Firsts fall short in high scoring encounter
By Kamran Ramzan
Robbie Nicholson showed no mercy as his 156 and an opening partnership of 253 helped make Combe a huge total.
On a hot sunny day at the Brake, we were prepared to face our opponents for this week: Combe. After a bit of deliberation of whether to bat or bowl, it didn't matter with Combe winning the toss and choosing to bat. We were optimistic of an early wicket and then breaking down their weak middle order. Kamran Ramzan and Michael Tippet opened the bowling with the relentless runscorer Robbie Nicholson leading the Combe batting. In the second over Tipper was hit by a powerful straight shot. He had to go off and was unable to bowl for the rest of the innings but returned to field a few overs later. Although very difficult, it technically counted as a drop meaning Robbie had another life on 1. Edd took over bowling duties from Tippet and the runflow was fairly normal with both bowlers bowling well. Chris Graham came on for Kamran with 60 runs on the board after 10, and bowled nicely. Both batsmen were well set though and saw off most overs with ease. Nothing was really happening for us, still searching for a wicket. Edd had a break and Sam Rodway replaced him. Soon after it was time for drinks and Combe were on 104, going steady and ready to unleash after some overs. Kamran returned alongside Sam, now Nicholson was beginning to rack up the boundaries with Rodway targeted. Despite our best efforts, nothing was going our way and even with a few more bowling changes Robbie was smoking boundary after boundary with the occasional shot from his partner Westaby. After raising his bat for his hundred, he was still hungry for more and cleared the boundary many more times, including one six that hit the back of Andy's van! From a calm first half of the innings, the run rate had suddenly shot up. In the 41st over with 252 already on the board, Chris Graham managed to beat Nicholson's bat and have him stumped on 156! This was also his first wicket of the season. A bit of a sloppy end gave more runs than we should have and Combe finished with a formidable 294 for the loss of only 1 wicket.
Tea was very nice once again and then our two openers Andy Oliver and Sahil Kalyan went out to start our runchase. We were determined to not be overwhelmed by the target and just try to bat freely. Even after a 40 over innings, Robbie also opened the bowling. They both got off to a good start and the runrate was decent. The score was on 71 at the moment when Sahil mistimed an attempted shot over mid off, being caught for 30. Craig Woods was in next, hoping to break his duck streak and have a good outing at the crease. Andy and him had a bit of a misunderstanding leading to Craig being run out on 6. Having promoted himself up the order a bit, Edd Willmot came in at 4 and it was time for him to get a good innings under his belt too. He and Andy had a very disciplined approach and were scoring well. Andy crossed 50, the first half century for someone in our 1sts or 2nds so far this season, and the third for our club overall. Edd was also settled and then they went for a risky run out with Andy dismissed for a 71. Sam Rodway joined Edd, and this was a time where we were still in the game, just requiring a good partnership to follow the hard work already done. Sam and Edd rotated the strike nicely with some boundaries hit too. Additionally, there was some good running between the pair by putting pressure on the fielders and even running a couple of 3s. Edd was caught on 67 breaking an 80 run partnership with the score now on 236, 4 overs remaining. The incoming batsmen didn't have time to settle and Simon Palmer along with Sam Rodway were dismissed in quick succession. Ben Bollig hit a couple of fours but the rat was very high and we didn't many more. He was run out and Jonah Clarke caught as we slid even further. Kamran came in and 39 was needed off of 7 balls. Both him and Tippet were just having some fun off the last few balls and soon after our innings ended. It was pretty much a one man show with Robbie scoring 156 and then also bowling 12 overs but their main bowler was player pool bowler Mikey Franklin from Stonesfield who took 4 wickets. Not the best of days for us but it was a valiant effort in the end to come fairly close to such a daunting total.