GARGOYLES PUT ON SHOW OF MAGIC
Alstonefield Cricket Club produced an astonishing display of self-belief on Sunday to emerge victors against a strong, but ultimately dumbfounded Ashbourne CC. Needing only 137 to win, Ashbourne had reached nearly half that total, at 66 without loss, from only 9 overs and an early adjournment to the George looked certain. Then came acts of prestidigitation which drew gasps of amazement from the enthralled spectators and sent Gargoyles into raptures.
Put into bat on a true, but damp wicket, openers Harry Jones and Neil Shotton batted sensibly against an accurate Ashbourne attack. The scoring rate was stuck at 3.5 an over, until a change of bowler released the shackles and gave Shotton the opportunity to plunder 18 from a single over and take the score to 74, before Jones was out caught for 31 trying to do the same. 74 for 1 rapidly became 82 for 4, once Shotton perished leg before for a typically unorthodox, but nevertheless, impressive 35, as Ashbourne brought on their two strike bowlers, Lewis and Hill. These two made run scoring very hard and it was the 29th over before the 100 was up. Ian McKay was watching batsmen come and go all too quickly, but managed to put some respectability on the scoreboard with his unbeaten 26, with spirited support from Tony Guest, who made 11 and Richard Allen who drove his two balls straight past the bowler with aplomb for an unbeaten 8. 136 for 7 off 35 overs felt at least 25 runs short.
Within 9 overs of their innings, Ashbourne’s openers, Ellwood and Lewis were making 136 look like 125 runs short. 66 without loss and good balls being sent to the boundary, particularly from Ben King, who bowled superbly. Captain Simon Smith brought on Ian McKay and in his first over he deceived Ellwood in flight and John Clarke took a smart catch in the covers. The spell had been broken. In the next over, Lewis, hell bent on continuing his elegant plunder sent a fast and straight Ben King delivery into the sky and down the slope. Alan Hayes dutifully followed its airborne path with his hands positioned somewhere near his boot straps and his legs stretching seemingly out of control as the slope’s gravity took hold. Moments later, or was it an eternity, the ball was, as if by magic, lost in the vice like grip of the Gargoyles’ arm wrestling champion. What followed was not pretty; ten Gargoyles in a heap of joyous abandon on top of the unsuspecting Hayes. Lewis was out for 43 and that changed everything. McKay’s variation of flight was beguiling and wickets started to fall quickly. Ben King bowled the younger Hill for 0, McKay had Mishra lbw for 1 and then yorked Maudling for 0. Captain Smith entrusted Richard Allen to apply the pressure and he responded immediately with a wicket maiden, luring Goosey into an edge behind to the razor sharp Harry Jones. 81 for 6 and another piece of split second magic, this time captain Smith flinging himself and holding on to a ferocious off drive by the dangerous Hill senior off the bowling of Allen. 81 for 7. And Allen wasn’t finished yet, somehow tempting Jake Hulme out of his crease for Jones to execute a sharp stumping. Wood and Maudling then batted carefully and with 16 overs remaining passed the 100 mark. McKay got one through the resolute Wood’s defence and the final act was about to unfold. 27 needed to win off 12 overs with the last pair at the wicket. Pressure does strange things to a batsman’s clarity of thought and Ashbourne captain Mick Hulme thought he could run faster than a ball thrown through the air. The ball won, Jones removed the bails and the show was over.
Probably the most satisfying result in Gargoyles history.
Alstonefield CC 136 for 7 beat Ashbourne CC 113 all out by 23 runs.