This week’s installment……close, but no cigar!
Nailsea made the long trek to Oldfield Park on Saturday where, thanks to the thoughtful deployment of covers during the week, play was able to start on time, despite days of terrible weather. Asked to bat first on a dry pitch, Oldfield made good progress against excellent Nailsea bowling. Pete Grace bowled his 8 overs for just 16 runs and with Mat Beadle picking up an early wicket and keeping the run rate under control, the visitors could be content with their position at half way. However, the second half of the Oldfield innings was dominated by opener Pather, as he began to unleash a fine repotoire of shots to all corners. Despite being dropped a number of times,(9!!!) he proceeded to put the Nailsea bowlers to the sword, finishing unbeaten on 130. Mat Beadle finished with 2-42, Richard Billows 1- 26 and Mike Ready 1-28 from a full compliment of 8 overs, as Oldfield closed on 191 for 4. On such a cold, blustery day, excellent catches by Gary Phippen, James Baber and a diving Ready were to be applauded.
In reply, Ready and Ryan Orr made excellent progress, adding 52 for the first wicket, at a good rate, before Orr fell for 21. Ready was then joined by skipper Phippen and the pair continued serenely to 72, at which point, the stars aligned for a freak occurrence! Having faced the six balls of a normal over and with both scorers doing their thing, with heads down and pencils whirring, Nailsea’s umpires concluded that there was still a ball to go, at which point Phippen drilled a lovely straight drive back at the bowler. With a deft left boot, the bowler somehow managed to deflect the ball on to the non strikers stumps, leaving Ready stranded and dismissed for a faultless 31! Those who have played the game will recognise how harsh that kind of dismissal is, let alone off of a rogue seventh delivery! Despite the loss, Nailsea continued to hunt down the Oldfield score. Steve Lester, 12, and Matt Beadle, with 10, provided valuable, rapid, support to Phippen, but once he fell for a fine 71, it was always going to be a tough ask. With Pather now introduced to the Oldfield attack and the run rate increasing, attack was the only option. Whirling bats and straight deliveries were to end in a series of quick wickets and, ultimately, defeat, as every Nailsea batsman was to be bowled by the impressive Pather, who was to finish with 6 for 10, to add to his 100, as Nailsea finished 10 runs short. With both sides grateful for the hard work of the ground staff, an entertaining game leaves Nailsea mid table as they head off for an away game at Brislington next weekend.