2006 Match Reports
An apparently pleasant day with a biting wind saw Greens Norton at home in our first game of the season, against Byfield A. The toss was lost and we were put into bat. An excellent, if slow, start was made by openers Phil Tonkinson and Neil Taylor, who batted patiently for 20 overs putting together an excellent 56 stand.
Tonkinson went on to anchor the innings with an excellent 70 only out near the end after some strong hitting. The remaining batting order did well putting on more than 100 in the last 20 overs to finish at 166 for 7. This was a decent score first time out with the only disappointment being the debutant, “Boony” (Michael O'Connor) who looked sure to score massively until holing out for 19.
When we started to bowl the excellence of the pitch became clear. Although not fast, it was true and the Byfield openers had no trouble. Our attack managed to bowl one bad ball an over that Byfield put away well. The youngster Heath in particular made sure that the poor ball was put away in fine style although he gave a couple of chances. One early on, in particular, was hard but, if taken, could have made the difference. Their openers put on 136 in 31 overs to ensure a simple task for the remaining Byfield batsmen once they were both out.
There was no real class from the Norton bowlers although Dave Wilson, bowling 9 overs for 2-45, looked fit and this would be good to see for a whole season. Bowmer was, as so often, the most economical with his 12 overs going for 1-38.
One minor gripe we have is the realisation which dawned upon us during the match that LBW will be unusual this year. We have been used to having at least one neutral umpire but this year it looks likely that we will have to work with umpires drawn from players of both sides.
Our first game showed some promise and fight but a loss by 6 wickets is still not a good start.
After a marvellously sunny two-and-a-half days the rain appeared at noon and was falling steadily by the time Stoneleigh arrived at Greens Norton. About 10 minutes before we were going to call the match off the rain stopped and we started the game late on a very wet (but hard) pitch for a game limited to 27 overs per side.
Norton lost the toss again and, as expected, were asked to face the new ball. The outfield was slow and wet and Norton’s batsmen struggled to get the ball away. Stoneleigh’s opening bowler bowled his 12 overs straight out with accuracy and some swing (initially, anyway) and he made the initial breakthroughs finishing with 5-25.
Norton’s batsmen got some starts but only Bodily (24) made much impression and Norton finished their 27 overs at 105 for 9. This was not enough runs but reflected the fact that we had the worst of the conditions in which to bat.
Norton started with some hope as Wilson took a wicket in his first over (an lbw no less). The batsman who suffered the first-ball agony from a team-mate’s decision spent the rest of the match, Ivor Gardner-like, on the other side of the field.
Further wickets were rare with a wet ball (due to the lack of swing) and a drying outfield speeding the ball to the boundary. Even so it was a close-run affair in the end with Stoneleigh finishing the runs off with only 10 balls to spare. Sadly, however, the scorebook showed an easy win by 7 wickets. Wilson looked fit for his 8-1-26-1 but there was no real pressure on the Stoneleigh batsmen who looked solid.
Our first away game of the season took us to Preston Bissett -a pleasant village ground disrupted only by the sheep droppings on the outfield. For the third time in a row we lost the toss and were asked to bat on a day that promised showers.
The batting started well with Holton and O’Connor putting on 41 in 11 overs before they both fell trying to push the run rate on. This brought in Bodily and debutant Fleming. Bod started with uncharacteristic patience which was to be the hallmark of an outstanding 80 not out, batting through 30 overs without giving a chance or hitting two successive boundaries. (For those of our readers who know him, the latter point is quite remarkable.)
Fleming by contrast tried to hit every ball and did hit a few in his 25 but the bowling was clearly not on the stumps or Fleming would have been out much earlier.
The middle order stuttered but the tail finally helped Bodily through and a big hitting 30 not out from Wilson at the end took Norton through to a tremendous 211 from their 40 overs.
The Preston innings started in the best possible way for us with a wicket in Wilson’s first over and two in Bowmer’s first, leaving them at 4 for 3 after just two overs. A small recovery took them to 37 when Wilson broke through again and allowed Bowmer another two-wicket over. At 40 for 7 Preston were down and out and looking hopefully over their shoulders at a massive storm on its way. With 16 overs gone and 20 needed for a result to stand Norton looked to speed things up as it got darker and darker. Skipper Holton was clearly feeling sorry for the batsmen who were unable to see the ball and replaced Wilson who finished his spell with figures of 3-26 off eight overs..
Despite the best efforts of the bowlers and fielders the rain started at over 18 and pressure from the crowd to come off (and away from the lightening) was immense but with maximum credit due to the batsmen and umpires they agreed it would be unfair to deprive the superior Norton side of a win. As a consequence we all got rather wet for a final two overs after which Preston had reached 61 for 8. The rain set in with flash flooding of the square, the outfield and the county.
This was Norton’s first win since this time last year!!!! It came on a faster scoring rate but was, nevertheless, richly deserved. Will this give us confidence going forward?
Spring in England seems to be cold and wet this year- and Hanslope was no execption. A miserable morning gave way to a similar afternoon but not quite so wet that we could call off the cricket in advance.
There was no rain actually falling when the toss was won and we elected to bowl first. Once, however, the first ball was bowled .... the rain started. The rain and the play continued with the promise of lighter patches in the sky.
Curly, returning for his first outing for ages, came on first change and immediately showed his class by bowling at the stumps.
Given the rain, it was amazing that play continued, allowing Hanslope to struggle to 52 for 7 with Curly bagging 5-19 and Bowmer 2-23. After these two finished their overs, and the rain stopped, the Hanslope numbers 5 and 9 put on 50 runs to take Hanslope to 111 all out - one short of their allotted 36 overs.
Tea was excellent and, wonderfully, took place in the warm and dry. Once again as the batsmen went out the rain began. After 2 overs we trooped in from the dark and wet field. Finally, one more over and one more attempt was enough for the umpire who called a halt to proceedings.
The match was, perhaps inevitably, drawn with 10 points going to each side. Not surprisingly, there was frustration and disappointment all round. Roll on next week although, having seen the weather forecast ....
It will come as no surprise to anybody in the Silverstone area (or, come to that, anywhere in England) that the match never got started due to the seemingly incessant rain in our drought-stricken country.
Norton visited Preston Capes to play the "A" side. This, in itself, is something of a change from normal since it has traditionally been their first team we have played when we have played them at all. (It might actually be a first.)
A report should follow but it will be slightly delayed due to illness. holiday and unavailability (in that order).
Greens Norton suffered an unexpected reverse on a lovely summer's evening (yes, we do have them). In the SNCL Division 2 Cup Norton were drawn at home to Hanslope. We had already got the better of the opposition in a rain-affected league match yet could not repeat the performance.
Hanslope batted first and reached 105 from their 20 overs. When we replied we struggled to 61 all out inside 17 overs. Only opener, Phil Tonkinson, and middle order stalwart, Dave Robinson, made any impression with the bat. On paper we had a very strong batting line up. Unfortunately, we did not deliver on that promise. As football managers are wont to say .... at least we can now concentrate on the league!
There is currently no report available for this match (mind you, we did lose by 10 wickets).
A hot June day took us to Finmere. The pitch looked dry and uneven and the boundaries were as short as the grass.
The batting started slowly with Tonkinson going early. Bodily (40) started the runs in a more appropriate fashion, with Taylor holding up the other end. On Bod’s dismissal (trying to hit one back into last week) Boony came in to maintain the scoring rates. After that it went downhill with only Taylor playing the shots we needed. His 87 was an excellent innings but only late hitting from Curly and Ivor saw us to a more appropriate score. Our final total of 214 should have been enough.
Finmere started poorly with an early wicket for Bowmer, followed by a couple of dropped catches. These were to prove disastrous as the Finmere’s numbers two and three put on 176 runs to put Finmere in total control.
The ball fizzed on the outfield with short grass and hard uneven ground. Even if the ball went straight to a fielder there was no certainty of stopping it. If it was a couple of yards from you there was no chance, the bowlers all toiled and even the variable bounce did not bring us the wicket we needed, when Bodily struck it was far too late and Finmere reached the target with 6 overs to spare.
In summary - a poor performance in the field.
The biggest crunch game of the season so far saw us field the most inexperienced team in recent memory with 4 juniors. These lads barely gathered a run between them - but they are keen unlike, apparently, the senior players
A difficult task was made more difficult buy the loss of the toss and 3 early wickets all in the first 5 overs. These three wickets were all senior batsmen and, as a result, it fell as so often these days to Bodily (43) to put on some runs. With great support from Gardner (16) the total moved from disaster to very poor. These two then fell together leaving Bowmer as the last senior batsment to protect the tail. Although he was unable to do this, his 17 and the boys’ contribution at least helped the total past 100 and some apparent respectability.
Gayton started slowly and surprised us when Waldron did not open. This allowed Bowmer an early wicket but Waldron and Trussler (27) moved very slowly towards the target. They were able to see off Bowmer (1-24) and Fleming (0-24) in the process.
With the total in sight there was the bizarre scene of Bowmer behind the stumps and Tonkinson bowling leg breaks. This produced Tonkinson’s first wicket for the club and Bowmer’s first stumping. Even this sight was not enough to put off Waldron as, at his jug-ducking best, he finished the match on 49 not out after 32 overs.
It does seem as though we need the players we have registered to be more available or another relegation beckons.
A hot and sunny Byfield found the noble skipper winning the toss for the first time this year and, despite all indications to the contrary, we fielded first in 30 degrees. (Editor's note:that's the mid eighties in Fahrenheit for those of you like me who have to convert everything into proper numbers.) To be fair, this was deliberate as we have showed so far an inability to set a total.
The hard dry wicket at Byfield is a batting track and only the new ball's early swing saw any deviation at all. Byfield started slowly, with the first pair putting on 68 in 18 overs. The fall of the first wicket was the signal for a flurry of runs. From there on the pace accelerated until Paul Wills was bowled. Then control returned and Norton successfully kept the runs down until the last 3 overs shed 30 runs. Byfield finished on 208 for 7 which is a few more than they could have had, but is less than they wanted.
The Norton reply started in traditional fashion with an early wicket. Tthis brought together the crucial partnership of Bodily (53) and Robinson (67). They put on more than 100 as they pushed the Norton reply forward, keeping in touch all the time with the run rate. The fall of Bodily brought some initial quickening of the pace (which is what normally happens when Bod comes in). Then the rate started rising and a couple of wickets fell until, with three overs remaining and 24 required, your correspondent was dragged to the wicket on a hatrick ball.
The tension and pressure was high and a thin edge for 4 was the first result. The next few balls passed in a flurry of running, run out appeals and general mayhem, until 3 were required for victory from the last ball. A thick edge saw a tight two and an extraordinary tie with Norton 208 for 5. (Phew!)
Stoneleigh Abbey offers one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the country. It won the award for the best in the country in 2003 and is truly stunning. In front of an impressive mansion and in glorious grounds it was the ideal place for the Greens Norton 10 to show their ability (3 Saturday morning dropouts having reducing our numbers somewhat).
The wicket offered some bounce and seam and for the second week in a row the skipper won a vital toss and we elected to bowl. The first ball saw the Stoneleigh top run scorer for the season surrender his wicket first ball. (That’s twice he has done this against us this year). This set Stoneleigh back and they moved cautiously for the first few overs. Gradually the pace built up as the confidence grew but Nortons bowlers always looked like picking up a wicket.
The introduction off the young lads to the bowling attack raised the scoring momentum but this was constrained in the final overs by Bowmer (2-37) and Bodily (4-52). Stonleigh finished on 188 for 8 and Norton were satisfied they had done well on a decent pitch and a short boundary.
The Norton reply started solidly but soon the skipper fell and wickets started to fall on a regular basis. Bodily (32) and Horley (23) put on a decent partnership but when Bodily was out trying to push the pace up the remainder of the batsmen rolled over to a disappointing 93 all out.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear .... but at least we have got some nice pictures to show you.
Our wicket has really excelled itself this season. The two sets of batsmen scored over 500 runs between them in 80 overs. There was still enough in the wicket for 11 wickets to fall (although neither side really made use of what was clearly a spinner's wicket). Greens Norton opened the batting with Taylor and Tonkinson looking untroubled but somewhat stately. To be fair to them one of the reasons they scored relatively slowly was that they had difficulty in reaching the ball when Arthur Bryant was bowling. This most experienced of bowlers had great difficulty in controlling the swing he was extracting and regularly swung his deliveries wide of the popping crease on the off side. When he attempted to compensate he pushed it down the leg side and failed to get any swing at all. It must have been very frustrating for him.
Anyway, the terrible "T"s meandered on to an unbroken first wicket partnership of just 79 off the first 20 overs. They then began to get on top of the Preston bowling attack. The visitors did seem to have some difficulty in settling on the right length to bowl - a fact that our openers started to put to good use. When Neil Taylor was finally out (Poole taking a very sharp return catch) after accelerating to a thrilling 60 the score was 122 for 1- not a common sight for the home team at the Playing Fields. Phil Tonkinson continued to play the anchor role and ended up undefeated on a stirling 87. The missing piece of this jigsaw was the contribution made by our number three batsman. Andre Bodily ("Bod") strode to the wicket in his usual purposeful manner but none of us were prepared for what followed. He ended up on 77 before being bowled but, in the meantime, had taken his score to 50 from just 12 scoring shots. It was a superb display of attacking batsmanship in which Bod displayed a wide range of shots. We finished on 254 for 4 with the less said about the contributions of batsmen numbers four and five the better. It would be churlish, however, not to acknowledge that Preston skipper, Valambhia, did claim a hatrick with the last three balls of the Norton innings.
Virtually from the outset, Preston's response was to go for it. They scored more consistently than did Norton and frequently reached or exceeded the target of 6 runs per over. Inevitably, though, this sort of aproach was always likely to yield chances - and it did. We held on to some of them but dropped two we should have caught. Preston 's innings was based on two very good knocks - a slightly unorthodox 75 from opener Doard, and a more conventional 82 from De Silva. They were ably followed by Cox who, with hindsight, should perhaps have batted up the order. The match was nip and tuck right up until the final over when Preston needed 6 to tie the match off the last two balls. Horley, bowling, kept his nerve and put in an almost unplayable yorker for the penultimate ball and Cox was unable to score. With a tie still possible there was not a lot of breathing going on as Horley ran in for his final delivery. It was a decent enough ball but Cox was stiil able to give it some welly right up to deep mid-wicket. Frtuntely for Norton it was all along the ground and it fell, appropriately enough, to Bod to collect it in the field. Apart from the yelps that went up from some of the home team, the loudest nose was that of everybody involved collectivley releasing their breaths! What a match!
In summary, then, a great match with Norton perhaps being just the steadier bowling and fielding team of the two. The batting from both sides was what we shall all remember, however . Congratulations to all involved.
Shortly after the start what appeared to be the outer edges of a hurricane crashed through Northamptonshire. The torrential rain, storm force winds and lighting all contributed in their own way to the match's being abandoned. I don't kinow .... it's sunny all week and rains just once in a fortnight. When does it choose to do this? Better luck next week?