Saturday 17th July 2021 – Another blisteringly hot afternoon saw Westcott slap on the sun cream and head out into the field at Great Brickhill, a lovely ground with great facilities. On a hard wicket, runs looked aplenty, but for the first few overs, both Rehman and Waqas looked on top, Waqas beating the bat quite regularly, with the only runs coming off the edge of the bat. The hosts made steady progress though, until Waqas brought one back in off the seam, to remove the opening batsman’s bails. Waqas struck again with the score on 52, Rehman taking the catch, but by now the young opening bat at the other end had settled down and started to look rather decent. The new batsman also looked in good form and the pair moved the score along quite freely, helped by a (difficult) dropped catch behind the stumps and Westcott started to toil a little bit in the afternoon heat, with a 300+ score looking on the cards. However, with the score on 154, JB did the trick and broke the partnership, swinging one back in and clean bowling the opener, who by this stage had reached 79 and looked set for a big hundred. This was the break Westcott needed and they started to claw themselves back into the game. “Golden arm” Alimar removed the incoming batsman, effortlessly caught in the deep by JB and then took the key wicket of Chavda, who played a rash “oik” across the line when on 81, looking like he too might be set for a big hundred. So, the score was on 200-5, but Westcott felt they could restrict the Brickhill innings even further and some actual “spin” from skipper Strongy slowed the run rate a little more. Alimar continued to take wickets at the other end, with Strongy, Waqas and JB all taking good catches and when Tony finally took a catch behind from Strongy, Brickhill CC were all out for 237, so a good comeback by the Westcott fielders. Alimar finished with 4-32 and Strongy 3-64 (from 17 overs).
With 49 overs to bat, Westcott got off to the worst possible start, Rehman clothing one straight to mid off, Dale edging straight to gulley, Tanveer given out LBW and Stuart nibbled at one he confessed he should have left alone, to leave Westcott on 26-4 in less than 8 overs. The skipper donned some pads and strode out to meet Roy and the pair proceeded to put on a decent 50 run partnership, with Roy looking aggressive, hitting a couple of sixes, before splicing one to backward point when on 43. Waqas joined the skipper and batted sensibly to get 20 runs, before being run out to leave Westcott on 112-6 with 20 overs to go. The skipper was adamant though that the total was still in reach, with a fall back of perhaps getting a winning draw and he continued to look to score runs and remained positive. Alimar decided to take advantage of the short leg side boundary and promptly smashed three sixes out of the ground, to move Westcott quickly on to 180, before Alimar (39) was finally out stumped, trying to sweep the spinner and just dragging his back foot out of his crease. A decent 78 run partnership though that was invaluable to Westcott not losing the game, but also gave hope of a winning draw, or even a victory. Tiz came in and played a lovely late cut shot for four, and then smashed the biggest six I have ever seen, which actually fell short of the boundary and the batsmen ran two… it really was a big hit, but the boundary was huge at the bottom end of the ground. (I think even Eoin Morgan would have been pleased with the shot!!) Westcott were now running out of overs to get to the target, so focus shifted onto the winning draw total, but even that was just a touch too far and although Strongy tried to go big, he was eventually out stumped for a very worthy 56. Westcott ended their innings on 204-8, which from the position of 26-4, was a fantastic effort and a draw was taken. A good afternoon’s cricket in the sweltering heat, so it was definitely time to sit on the veranda and down a couple of cold ones!
Thanks must go to Great Brickhill CC for their hospitality, ensuring that water and squash was readily available throughout the afternoon in the heat and we wish them well for the rest of the season (as long as they don’t finish above us!!).