On the last day of the season Minch hosted Upton St Leonards, who they hadn’t seen since the 1st game of the season, knowing that a win was needed in order to give them a chance of promotion.
The wicket was naturally very damp following some heavy rain on Thursday and Friday and the wicket was very touch and go in the morning and soft throughout the game. Opposition skipper Harkins won the toss and chose to bowl. Minch made a steady start, Alex Waring and Dave Gordon adding 20 for the 1st wicket. Waring fell for 14, edging one to gully and Ross Britton didn’t last long, clean bowled for 4 by Dwight, as Minch were reduced to 24 for 2. Dave Gordon battled on in tricky conditions, seeing off the good opening pair of Ridley and Dwight. Jon Ablett returned to the side and began where he left off finding the boundaries with ease and the pair amassed a vital 129 run partnership in the middle of the innings. When Ablett retired hurt with a leg injury on 46, Pete Raphael entered the crease. After nearly two months without a game he was rusty at first but two well struck 4s and a large 6 helped propel the innings along. Dave Gordon continued to bat excellently at the other end passing 50 but when Raphael fell for 22, Minch had a mini collapse. Raphael, Price and Waring all fell in the same over to Nixon and Matt Richings and Dave Cruickshank returned to the pavilion quickly as Minch slipped from 153 for 3 to 173 for 8. Ablett returned, batting essentially off one leg at the end, and hit a couple more boundaries. Dave Gordon’s fine knock ended on 69, bowled by Ridley. Ablett finished on 57 not out. Nixon the pick of the bowlers for USL with 4 for 21. Minch reached a useful 186 for 8 from their 45 overs.
In reply Minch got off to a flying start. Opener Nixon pushed the third ball down to 3rd Man and in looking for a second run was run out following a sharp throw from Jaime Waring and good glove work from Dave Cruickshank. When skipper Pete Wallis removed Dwight third ball caught and bowled, USL were 1 for 2 from the first over and Minch sensed a collapse. However, fine and determined batting from Harkins with 32 and Fitter with 45 dug USL out of a hole and the two added 66 for the 3rd wicket. Jaime Waring entered the attack and removed Fitter after a good catch from Raphael and when Dave Gordon removed Harkins with another good catch, this time from Alex Waring, USL were now 91 for 4. Some big hitting by Raja and also Hodgson boosted the USL score, at one point looking like the game could be very close. Minch’s fielding got sloppy and as it got darker and the ball got muddier, catches were dropped regularly. Captain Wallis returned and took two quick wickets, as did Matt Richings. This slowed the USL run rate and ultimately 31 was off the last over was too much for USL. Minch couldn’t quite get the last wicket, but won the game by 26 runs. A good game played in good spirits throughout.
At the end of the game captain Pete Wallis stood down as skipper. Congratulations must go to Pete on 4 very successful years as 1st XI captain!