Alstonefield Ladies v Gents – Saturday 8th September 2012


From the moment skipper Cathy Reavy called correctly and decided to bat first on a sun baked wicket, the Ladies XI were in an assertive mood. Spurred on by the biggest crowd of the season, there was an air of expectant belief, as the Ladies’ team hug burst into life.

There was a minor setback in the first over, when Richard Hobday, deceptively dressed as a cruise liner waiter, forgot the first rule of a long and happy life by spreading the Reverend Ballard’s timber and then inducing Jo Griffin into going airborne, only to be athletically taken by the ever sprightly Tony Spybey.  But then the tone of the game changed.

Pauline Hambleton launched a brutal assault on the

defenceless Gentlemen bowlers. None were spared the voracious manhandling of a batsman in her prime. Ten boundaries in her 47, made Pauline the highest scorer in the history of Ladies vs Gentlemen challenges. The destructive combination of power and timing left Gentlemen skipper Richard Allen scratching his head. First Cathy Reavy and then Sue Lovatt featured in 20 run stands, as they supported the Hambleton blitz and just when skipper Allen thought he had the answer in John Reavy’s underarm grubbers, up popped debutante Sarah Longyear, who showed the maker’s name, with straight drives out of the MCC coaching manual, as she piled on 19 runs in quick time.  In amongst the carnage, Peter Linley showed his rotating googlies to great effect and Finlay Allen, with 3 clean bowled wickets, reminded us all what a class act he could be, if only he had a little more confidence and tried a bit harder.  Rob Handscombe was clearly not comfortable with the big gloves on and missed schoolboy stumping chances, which meant the Ladies XI brought their innings to a conclusion at 105 all out from their 20 overs.

Tactically, skipper Allen decided his batting order would mix the exuberance of youth with wizened experience. Openers Peter Linley and John Reavy looked solid enough until Tara Allen got one to nip back off the seam and find Peter’s gap. That brought young Nick Roeden to the wicket to join the busy Reavy. Just as he was beginning to open the shoulders, Sarah Longyear produced some reverse swing and sent Reavy’s off stump into cartwheels of delight. There then followed three overs of ungallant, boddice ripping butchery, as the man in the dress shirt sent 7 red missiles into cow corner. Richard Hobday retired on 32, citing the fact that his champagne was at the perfect temperature.

This left young Nick with the responsibility of seeing the Gentlemen home. Manfully he built his innings of 30 not out, ably supported by Thomas Linley and the Gentlemen scented success. With 28 runs still needed, skipper Reavy then pulled off the game changing tactical masterstroke. Sue Lovatt and Mel Ferguson were instructed to simply take the pace off the ball leaving Patrick McIllroy and Luke Power unable to penetrate the inner circle. Jo Griffin and Meg Handscombe had both shown complete mastery behind the stumps, with flawless glove work and when Griffin was asked to deliver the final over, she mixed the doozra with the slider and the jaffa and bowled a maiden. The Gentlemen XI had made 93 for 3 at the end of their 20 overs. The Ladies XI had won by 12 runs.

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