale had been locked on 7-125 at the end of their two innings.
Showing the wonderful leadership for which je is renowned Ben Neville chose not just to bowl first in the bowl-off, but to be the first bowler … to lead by example.
The roars from the balcony could have been heard on Mars as he struck … Twice.
Grovie’s first up bowler missed twice.
Then another Ben, Ben Eason, was happy to be led by example. Stumps hit … Twice.
He’d saved a million runs in the field with his whippet like running. Now this. Gold. Now wonder his old man had the camera out.
After Grovie’s number two bowler missed both times, it was 4-nil and the N&CCC abacus was working overtime. We can’t lose from here Rusty declared!
“They need to hit twice, no one can do that,” he said.
“Russell, we’ve just done it, and twice in a row!”
They did get a couple of hits, but there was also a couple of telling and seriously applauded misses.
So in the end, it required the King to rattle the castle at least once to claim the famous victory.
Greg Wells reckons he missed the first time just to add to the tension.
“He’s like that, you know,” said Goose.
“No way,” said the King. “I was trying to hit it both times!”
The roar on the balcony could have been heard on Pluto when at the second attempt, the stumps went back and the bails tumbled to GT’s sacred turf.
The regular part of the match itself was a beauty, time and again Newtown showing a massive fighting spirit against a well credentialled opponent.
Ben and JR were out early. Eeeek!
Sam Arthurton eked his way to a fine half century, then showed the best answer to a sledge is a switch-hit four, or shovelling the ball over the wicketkeeper’s head into the acres of vacant space.
There’s no doubt Grovie had not seen Sam and his amazingly creative batting coming. They looked stunned as he switch-hit at will. “Where did that come from,” they seemed to be saying? The broads of Norfolk via The Essex Academy! They teach ‘em to do that now.
“The best Pom so far,” said a wise old man on the balcony.
But it was the same wise man who had wondered earlier why they weren’t using the sight screens! Jaikie and Mikie might still be in it Sam!
Along the way, Sam had terrific support from the Gavin Castle, one regal six in a little cameo.
And then Dima, up from the third’s, smashed Grovie’s leg-spinner for a soaring six.
The roar from the balcony could be heard all the way to the end of the universe, following the ball in that general direction, as it were.
7-125 looked more than defendable, said Morgo, who the day before had learned a bit about what is defendable and what isn’t.
Phillip John’s observations seemed even more perspicacious (no relation to the record-breaking 7ths wicketkeeper/batsman) when Govie got struck into Grovie’s top order and then Dima got a couple of wickets with pure jaffas.
Dima’s run-out of the Grovie wicketkeeper was also pure – pure poetry. At the non-striker’s end, a gozzer. Every man in a blue cap knows and respects Kelso as a bloke and as a player. Every man in a blue cap knew that Dima had pulled of the miracle dismissal. It’s a wonder he had any oxygen left in his body as his captain hugged the dear life out of him.
But we know Grovie is a proud club too and tooth and nail, they fought to get back into the game and looked to be there well and truly when the King nearly knocked himself out going for a catch on the boundary.
Eventually, to deliver the final knockout, Grovie needed two runs with two wickets in hand.
Enter Govie again, wicket second last ball, a steepler caught by Ben Eason.
Still two to win, one ball left.
Govie bowled it, it was mis-hit to nowhere in particular, but the single was taken. Match tied.
See above for what happened next!