HSMCC v Nutfield


Date: Saturday 29 June 2019

Venue: Holmbury St Mary

Report by: Dan Russell

Result: Holmbury win by 54 runs

Holmbury St Mary 234-9, Effingham 180.

Saturday 29th June Holmbury played Nutfield at home in a mid-season top of the table clash.  The scene was set for a belter of a game and an increasing number of spectators at the ground were not disappointed. Here's Dan's report from the thick of the action.

Nutfield CC 1st XI were relegated from Division 1 following a tough 2018 season.  This season they sit 2nd in the league.  Three of Nutfield’s batsman feature in the top six of the league by runs scored. Jordan McLaren, batting at 3 for Nutfield, averages 196 with a best score of 101 not out.  Statistically their bowlers are less impressive.  As such, this was the toughest game Holmbury have played since narrowly losing at home to Woldingham during the Division 2 relegation battle in August 2017.  Prior to the game both sides were unbeaten in the league this season.

Under clear blue skies and 33 degrees of heat, the ground was immaculate.  The toss would have a significant impact on the course of the game.  Fielding between 1pm – 4pm would have an attritional effect on the fittest of sides.  As such, a number of nervous Holmbury players watched the skipper David Hadaway conduct the toss with interest.  To our relief, following the glint of a descending coin onto the pristine closely cropped grass, David made the batting hand signal. #WinTossBat.

Dan Russell and Nigel Menzies opened and Nutfield’s one man disadvantage immediately showed as Nutfield's opening bowler conceded two boundaries in the first over through mid wicket.  Dan Russell fell cheaply lbw to a middle and leg stump yorker for 13.  Phil King, promoted to 3, arrived at the wicket 5 overs in.  He immediately settled into a fruitful second wicket partnership with Nigel which yielded 60 before Nigel eventually fell caught behind for 36 in the 19th over. Next man in Johnny Russell built a confident 66 run partnership  with Phil consisting of well struck boundaries and quick singles which put Holmbury 151 – 2 after 28 overs.  Due to the heat, Phil retired on 63 in the 28th over.

To the assembled crowd’s dismay, Mat Evans (1) fell cheaply given out caught behind off his thigh pad.  Next out was Johnny Russell who batted very well for 34. Sadly he was run out in a mix up that is probably best resolved over a beer.  Bradley was bowled for 17 in the 32nd over with only 172 on the board.  Jason Russell arrived at the wicket with at least another 40 – 50 runs needed. He did not disappoint.  Powerful cuts and pull shots dissected the well spread defensively set field as he shepherded the tail (Sharma 7, Webb 3, Hadaway 3) to push the home side’s total to 224 before being caught for 37.  Vice Captain Geoff Finch was joined by the returning No3 batsman Phil King to add another ten runs to complete the innings. Nutfield added 20 extras – mostly wides and no balls. Holmbury posted 234, ideally we would have scored 250.  

At tea, about 4.30pm due to a late start courtesy of the M25, the temperature felt very much the 34 degrees  showing on the thermometer. Nutfield were clearly impacted by the hot weather. They needed to be encouraged to queue up for tea as they sat lethargically outside their changing room in stunned near silence. The two water breaks at the 15 and 30 over point had clearly not been enough.

Nutfield’s innings got off to a decent start surviving two chances as they tracked the required run rate in the first 9 overs. A difficult chance was tipped over second slip in the 6th over and an easier opportunity was juggled to the floor at Point in the 8th over. Harrison ‘The Holmbury Ferrari’ Webb claimed his first wicket in the 9th over with 39 runs on the board removing their dangerous opening bat Lbw. Two more quick wickets followed as Nutfield wobbled to 67 for 3 in the 18th over. First change bowlers Geoff Finch and Monu Sharma combined brilliantly to take wickets and maintain pressure from the other end. Finchy removing their No 2 and 4 batsman whilst Monu conceded only 11 runs in his 4 over spell. Jordan MacLaren (see above) was joined at the wicket by Jonathan Drew who was recognised by Harrison as a capable and destructive batsman. The pair put on 80 and started to look increasingly dangerous. Between overs 19 – 29 the pair dragged the run rate back so the game was evenly poised if Nutfield could finish strongly. Bradley Cooper and David Hadaway bore the brunt of some consistent single taking and brutish middle order hitting.

Dear readers, even as the temperatures receded (a bit) and the shadows lengthened our bowlers worked very hard. Fielding positions were rotated frequently to give opportunities to spend time on the boundary in a shady nook drinking water. I digress.

Moving into the last quarter of the Nutfield innings things were going well for the visitors. They were on the run rate(ish) and were within striking distance of the total. 80 runs were required off 60 balls. As home team heads dropped slightly and runs started to flow it was clear that an act of individual skill would be required as we became ever more defensive to remain level.

Mat’s first five over spell was very tidy bar a couple of boundaries in his 5th over. In the 33rd over he stalked to the crease ready to do mischief to the increasingly confident batsman. Mat’s sixth ball was fired back at him by the batsman caught off guard by the extra pace and bounce. Mat held on much to the relief of home side as Nutfield’s middle order danger-man dragged himself off just short of a half century.

Thereafter wickets started to tumble. Monu returned to the fray and, in addition to another wicket for Mat, mopped up the four remaining tail end batsman including a brilliant ball to remove the limpet like No 3 batsman Jordan McLaren for 60. The ball pitched on a perfect length and removed the off bail.  

Nutfield slumped from 147 – 4 to 180 all out in 37 overs. Harrison Webb 8 overs 32 runs for 1 wicket, Mat Evans 6 overs 1 maiden 28 runs for 2 wickets, Geoff Finch 7 overs 43 runs for 2 wickets, Monu Sharma 7 overs 15 runs for 4 wickets, Bradley Cooper 4 overs 22 runs and David Hadaway 4 overs for 31 runs. Tidy keeping from Johnny Russell resulted in only 7 byes. Johnny also helped to marshall the field.

A great team effort.  This is a group of players growing in technical ability and confidence. Half way through the season we are top of the league by 41 points and unbeaten for 22 months.  Next week we are away to relegation candidates Burgh Heath who have only won twice so far this season.