Alex Beck reports from one of the best games of cricket UBCC will ever have the pleasure of playing:
Big day. The lads all woke up genuinely really rather nervous and the bus heading south was a quiet one. The prevailing mood was not helped by jealousy that the Breakfast Club had found a Greggs on the way to the SU. For what it’s worth my pain au chocolat and almond croissant were really very nice but the latter was a bit messy. The sight of Luke Hansford walking extremely gingerly on a broken toe and the suggestion that he would take two painkillers every thirty minutes was a minor cause for concern.
The warm up largely consisted of Hansford missing everything off the spinners and Pete subsequently giving me a look that if expressed in words would just be a string of expletives. Fortunately this was not a sign of things to come.
Fred learned from the conditions at Varsity and having won our 10th toss out of 14 for the year, elected to bowl. The first half an hour was always going to be huge. The tone was set when Wyatt-Haines sent one into orbit off Hodges and, despite eleven players, one coach, one scorer and two parents bricking it, Mayo took the catch. Craig’s next over the other opener was gone lbw and shortly afterwards Fred picked up the crucial wicket of Will Harris with a great nut that slightly reared up and caught the inside edge through to Hansford. From 26-3 Exeter consistently threatened to build partnerships but clever bowling changes and indeed clever bowling kept picking up wickets just when it mattered. The game was very much on. 60-4 Waitey, 71-5 Whip, 87-6 Waitey, 106-7 RG. Some great takes from Hansford. Bee and Mayo cleaned up the tail and every bowler had taken at least one wicket.
Tea tastes really nice when you bowl the opposition out for 130 on a decent track and to be fair it was actually quite good. Many sandwiches, sausage rolls, pork pies, and then some really pleasant cake. Squash ran out quickly which has to be taken into account but I am happy to award a 7.
We all hoped that the chase would be straightforward but it was never going to be. Still probably shouldn’t have been as difficult as we made it. Every run felt like a big step towards promotion and we felt content when Cal and Rob had seen off the first seven overs, despite the latter being struck on the pad by every single delivery from the tall offie. 16-0. It was at this point that things started to go wrong. Cal bowled round his legs, Rob chipped one to short midwicket, and Fred and Smudge inexplicably picked out mid on. 40-4, and huge pressure placed on us. Whip looked good at one end but wickets continued to tumble at the other. Burden was bowling an absolute spell. Waitey left a straight one, Mayo missed a straight one and Hansford (toe still very much broken) could only fend one towards point. Whip fell lbw very shortly afterwards and we were 65-8. At this point defeat was assumed.
Newman and Bee met in the middle, both on 0, with a rather care-free/what the hell have we just seen attitude. They just had to bat. At one end Pete was desperately trying to keep out some jaffers from Burden and at the other Bee was eyeing up some spin. Pete played out two maidens to see out Burden. Bee entirely changed the momentum of the game in three blows. Four over mid on, six over midwicket, and four cut through the off side. Still, only up to 80-8.With Burden done batting looked a lot easier. Lawson returned to bowl leg side half volleys and Pete cashed in. When he recovered his line Bee nonchalantly drove him through the covers for four. Shot boy. 93-8 and Lawson hauled out of the attack.
With Burden done batting looked a lot easier. Lawson returned to bowl leg side half volleys and Pete cashed in. When he recovered his line Bee nonchalantly drove him through the covers for four. Shot boy. 93-8 and Lawson hauled out of the attack. Castleden on. Long on back. Bee took him on and hit it fifteen yards over the fielder’s head. A mixture of shock and delight ensued. The disbelief still exists to this day. That took us past 100 and now the game felt alive again. The spinners did not look troubling. For the next three overs we accumulated just six runs but it was calm and it was sensible. 114-8. Hodges sat on the side terrified. No one could really watch. My hand was shaking as I was writing. Lawson back on and another four came from Pete’s bat. I can’t recall it but it may have been down the leg side again. 121-8. The UBCC group chat blowing up. Nobody move. Will Harris on. I still didn’t expect victory. We had ten runs to win with still only two lives left. Wide, 122-8. SIX. Out of nowhere Pete steps into a slightly full of length ball and lifts it into the sightscreen. 128-8, unbelievable. Coolest head in the ground. Another wide, 129-8..
And then he did it again. A lofted off drive to win us the game and seal promotion. Scenes. Flair farce binned. It is very difficult to put the moment into words. Pete ended on 34 and Bee on 30. The partnership was worth 70 from 73 deliveries. UBCC legends. We are going up.