On what can only be described as total amazement after driving through heavy rain and brooding skies, the Kilve 1st XI arrived at Horrington to find the ground not only playable but in great condition, with a fairly dry, lush green outfield and a track that looked rock hard, albeit with a fair bit of grass still on.
After winning the toss, Kilve skipper Pete Stone made the logical decision (especially with the one new ball being used), and opted to put the home side in.
With two regular seamers missing due to a good excuse – work commitment (Carl Clemenson) and a poor one – an Inbetweeners-style lads holiday (especially with those toenails! – Ryan Penwell), Kilve opened up with new ball specialist Jay Darrel and Gary Stone – usually a regular stalwart of the middle overs.
Stone was on the mark straight away and took a wicket in his first over with Pardey snicking behind to veteran keeper Ed Martin for a duck. Darrell on the other hand, couldn’t hit a barn door with a blunderbuss and was guilty of throwing his toys out of the pram on more than one occasion – no surprise there then!
Stone continued to trouble the Horrington batsmen and took his second wicket, trapping fellow opener Russell plumb in front for 4, but Darrell was struggling to find any sort of rhythm and was replaced by Dean Marchent, who posed threat right from the first ball with his patented wibbly wobbly tempters, and in his 4th over he trapped the dangerous Delange in front after scoring a brisk but classy 53.
Stone bowled a superbly tight 12 over spell taking 2-22 before he was replaced by James ‘Badger’ Payne who despite bowling the worst attempted slower delivery you’re ever likely to see, soon found his range, and trapped Rivers in front for 3, before Chris James, replacing Marchent joined in the fun by snagging two quick wickets at the opposite end. Both were almost identical, caught by the excellent young Jack Hobbs at mid off, although one was off a great ball and one a half tracker that was so juicy the people in nearby Wells could see delight in the batsman’s eyes. As is always the way though, he managed to mistime it straight to Jack, who took the pouch as cool as a cucumber.
Payne then removed both Whittaker and Chris in consecutive balls, both for ducks. He bowled the former while he was trying to smoke the ball to the moon and then produced a savage off cutter than had the latter playing all round his pads only to hear the dreaded death rattle.
Darrell, replacing Chris James bowled a superb second spell – the complete opposite of his first – and took the well deserved wicket of Fudge for 13 to leave the Horrington innings sat on 165 for 9, with S Taylor making a vital contribution with a steady 60 no.
After a fantastic tea, Kilve openers Cris Taylor and Ed Martin set out to chase what was a tricky total in such inclemental weather. Taylor started well and looked to be in good nick following his super knock the week before, so it was a surprise when he proceeded to splice an attempted pull straight into the hands of square leg who didn’t have to move, to walk back after scoring 19.
Andrew Martin joined his father at the crease but the pair weren’t together long, as Ed proceeded to call for a run off his own shot that went straight to a fielder and was run out by a fair distance.
Payne came in at 4 and looked pretty solid from the off, and he a Martin looked to be going along fine until Andrew (14) left a straight one and was bowled by the pacey Delange.
Gary Stone walked in at 5 but Kilve were still unable to build a good partnership, as Payne drove to cover and was well caught by the diving fielder after scoring 11. Chris James came in at 6, and together with Stone began moving the score along nicely until Stone was bowled by an off cutter from Burge after scoring 21.
Hobbs then took guard, and looked a great prospect for the future as he showed great maturity beyond his years, and along with the excellent James he ticked the score along at a good rate while stifling the enthusiastic noise of the youthful opposition.
Jack holed out to gully after scoring a patient 8 to see Marchent making the trip to the middle. He and James played superbly, with Dean taming his natural attacking instinct to provide great support to CJ, and see the total required decreasing at a steady rate.
Unfortunately for Kilve, they lost James at a crucial time, holing out after scoring a superb 32, leaving Kilve needing to score 46 off 7 overs.
In walked Darrell, and by this time the opposition were sensing the end of the Kilve resistance. What they hadn’t expected though, is for the former opening batsman to smite 12 off the Horrington skipper in his first over, including a huge six over midwicket, and then proceed to hit the ball to all parts with superb timing and placement leaving Kilve needing just 10 runs off 3 overs!
Darrel then pulled Burge majestically to the square leg boundary to leave the scores level, before Marchent’s excellent running off a leg bye sealed the game in Kilve’s favour.
It was a fantastic game of cricket played in excellent spirit and with both teams sporting some very talented young players, it certainly bodes well for the future.