Hadley Wood Green v Aldenham Cricket Club Aldenham Cricket Club on Sun 22 Jun 2014 at 1400
Aldenham Cricket Club Won by 2 runs

Match report ACC 204/6 (Char Munroe 47, Russell 46, Haque 33*)
HWG 202 (Bhatti 57, Colin Hewett 4/25, Char Munroe 2/20, Ward 2/21)
ACC win by 2 runs
A glorious summer’s day awaited the parish as our 11 rolled into Botany Bay’s picturesque ground. The feelings for this reporter were somewhat mixed, however - more of a shroud of apprehension due to a) this being the first game where I would be watched by "Mrs. Rustler" and b) memories of dropping a simple catch of the bowling of Chris Hewett here in 2006.
After getting changed and having a quick squint at the match being played in the ‘main’ pitch (we were playing over the road in the ‘second’ pitch) - which looked at a glance to be of a standard a good deal higher than ours - the Parishioners trotted back over the road eager to get the game underway, and hopefully another Sunday win under their belts.
Things didn’t exactly go according to plan first off. Skip Charlie Munroe returned from the toss and informed us that, contrary to our strengths (chasing side!) we would be batting. His next task was to find an opening partner for ‘The Rustler’ - neither Lee, Simon nor Chris Munroe were playing, Colin Hewett would be needed for a pivotal bowling spell, and Itty was deemed to be more effective when placed lower down the order.
Eventually Char decided to take on the opener’s duties himself, due to not wanting to bowl having "done his foot in" the previous day. Caution was definitely the watchword at first, the opening Hadley Wood bowlers Fitzgerald and Chaplin caused many problems, scrambling the seam and extracting movement. In one over in particular Char played and missed at four consecutive deliveries, and could only smile knowing he was beaten.
Slowly, though, the runs began to come - Rustler finally managed to pierce the infield after several failed attempts, and Char while still occasionally playing and missing, hit a couple of effortless drives through the covers. When it seemed that the openers would be bowling all day, a change finally came, and Rustler immediately cashed in by smiting a wide long hop to the cover fence. Char was also by now cutting loose, regularly showing the full face of the bat ("It’s all about the V, Rustler!") and a large partnership was beginning to look a distinct possibility.
It was something of a surprise when Char’s demise eventually came - having fought off an excellent opening bowler, and now looking comfortable, he played down entirely the wrong line and lost the bail from his off stump. His score was a well earned but jug avoiding 47, and the partnership 73 (I confess to being a little taken aback when skip told me to ‘eff off’ when I told him how much the partnership was worth!) Matt Bazeley then came to the wicket at no.3 with a kind of swaggering purpose, looking to continue the groundwork the openers had set.
Bazely senior simply couldn’t get the ball away, try as he might, although he would in the end outlast this reporter, who not for the first time, with his maiden fifty in sight, contributed to his own agonising downfall. Last year, on 46, I displayed little footwork in getting trapped in front of all three; This time, on the same score, and after nonchalantly swatting a full toss to the boundary, I contrived to spoon a ‘nothing shot’ (off probably the least threatening spinner we will face all season) straight up in the air to short midwicket, who would not have dropped it even if he had been blindfolded. Still, I admittedly would have settled for 46 before the game!
Colin Hewett was next to go, deceived by the sharp turn of the second change spinner and bowled for 5, followed swiftly by Matt Bazeley, caught trying to force the pace of the scoring for 19. Itty Haque and Danny Morgan, perhaps the archetypal "s**t or bust" partership, then succeeded in forcing the pace with a combination of huffing and puffing singles, miscued swings which landed safely, and powerful hits. Danny was eventually bowled for an entertaining 25. Barry Letts swiftly followed for a disappointing 3; After fretting about his average before he went in, the anxiety has surely increased five fold by now! Itty held it together though, with several large straight sixes in his unbeaten innings of 33.
The Parish had made 204 - defendable, but by no means insurmountable, and after tea a ‘youth and experience’ partnership of James Bazeley and Richard Doughty sought to give the A’s the early breakthrough they desired.
However the ploy failed badly - both bowlers have undoubtedly bowled worse before and got more rewards, but the nature of the outfield meant that anything even a little off the mark would usually result in a boundary. Both openers were hauled off after not too much time - Bazeley junior going for 34 off his six overs, and Richard for 29 from four. Michael Ward made the breakthrough by bowling the number 2 batsman, Wejehera. The number 1 batsman, Bhatti, went on to complete the only fifty of the day by either team (yeah, yeah, there should have been three) before being bowled by a lively delivery from Char on 57, who had decided to bowl afterall, knowing that his incision was sorely needed.
The opening partnership had reached 80, though, and the A’s were a little shell shocked that the game should be slipping away so quickly. Colin Hewett was brought on to steady the ship, a role that he had years ago become accustomed to performing, and removed the number 3 and 4 batsmen simply by keeping things simple, and making them think before swinging.
Barry Letts, bowling "wheels" at the other end, picked up two wickets of his own, thanks to smart catches from Rustler and Matt Bazeley. But despite the wickets falling, the total of runs remaining was becoming alarmingly small, and the no. 8 batsman John Steele scored a few vital boundaries off Darpan Gorsia and Danny Morgan. The parish the wrested the upper hand once again, with Colin Hewett picking up the crucial wicket of the number 7, Hylton, and Ward claiming the equally important scalp of the no. 9, Bolt (no, not that one).
To add to the drama, Colin also had one of the most outrageously ‘stone dead’ LBW decisions rejected out of hand (even Mrs Ward and ‘Mrs Rustler’ thought it was out). A few comments began to emanate from the disgruntled parishioners, but thankfully these petered out quickly, the sheer ‘box office’ nature of this thrilling encounter retaking primacy.
And so it came to the final two overs. The A’s had taken 8 wickets, but the total required was now in single figures, with the dangerous John Steele still at the crease on 20. But jubilation erupted when the wily Hewett senior (in the penultimate over of the match) tempted Steele into a drive with a delivery just outside off stump. The ball ballooned towards Char at extra cover, who made no mistake with the catch. Surely we can’t lose now…. But one wicket was still needed, and we were by no means safe.
So to the last over, and what a last over it was! Aldenham need one wicket, Hadley Wood need 2 runs. "Champagne Charlie" raced manfully in with only number 11 Josh Steele to beat. Consecutive deliveries fizzed past the edge, causing much head-in-hands agony for the fielders. The final delivery was now upon us, two still needed. A debate then ensued; Do we withdraw the fielders to prevent the batsmen running more than a single, or do we keep them in catching positions to try for the win? Eventually a compromise is reached, to give the no.11 bat a sniff of temptation to hit a winner. Skip races in again, lets fly… stumps everywhere! We had done it! From a position of near hopelessness at 80 without loss, we were there!!
Consolations and congratulations were abound as the A’s basked in the warm glow of triumph. Every team member had played their part, and to pull of a win in such difficult circumstances reminded us all why we come together and play this game. This day will surely live in our memories for a very long time indeed.
Footnote: The man of the match award was a close run affair as well, with three votes each for the perennial jug avoider Rustler, and Colin "No Chance" Hewett. The richly deserved winner was skipper Charlie Munroe with 5 votes - a performance of skill and maturity!

Aldenham Cricket Club Aldenham Cricket Club Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
3nb 4w 9b 5lb 
for 6 wickets

(41.0 overs)
Charlie Munroe b John Steele 47 60 7 78.33 1
Robin Russell ct Josh Steele 46 72 6 63.89 1
Matt Bazeley ct Bhatti 19 42 1 45.24 1
Colin Hewett b Bhatti 5 15 1 33.33
Itty Haque Not Out  38 30 3 126.67
Dan Morgan b Fitzgerald 25 23 1 2 108.70
Basil Letts run out Chaplin 3 4 75.00
Darpan Gorsia Not Out  0 1 0
James Bazeley  
Michael Ward   1
Richard Doughty  

Hadley Wood Green Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
John Steele5.0023123.004.60
Josh Steele5.0023123.004.60

Hadley Wood Green Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
1nb 4w 12b 3lb 
for 10 wickets
202 (42.0 overs)
Bhatti b Munroe 57
Wejehera b Ward 37
Culverwell lbw Hewett 22
Malik b Hewett 25
Fitzgerald ct Letts 1
Malji ct Letts 2
Hylton b Hewett 12
John Steele ct Hewett 20
Bolt ct Ward 2
Chaplin Not Out  4
Josh Steele b Munroe 0

Aldenham Cricket Club Aldenham Cricket Club Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
James Bazeley6.013400.005.67
Richard Doughty4.012900.007.25
Michael Ward6.0021210.503.50
Basil Letts8.0129214.503.63
Dan Morgan2.001300.006.50
Charlie Munroe6.0120210.003.33
Darpan Gorsia3.001600.005.33
Colin Hewett7.002546.253.57