GARGOYLES PIPPED IN THRILLER FINISH
To score 168 for one and lose must be some form of record. Moreover, it was a near perfect all round performance from the Gargoyles, eclipsed in the end by the brazen batting confidence of three Wootton youngsters. To get to the last over with the last Wooton pair at the wicket, the Gargoyles needed one wicket and Wootton needed 5 runs to win and it was veteran Wootton skipper Simon Clowes who steered his young crew home.
It didn’t start well for the Gargoyles, as the inclement weather had hampered kit bag preparations and various missing pieces of apparel had to be called for, necessitating changes to the batting order. Not to worry, the new pairing of
Andy Bray and Dave Singleton steadily upped the rate and had put on 57 when Singleton was yorked for 31. Harry Jones had by now been reunited with his flannels and proceeded to play with relaxed authority, dispatching all the Wootton bowlers to all points of the boundary. Bray and Jones both reached their 50s with powerful sixes. Neil Shotton’s pivot was hampered by a painful blow to the arm, but Ian McKay kept the rate above 5 an over with a jaunty 23 not out. 168 for 1 off 30 overs. Tea taken while the heavy rain passed through.
Wootton’s top order was exclusively manned with talented young batsmen. There was an early breakthrough, as Rob Handscombe produced a deceiving dipper to remove Clowes for 8 after 6 overs. For the next 12 overs, Kent and Tomkinson took the Gargoyles’ bowlers on and won handsomely. Both reached their unbeaten 50s in short order, audaciously picking good length balls off middle stump and launching them into the pavilion or Hulme end. It was exhibition stuff. Credit to the bowlers for keeping the faith and they were rewarded with a flurry of wickets, as the flight and guile of Singleton (3 for 37) and McKay (3 for 32) suddenly opened up the chance of victory. When Andy Bray got one to slide under the bat of Kent, we moved into that last wicket and last over.
All results were possible, a skied chance went begging, skipper Clowes played and missed, but eventually connected. On such a miserably damp day, the quality of the cricket, in particular from the youthful Wootton contingent was a credit to their club and the game at large. Wootton won by 1 wicket.