Today's game was rather strange, with fortunes fluctuating rather unpredictably. The end result was a combination of fun and frustration (in that order, at least chronologically).
It's not clear why we bother tossing a coin these days -- if we win Phil puts the opposition in to bat; if we lose the opposition chooses to bat. So, spin to the fore again, and this time it worked pretty well. Both Daniel Mortlock (0/14) and Les Collings (1/17, the wicket coming with the deadly fast ball, which completely beat the batsman) kept things reasonably tidy, and the Beehive got just 33/1 off the first 6 eight-ball overs. But then things started to go wrong. The second wicket partnership extended to the last over of the innings, taking the score from 12/1 to 119/1, with the surviving opener making a pretty stylish 75*. And it seemed the only reason his partner was eventually run out (for 38) was that he was tired from running endless twos and threes. In the meantime Russell Woolf (0/41) again had two catches dropped off his bowling - read last night's match report for why this must have been particularly frustrating for him - and a few other edges fell where the fielders weren't. Tony Malik's late innings spell of 0/18 slowed the scoring, but, unusually for him, there were no wickets to be had. In the end the stars - for us at least - were Phil Marshall and John Young, who spent the entire innings chasing balls (almost) to the boundary or putting their bodies in the road of full-blooded drives, saving several tens of runs in the process.
Whilst the fielding was hard work and the bowlers went unrewarded, the Beehive's total of 126/2 was only a run-a-ball, and as such not a big target. This point of view was vindicated when Nick Clarke scored 24 off about 15 balls to have us 27/0 after three overs. However, his dismissal was the first of a collapse that saw us lose 5/5 and also saw us stop scoring runs. By the end of the 9th over the ship had been steadied, but it was "all engines stop" as, at 45/5, we needed 82 runs of the next 48 balls. Clearly a difficult task, but no-one believed the match was lost as Andy Owen and Phil Watson - the last of the recognised batsmen - were in, and both are capable of score at will on their day. In the end Phil got 30 and Andy made 46, but, more importantly, they got us within striking distance of the Beehive's total. Unfortunately a late collapse (in part due to the judicious use of the fastest bowler in the twilight) meant we entered the last over needing 28 to win. What we got was 11 runs, 2 wickets, appeals for LBW when the ball had hit the keeper's pads; anarchy on the scoreboard (which at one stage implied we were 9/6 after 13 overs when it should have said 99/7 after 14); and a several minute delay when nobody was padded up to come in at number 10.
Oh, and we lost by 16 runs in the end.