KING RETURNS FROM EXILE TO INSPIRE GARGOYLES
Another spine-tingling finish between two evenly matched teams. This time Alstonefield CC came out on top to defeat Sunseekers by 5 wickets, after another strong all round performance. The match started at a frenzied pace, with Sunseekers’ captain Taylor chancing his arm from the off, being rewarded with a succession of boundaries. The Gargoyles’ opening bowlers were struggling to keep the rate below 6 an over. Change bowlers Will Siddons and Ian McKay stemmed the flow and bowled their 10 overs for only 39 runs, to give Alstonefield some control. Taylor went on to make a breezy 52 not out and it wasn’t until the score was 114 in the 24th over, that Shahid Ali captured the first wicket, with a brilliant diving caught and bowled to dismiss opener Downes for 39. He then followed this up with two master classes in deception, as his heavily disguised slower ball did for Coxon for 31 and then Govan for 7. Chris Wilkins produced a peach to clip Taylor’s off bail, but Sunseekers still had 6 wickets remaining and two aggressive batsmen out in the middle. Ben King bowled a superb spell of accurate, full length deliveries to limit the damage and restrict Sunseekers to 177 for 4 off their 35 overs. 178 to win at just over 5 runs an over.
What the Gargoyles didn’t need was a farcical run out in the fifth over, as Ian McKay and Andy Bray gave their cricket interpretation of a referendum ballot paper and McKay trooped off. Fortunately, Bray was in devastating form and he and Chris Wilkins took the Sunseekers’ attack apart with proper cricket shots to all parts of the ground. These two had put on 93 in 14 overs, when Bray lost his off stump. Wilkins went on to make a cultured, unbeaten 52 to put the Gargoyles in a winning position at 115 for 2 with 14 overs remaining. Suddenly it was 123 for 4 as Ali and Captain Simon Smith went cheaply. Calm heads were needed and they came in the surprising form of Will Siddons and Ben King. With a mixture of aggressive strokeplay and dogged defence to good balls, these two added 51 in 9 overs to take the Gargoyles to the brink of a famous victory. King was adjudged out lbw on 29 and so it was Siddons who hit the winning runs to give him 24 not out and his team something to cheer.
A deserved win by a team who never give up, on the back of some exceptional individual performances. Captain Smith will have difficult selection choices to make as he plots his course for the season’s eagerly anticipated denouement when his Captains XI take on the Chairman’s XI with reputations at stake.
ALSTONEFIELD CC 179 FOR 5 WICKETS BEAT SUNSEEKERS, 177 FOR 4 BY 5 WICKETS