GAME OF FIRSTS AS GARGOYLES COME SECOND
The first game of the Gargoyles’ season at a delightful Muggington ground, against new opponents in the form of the aptly named Derby Sunseekers, all under new captain Simon Smith, turned into a heady mix of skill, historic achievement, disbelief and ultimately drama.
On a perfect wicket and in glorious sunshine the Sunseekers’ openers made rapid progress, with Longdon particularly dismissive of anything short or overpitched, until he drove a sharp return catch to Andy Siddons. 62 for 1 wicket after 10 overs and captain Smith turned to debut boy Tony Guest for inspiration. The first ball of his Gargoyles’ career was a beauty, catching the edge of Taylor’s bat and flying to an ever alert Ian McKay in the gulley. Guest and McKay then proceeded to bowl the next 10 overs for a miserly 14 runs and dismissing a confident looking Goven along the way. The pressure was now on the Sunseekers’ batsmen to force the pace and captain Smith instinctively knew this was a situation tailor made for the flight and guile of veteran Dave Singleton. What followed was a lethal concoction of loop, spin and confusion which made history.
First there was the perfectly flighted off break that found the gap between bat and pad to bowl Coxon. The next ball managed to roll up Jennings’ bat and arm and fly skywards over the stumps, only for the sprightly Harry Jones to reprise his childhood juggling act with both gloves before claiming the catch. Captain Smith dutifully instructed all his fielders to crowd the new batsman on the hat trick ball and to everyone’s amazement, his ungainly leg side heave managed to edge a pretty ordinary delivery on to the beckoning stumps. Dave Singleton had achieved the first hat trick in the club’s history and sank to his knees in shock. The rest of the innings was much calmer, with new boy Andy Bray and Nick Kendall bowling intelligently to maintain the pressure on the batsmen. Sunseekers’ skipper Coxon held the innings together with his 29 not out, but 112 all out looked like an achievable target at just over 3 runs an over.
Opener Neil Shotton started the new season as he finished the last, with his trade mark, yet ill-advised pivot shot triggering the umpire’s finger. Andy Bray then played down the wrong line and the innings was off to a poor start. Simon Smith joined a fluent looking Harry Jones and these two moved the score up to 48 before Smith was beaten by a snorter from Longdon, who was the best of the Sunseekers’ bowlers. With John Clarke going for an elegant one, Jones attacked and had moved on to a classy 40 when he too was bowled. 64 for 5 wickets after 20 overs when Tony Spybey got one that kept low to shatter his stumps.
Andy Siddons joined Ian McKay and these two moved the score on to 85 before Siddons was bowled. When Nick Kendall was brilliantly caught at slip by Bennett, the Gargoyles needed 18 runs off the last 4 overs. By the final over, McKay and Singleton had nudged the score to 108. McKay went for victory, missed and left debut boy Tony Guest two balls to achieve glory.
The script writers had obviously had enough, because both his lusty blows split the air and not the leather.
A superb game, played in true village cricket spirit and SUNSEEKERS HAD WON BY 4 RUNS.