Saturday 10th July 2021 – STOP PRESS… two “toss” wins in a row for the skipper! A big game ahead against the divisional leaders Bletchley Town CC, but an unknown entity as the first game between the teams had been called off due to weather earlier in the season. Westcott though, were expecting a big challenge and so it proved to be in many ways. Batting first, the two Bletchley openers looked calm and collected at the crease, but some excellent tight bowling by openers Waqas and Rehman gave nothing at all to the batsman. Something had to give and in the 7th over, Rehman swung one back into the opener, knocking the off stump over. Shortly after, Rehman struck again, this time the number three bat slicing one straight to Hedders at point, who took a neat catch low to the ground. Rehman bowled 12 overs for only 15 runs and Waqas took 2-38 as runs were hard to come by, mainly due to the accuracy of the bowling, as both players bowled with great control. With only two wickets down though, Bletchley were in a decent position to push the score along and would at some stage, have to get on with it. Strongy and Alimar replaced the opening bowlers after drinks and Bletchley started to increase the run rate as the field spread. However, regular wickets from both bowlers and some good catching in the deep, namely Giles and Tiz, kept a relative lid on the incoming batsmen, who all seemed intent on hitting it big! Westcott fielded very well, taking all chances on offer and returning the ball well into the keepers gloves, which all helped in keeping the score under 200. Alimar finished the innings, clean bowling the Bletchley number 11, taking his haul to 5 -73, with the skipper picking up 3-48 and Bletchley finished their innings on 181 all out from 52 overs.
A good start was needed like last week and as usual, Rehman and Stuart strode out the middle. Rehman hit a lovely straight drive for four in the first over and Westcott were off and running. However, the plan was soon to be foiled, as Rehman got a ball that kept low and he was out bowled. A reshuffle in the batting order saw skipper Strongy enter the middle, on a wicket that, judging from the first innings, was always going to be difficult to score easily on. Both Strongy and Stuart looked very solid though, playing some lovely cover drives, despatching any bad balls to the boundary, but as suggested, runs were not freely on offer. At drinks, the score was pretty much level with the Bletchley first innings and it already seemed as though this was going to be a close finish. With wickets in hand, Westcott should be able to accelerate later in the innings and control the run rate. With 20 overs left, 100 was needed to win. So, 5 an over and no need to panic. Stuart by this stage, was out bowled for 27, having played very sensibly and this brought Tanveer to the crease, who actually made batting look easy as he started stroking the ball to all parts of the ground and the run rate began to increase. Tanveer scored a very useful 38, before he was sharply stumped by the keeper down the leg side. Alimar got a “pea roller” of a delivery that hit his pads and the ball rolled onto the stumps and he was out without scoring. Strongy passed his half century and looked in fine form, before he was given out for the first LBW decision of the day. So, 50 to win from 10 overs and it was not going to be easy against a vocal and upbeat fielding team, with the opening bowler Idriss Butt returning for a second spell. Finbarr tried to get on with it, but was bowled for just 6 and Tiz was very quickly given out for only the second LBW decision of the day. So, 30 needed from 5 overs against a very good bowling attack, but Westcott only needed 164 to claim a winning draw from the game. Unfortunately Giles got bowled by a decent yorker, which brought Tony to the crease with Waqas with 8 wickets down. Only 16 was required for Westcott to bag the winning draw (based on run rate) and this seemed the more suitable option, cutting out the risk of losing the game to the opposition. As the team had discussed earlier, the season was not going to be won, nor lost, on todays result, so taking a winning draw would be a satisfactory outcome from what had been a difficult day throughout, due to some unpleasantness, abusive language and unbecoming behaviour. (Nothing further to be said on this!). Waqas and Tony pushed the ball around comfortably, reaching the required total and Tony saw out the last couple of deliveries to leave Westcott with a winning draw from the days efforts. Westcott subsequently replaced Bletchley at the top of the table, in what was actually a close game between two decent teams.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery goes to Hedders, who sustained an awkward looking knee injury whilst fielding.
So, moving on to next week, where the 1st XI will visit Great Brickhill CC, who are on a great run, having won their last five games in a row, so another tough game is expected.