5s secure winning draw with battling performance
By Charles Martland
Stunning Atula run out helps secure 4 points
The 5s arrived at Peter May following a two week break due to Southgate's removal from the league. Captain Martland unbelievably won his 3rd toss on the bounce and inserted an Actonians side who had started the season well, level on points with the Midd. A few late arrivals meant we began our fielding with 8 men, yet Joe Bangerter (8-3-29-1) was unfazed in sending down a maiden first up. Atula, direct from morning commitments at the Buddhist temple and Noman, M&S white long sleeve T looking fresher than ever, soon brought us back to our full compliment. Nico (7-3-11-1) bowled with aggression, his most accurate opening spell to date, and removed their opener with a corker-yorker. Despite fielding and bowling well, we struggled for a breakthrough after that, with Actonians never pulling away in reaching 70/1 after 23 overs. After an eventful Noman (2/46) over including two drops, the seamer cleaned up the Number 2 bat to break an irritating partnership. Immediately after drinks, the excellent Alex Croft (14-3-46-1) grabbed another, Olly Buxton snaffling a top-edged sweep. From there, we fielded superbly, probably the best I can remember in 18 months of captaincy. This culminated in an extraordinary runout by Atula, hurling the ball from wide mid on before celebrating, arms akimbo and whooping for joy. Charles' (9-1-29-2) slower slow one accounted for another batter, before Banger nicked off their skipper, an old school acquaintance, for a well made 40. 189 the damage and 42 overs to face.
A top effort and we were confident.
One way or another though, we've struggled to make meaningful partnerships up top this year and yesterday proved no different. Alban got a good one after 2 boundaries, Atula was run out from a mix up and Timmy adjudged LBW. When Olly tickled behind for 18, we were 49/4. Will Frais (39), promoted to number four, defied his age in a lovely, composed knock, as he and Arjun (19) batted sensibly to take the score into three figures. Both fell, however, within eight balls, Arj's in particular seeming to stick in the wicket. With 5 men gone, the winning draw target of 159 became more realistic and Martland (33*) was brilliantly assisted by his young tail in getting us over that line. Nico looked solid for 15 and Alex Croft struck a boundary to get us the 4 points.
An excellent display which deserved all 10, but in a very tight league against a promotion rival, a winning draw is a positive result.