After a poor run of results Gunnislake attempted to reshuffle the pack, but once again Saltash were their downfall, this time Saltash St Stephens claimed the spoils. Another promising position created by the bowling was thrown away by the batsmen, as Gunnislake slumped to a fifth consecutive defeat. Could the team be a victim of a coalition of chaos, or was this a case of strong and steady not being enough?
Heavy rain around lunch time saw the match reduced to 36 overs a side, with Gunnislake winning the toss and electing to bowl. Things went well for some time as “The Saints” struggled against accurate bowling from Barker and Paul Lees (in case avid readers thought your scribe was chancing his arm?!). Recent centurion Stokes was bowled by Lees, and at 19 for 1 off twelve overs Gunnislake were in the ascendency. Saints’ captain Rencher tried to up the rate, but fell to Jefferis, who capped his usual parsimony with three wickets, including an excellent caught and bowled. Nice one George. Saltash recovered well in the second half of the innings, Chris Marsh showing his experience to top score with 48 for the Saints. At tea the match was evenly poised at 133 for six.
The plan for the reply was to keep up with the run rate and save the senior players, if needed, for a late shepherding to victory. Like other cunning plans there was, however, a flaw. It worked for all of one over, before the captain needlessly threw away his wicket, slicing a wide ball to backward point. Pook, in a hurry to get to his skittles presentation, soon followed, leaving the way forward for new signing Andrew Morris to show what he is capable of. Actually we all know really: quite a lot, and he did indeed look the part. Quick running between the wickets and occasional aggression lifted the Gunnislake team spirits, but support from the other end was sadly lacking. Saltash fielded well, and catches were snaffled, recalling the old Pemberton adage “catches win matches”. When Morris fell to another excellent caught and bowled by Lugger Gunnislake knew the game was up. Sights were realigned, and Parsons and Husband guided the team to a second batting point as the last thirteen overs yielded a paltry 13 runs. Thus the game petered to a damp squib ending, Gunnislake closing on 80 for 9, after another promising start.
Congratulations to Saltash St Stephens, who move up to third in the league. For Gunnislake more consistency and application is called for in the batting department. Did I hear rumours that Mike Hugo and Kevin Veal have been dusting down their kit? For the others there is a week off to rediscover form, before we host Menheniot Looe. The selection committee are sharpening their claws!
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