Table Toppers Toppled!

The 1st XI recorded their best win of the season on Saturday at home to the top of the table side, Haresfield Gladiators.

Despite the large gap in the league between the two sides, Minchinhampton entered the game with plenty of confidence having already had two very close games against this side this year, beating them on one occasion in the cup and losing out away from home in league by two runs on the last ball of the game.  This confidence was also boosted by the return from injury of opening bowler James Priest and the long awaited return of Aussie favourite Pat Garschagen.

Stand in skipper Jon Ablett lost the toss and Haresfield had no hesitation in asking us to bat. It’s no secret that Hampton have struggled for consistency with the bat this year and much hope was placed in the shape of the returning Garschagen to change the side’s fortunes.  However, it was not to be, Pat hit one sweetly timed drive before mistiming a pull off the bowling of Kalcutt and skying it to mid-wicket.  Ross Britton, at 3, looked assured at the crease and endeavoured to forge a partnership with Stephens but he soon fell, nicking one to the keeper, also off the bowing of Kalcutt.  Ablett and Britton steadied things and set about punishing the bad balls, the partnership looked untroubled and Ablett hit a number of well timed boundaries.  Once again Ablett was frustrated to lose his wicket just as he was getting in, Stannard striking for Haresfield, removing him for 25. Waring didn’t hang about long, tempted by a decent line from Stannard, he too was caught behind.  As has been the case so many times this season, a collapse is never far away, and neither Gordon (golden duck), Cruikshank 5, or Ittayvirah 5 could add much to the score and Minch were languishing on 90 for 7.  Just as Britton looked like he was running out of partners, the returning James Priest found boundaries easy to come by and started plundering the Haresfield attack. When Britton was bowled by Malpas, for a well crafted 33, Priest took matters into his own hand.  Supported well by the last man Pete Wallis (9no), Priest smashed a number of big sixes to propel Hampton’s score to the 150 mark before getting bowled by Taylor for a very useful cameo of 32.

After a good tea (thanks to Andrea Waring) and a rousing chat in the changing from skipper Ablett, Hampton took to the field with the bit between their teeth.  Early wickets were going to be the key if any doubt was to be sown in the confident Haresfield batting side.  Haresfield looked solid for the first few overs and quickly amassed 20 without loss.  Opening bowlers Priest and Wallis however didn’t take long to warm up, Wallis removing pinch hitter Taylor for 16, well caught by Gordon.  Priest then got in on the act bowling Smith for 14 round his legs after changing his angle to round the wicket.  Haresfield had left the door slightly ajar and Hampton didn’t need a second invite.  Bowling and fielding was exemplary and they really didn’t give the league leaders a chance to get back on top. Wallis quickly accounted for Bray and Hooper then Priest removed the dangerous Stannard thanks to a superb slip catch by Ablett.  At 40 for 5 the Minch players could sense a famous victory in the air and kept on applying the pressure.  Bennoy Ittayvirah saved his best spell of the season for when his side needed it most, obviously feeding off the great atmosphere on the pitch.  Ittayvirah removed the experienced Tim Smith and then kept on going with some great swing bowling accounting for Holme, Oakes and captain Kalcutt too.  At 70 for 9 Duggan had no option to attack and he hit a quick 21 as Malpas blocked at the other end.  Duggan and Malpas tried to scramble a single from the last ball of Turton’s over but Ablett was equal to it and keeper Cruikshank demolished the stumps to run out Malpas and secure a memorable 58 run victory.

Minchinhampton securing a vital and ulitmately unexpected 20 point win.

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