Barnwell and Johnson last-ditch partnership guides 1sts to thrilling victory over Byfield
Nerves jangling at the end of an epic finish at The Green
As finishes to games go, this was certainly one of the more nerve-racking, but when you need a bit of experience to guide you home the 1sts had the benefit of a couple of old-heads at the crease to see it through.
Report from Ben Hollis
Another beautiful summer's day at The Green greeted the arrival of mid-table Byfield and the halfway point of the season.
Willoughby won the toss and selected to bowl first.
Lee Johnson and Jake Quinney open the bowling attack both bowling good lines and lengths. Johnson the pick of the bowlers finishing 2-16 off 12 with 5 maidens. Retired James Barnwell made his return to The Green bowling a spell of 6 overs picking up 2-24. Nikesh causing them problems with his turn was unlucky not to get more wickets with picked up 1-26 off 7. Mr Lord Ashley Rayner was asked to bowl at the death to mop up the remains of Byfield picking up 4-32 off 10. Byfield finishing on 147-9. Great performance on the field from the home side who kept it tight throughout.
So on paper a target that was certainly reachable, if some sensible batting could be applied.
Ian Andrews and Hassan Nawaz opened the batting and didn’t really trouble Byfield, but then Hassan missing a straight one being bowled before Andrews was some questionably given out LBW shortly after.
Rayner and young Tom Stevenson was in the middle to steady the ship and picking up the run rate which we needed. Rayner was picking off 4s for fun until he found the fielder and was caught.
Captain Ben Hollis joined Stevenson in the middle, the latter seeing the balls well and picking off the bad ones and Hollis steadying the famous Willoughby batting collapse. Their useful stand was only undone when Stevenson was unlucky and played on which cost him his wicket, bringing Ryan Perry to the crease. He then lasted three balls before being bowled by a peach of a ball which the top of off stump and the bails flying.
Hollis was then joined by 15 year old Quinney. Together the pair were watchful with Hollis growing in confidence and starting seeing the ball a lot better and kicked on and made a big over, scoring 24 off 1 over including 3 sixes. ( was dropped once).
However the skipper went for one big hit too many and was finally caught in the deep after making a superb 47. At this point, Willoughby needed 23 runs off 19 overs with only 4 wickets left. Disaster was to strike further as Quinney was then bowled from a full toss having made a well worked and valuable, and worse was to follow when Matt Goss came and went without scoring.
Nikesh looked tidy making a good 13 and edged Willoughby closer to the target, but he too was bowled, bringing together Lee Johnson and James Barnwell for the final wicket with 8 required.
The pair - with a combined age as Lee put it of nearly a century - were watchful and rode their luck with a couple of edges, but having nurdled singles and the occasional two, brought the scores level, to cheers of relief that at least a tie was in the bag. Those cheers were doubled with the pair scampering a leg bye with four overs remaining, to see Willoughby to their first home win of the season; one which has been coming and merited after recent performances.
Well done to all players , was a great game and knew we would get a win sooner or later. Thank-you to everyone for all the support ! Let’s kick on now stay focussed and get another win !