The hottest day of the year so far welcomed Cheeko’s boys to the quaint Hatfield Hyde ground and it was clear from the start that much would depend on the toss on such a searing day.
Unfortunately, the skipper was scuppered by the use of the £1 coin to toss up (always tails for future reference Cheeks), the Hyde skipper won and Bar were promptly asked to field. The 4’s had arrived with a makeshift side, with a number of the 5th team regulars making their debut for Cheeko and the majority of the regular 4th team batsmen making up the numbers and fielding in the 3rd team. This was all prompted by lamentable availability at 1st XI level, with just 5 first team regulars available. This had an inevitable trampoline effect on availability and the 4th team batting line up just didn’t look strong enough to compete.
The strategy then had to be to try and bowl out Hyde for a low total and chase but they hadn’t been bowled out all season for less than 200 and this looked like a big ask. Rupert Pyrah was once again excellent, demonstrating good control with the new ball and really seems to have found a bowling groove in the last month. His economy is good and his bowling at this level is probably too good for the calibre of batting that he comes up against. Endless balls nip past the outside edge with no luck and it really is a very frustrating place to be behind the stumps seeing all of these close calls. One week the luck will go with him and he will get all 10.
As it was, the start of the show was Stavros Rogers who picked up 5 wickets in 2 spells, with a good spell of classic swing bowling. At the other end, Spencer Randon kept things tight and picked up 3 wickets for his afternoon’s work. The Doctor was expensive and largely ineffective and 5th team regular Brad Swaile showed that he is a star for the future with a good spell of serious heat, picking up a wicket.
Bar eventually bowled Hyde out for 197, their lowest total of the season and afterwards, the Hyde skipper conceded that Bar were the best bowling attack that they had faced all season. It was a manful effort to bowl and field so well in the heat but it too everything out of them. To give credit to Hyde’s batting line up, they have guys that turn up who only bat and that is the only thing that they want to do. The opener who very nearly batted through only batted and this could be the problem that faces Cheeko’s boys for the rest of the season. In a team of all rounders, there is always the incentive that you might get a bowl and so the focus just isn’t there on batting where players aren’t as precious about giving away their wicket as they could be. Hyde’s line up had 4 or 5 players who only batted and as a consequence, dominate teams with weak bowling. I feel that this is an area that Cheeko should be addressing in future team selections.
After an excellent tea, Bar’s batting effort was notable for Stavros Rogers’ excellent 54, dispatching the ball to all parts of the leg side boundary off some very dubious (read throwing) spin bowling. Bar eventually collapsed for 125 all out, with an excellent rearguard action by young Ricky Wood, who showed that he is certainly a batsmen of the future and in your scribes opinion, should concentrate on this area of his game as his specialism for the future.
Next week, the 4’s travel to Broxbourne and hope for better availability to arrest their alarming slide towards the bottom of the table.
This week’s report is my last this season as I am off to Switzerland for 9 weeks of training to become qualified as a ski instructor. Jellybean Taylor is likely to take over from me as match reporter and I am sure that he will do an excellent job. From a personal point of view, I know that I have let Cheeks down with the bat this season but I hope that I have made up for it with improved keeping performances. I sincerely wish everyone in the 4’s and also the rest of the teams at the club an excellent and successful season.