Cheeko’s boys close but no cigars in sight

Cheeko’s 4th XI met at the school on an overcast and blustery day to take on fellow mid-table outfit Leverstock Green 3’s and a close match ended in a narrow defeat for The People’s Team. In truth, Bar never had enough runs on the board after being bowled out for 103 but ran the visitors close with, securing 8 points in the process.

The batting heart and spiritual leader of the 4’s, Andy Hughes, was trevor-trampolined up into the 3’s on Thursday night and with Steve Moore’s injury not healing in time, the batting line up looked light but with plenty of bowling at the skipper’s disposal. In hindsight, Cheeko may come to regret the decision to bat on Saturday but in truth, neither skipper knew what to do and it was a bit of a lottery as to how the wicket was going to play.

The two slowest scoring batsmen and the latest opening pair opened up for Bar, Burrows and Taylor who struggled early on with the bounce of Ali and the accuracy of May. It’s no coincidence that the lack of a settled opening pair this year is contributing to early collapses for the 4’s. Wickets started falling at regular intervals and there was little to write about down the order as the top score of the day was Doc Sharma with a quick fire 18. Once Ali and May had finished their long opening spells, the rest of the batting was prized out by the bowling of the youngster Sawyer. The young man had a suspicious action and our recommendation is that someone at Leverstock has a look at his action before he gets too much older or is playing cricket in leagues with proper umpires.

After an excellent lunch prepared by Mme Kennedy and some impromptu French lessons from Spencer Randon, Bar attempted the near impossible, to win the game defending only 103. There was some early success for Bar as Roy Rogers encouraged the slightly unfit Rance to snick one behind to ‘keeper Burrows. He was clearly unhappy with this decision and perhaps this had a bearing on his later decisions which had an effect on the outcome of the game. This brought Turner to the crease (who was a startling dead ringer for JellyBean Taylor) who was clearly Leverstock’s gun batsman. He scored 32 and was smashing the bowling to all parts but for some reason, couldn’t fathom the bowling of Rupert the Pirate. He was eventually bowled with a jaffa of an inswinger and there was a feeling within the Bar camp that they had little batting left.

This proved to be true with only 3 of the remaining batsmen scoring double figures. This set up a tense finish with Cheeko’s boys convinced that they had Ali caught behind from an excellent take from Randon’s bowling but the young man had the nerve to stand there and claim that he hadn’t hit it, while the villain of the piece, Rance, kept a straight face whilst he gave it not out. This caused much anger from the Bar boys and left a very sour taste in the mouth from what was otherwise a very enjoyable game.

Afterwards, the Leverstock captain came to apologise to Cheeko for the conduct of Vance and the reaction of the Leverstock players after the game was not one of a team that had just squeaked a narrow victory and 30 points. If ever there was an incentive to try and play a higher standard of cricket and get neutral umpires, this was it and the 4’s can only hope for the services of Breezy on other future occasions.

The 4’s next match is away at Hatfield Hyde and sees the return of Andy Hughes and hopefully Steve Moore.

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