I have never seen anything quite like today's game. It was a time/declaration match, played with the last hour (minimum 20 overs) starting at 5:30.
We made 163/9 batting first at a decent enough clip, thanks in main to a 78-run second wicket stand. Their dismissals brought Cheltenham back into it, but a series of efforts down the order helped us along to what was a decent, but eminently fair target off 31 overs on a pitch that had a square boundary that could have been no further than 25 yards.
In reply, Cheltenham started positively (admittedly against a field that looked like it had been set by throwing darts blindfold at a pitch diagram) but when the first wicket fell, at 26 in the seventh over, the shutters went down. We went from one slip, to two slips, to three, to four, to four and a gully, to four and two gullies, and still they wouldn’t make any effort to hit the thing. At 5:55, with the scoreboard reading 64/1, we chucked the ball to one of our change seamers and told him to try bowling off-spin.
By 6:30, we had somehow managed to squeeze 18 overs into the final 35 minutes’ cricket. One bowler returned 9-4-12-1, and the other - the first time spinner - recorded 9-8-6-5, which cannot have been recorded many times before. Ultimately, it wasn’t quite sufficient and Cheltenham ended on 82/7, but it hopefully emphasised a valuable lesson - on the importance of a positive mindset and playing to win.
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