Baston travelled to last season’s fellow strugglers Moulton Harrox for the season opener on as perfect a day for cricket as you could hope for at this time of year.
Opening bowler Richardson S, (aka Grumps), out with flu, meant that Moulton would need to be dealt with by a strong 10, boasting a top 6 batting line up that, on paper, stacks up against anything else in the league.
Over the winter Baston completed their most expensive and important signing to date as Richardson M, (aka Very Small Man, The Little Landlord, The Singing Farmer, that will do to be going on with) agreed terms. Deep pockets are required to play for Baston these days and terms demanded that he purchase and renovate the team’s beloved but abandoned HQ, the pub formerly known as The Spinner.
Get on with it!
What a game to debut in!
Moulton skipper Beale won the toss and had no hesitation inserting Baston on a green track that was always going to give some hope to the bowlers, though the consensus from the Toss Troika (Dyer, Howard and Morris) was that we would have batted given the choice.
Moulton skipper Beale
Opening duo Morris and Howard got Baston under way, Baston’s account opened by Morris with an uncharacteristically sweetly timed push through mid wicket for a boundary. With the score on just 9, Morris was beaten by a good ball from the youngster Greetham.
Lamin, who had looked in good touch in recent net sessions with the bat, started well and Baston were soon cooking with Howard playing himself in to form and then starting to connect with sweet shots both sides of the wicket. Lamin seemed to be going well until giving it away, reaching for a wide one and guiding it uppish to gully where a fine catch was taken by Moulton skipper Beale.
Debut boy Richardson M, immediately entrusted by the skipper in the gun bat position at 4, strode confidently to the crease before returning no so confidently a few minutes later, out lbw for just 1.
VSM Batting on debut
Bower’s entry at 5 started the momentum for what would then unfold in the second half of the Baston innings, immediately stamping his authority on the Moulton attack and striking the ball cleanly through the covers and straight until he was undone by a full one to the foot, gone, lbw, for a good 27. Meanwhile Howard was back to his best and nearing a terrific 50.
Bower’s wicket brought Baston legend Stewart to the crease.
Like most of the Baston batsmen, 2012 was a season to forget, and when you’re getting near 60 and your knees and back are knackered you wonder if you can still do it or if you’re all done. Anyone who knows the man at all knows of his passion for this great game and the innings he produced was all about that. Passion,
Right from the start of the innings there was an energy about Stewart that we hadn’t seen for too long and as Howard passed his 50, Stewart had almost caught up to him, effortlessly climbing into the right balls and looking in complete control against the good ones. This was due in no small part to Howard’s selfless innings in turning the strike over effectively until he fell for an excellent 51.
Cheer up Jon
Almost immediately drama struck again as Stewart’s right knee flared up as he went to his 50 with a quick single from the committed Hilless, requiring Howard to retake the field as a runner.
Brilliant running between the wickets by Hilless and Howard and glorious shot making from Stewart meant the Baston score was scorching through 200 to claim full batting points for the first time in what seems like living memory!
The best however was yet to come.
Hilless again showed great commitment diving for his ground and is playing increasingly mature and thoughtful innings’ these days. Hudson went in for his customary selfless biff at the death and came off second best allowing Cunningham F to enter the fray, smashing his first ball backward of point for 4 for one of the shots of the day. Signs are definite of latent talent emerging.
The seemingly impossible event of a famous ton suddenly became closer to reality as Stewart stepped on the gas, going on the rampage to need 12 off the last over and on strike.
Stewart launched Woodall's first ball for his fourth monstrous maximum taking him to 94. A couple of massive whooshes at the next couple brought no runs, but a brilliantly scrambled 2 off the fifth ball, between runner Howard and Cunningham F, ensured Stewart kept the strike, 4 runs short of his century
You could hear a pin drop as Woodhall approached the wicket to bowl, the silence annihilated by the crack as Stewart skipped down the wicket and smashed the ball high and handsome for one of the biggest straight 6’s you’ll ever see.
The ground erupted.
Mob scenes ensued as the boys ran on to congratulate their hero; Baston 232-8.
Lloyd Stewart 102* (72)
Moulton’s youngster Henry Lavery (3-39) bowled well and is a good prosepct.
Tea was shit but the team was on a high.
Fielding with just 10 men and missing half the bowling attack always meant that Baston were going to need plenty of runs and so it proved as runs flowed for Moulton as the ball found the gaps albeit somewhat streakily.
New man Richardson M was tossed the new ball and swung one back to beat the opener Woodhall.
Runs continued to flow as Lamin had a rare off day not finding quite the right pace or the turn he might have expected, and conceded twice the runs he normally does.
Sally went big early on for Moulton before being ousted by Adam
Skipper Dyer’s first spell was getting expensive and Baston felt the game slipping away as Hibbert and excellent all rounder Lavery scored freely from both ends.
Dyer called on part time seamer Morris who had been bowling well in the nets to turn his arm over and stem the tide, but an attack of cramp first ball put paid to that idea in what turned into a farce of an over.
Moulton veteran Hibbert (64) batted well with young batsman Lavery (67*)
Baston looked down and out of the game with Moulton requiring just 30 off the last 5 overs with 6 wickets remaining.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, as Cunningham F was tossed the cherry, and an inspired move by the skipper it was, as he destroyed the Moulton middle and lower order finishing with a career best 4-18 to take Baston home to victory by 11 runs and the full 20 points.
Newcomers to the division, Market Deeping 2nds, debut at the Shrine next Saturday.
Let the good times roll!
Debut boy, Mark Richardson
You just knew the ball was going to fly to the boundary when he connected.
His warm up shots could be heard from the swish of his bat from the boundary.
He said he couldn’t see the ball properly, he just felt his way into a masterful innings!
I have never been in a club pavilion at the end of the day when we applauded a batsman as he left the pavilion!
Ant Morris: Just a spellbinding knock. A full array of the most glorious shots and an innings of sheer class, power and passion. Viv would have been proud.
Jon Howard VC - “Best hundred I have seen in local village cricket by some distance. At times destructive, at times sublime but mostly absolute carnage. Lloydie is a legend.”