In the middle of August, with Geoff Husband calling off because of the hot weather, Gunnislake found themselves facing their last league game of the season. With only ten teams in the league the authorities have left the club with plenty of time for their planned end of season pitch renovation! The holiday season in full flow led to another scramble for players; at 9.40 on Friday we had a full team, but twelve hours later we were back to ten. But the show must go on, so we headed west for the sylvan setting of Boconnoc, though on this occasion the herd of fallow deer were nowhere to be seen (not reindeer, Saf).
The toss was won by Boconnoc who chose to bat, not knowing that last week’s star bowler was leaving straight after tea. And so with Iain Barker still at the Great Trethew Vintage Rally (helping on the Cornwall Wildlife Trust stand, not an exhibit), Gunnislake opened with Sylvan Pook and mystery card Dean Organ. Facing the new ball barrage were Keith Sturgess and Robert Hemming. They weathered it well, but the bowling was quite tight, and after ten overs the score had progressed to a modest 22 without loss. First change saw Jacob Crocker have his first bowl for Gunnislake; at times he struggled with the longer adult pitch, but also bowled some promising seam, giving away only 19 runs from his four overs. We look forwardto more to come next year! At the other end Gunnislake turned to the spin of David Gray, back from a long lay-off with a shoulder injury. Gray finally achieved the breakthrough in the eighteenth over as Hemmings, trying to up the run rate, was caught out of his crease and stumped for 26. The overall run rate was still tight though and progressed steadily (or slowly?) from 75 after twenty overs to 115 after thirty. With Barker and Pook in tandem Gunnislake were hopeful of a low total, but Sturgess and Kevin Spencer were watching the overs well, and started to hit out. Seventy-four came from those last ten overs, as both Pook and Barker’s analysis suffered a bit. Barker had some revenge, bowling Sturgess for 65, but Spencer was there at the end with 67, including 35 off his last 20 balls. (Thanks to the injured George Jefferis for his scoring prowess). Boconnoc closed on 189, missing out on a final batting point, and Gunnislake were probably pleased to keep the score respectable, after a couple of recent thrashings.
After a splendid tea (hot pasties, but no cheese sandwiches?) the chase began. Ian Mill and Adam Emmerson opened for Gunnislake, while the Boconnoc bowling was led by Chris Neville and star batsman Kevin Spencer. Neville kept it tight, but Emmerson took a liking to Spencer, picking out the boundary backward of square leg with regularity, and being particularly severe on anything overpitched. After ten overs Gunnislake were getting vertigo, ahead of the run rate with 52 scored. The hundred came up soon after, in the thirteenth over, and Gunnislake began to believe. Emmerson was by now also punishing balls on the off side and looking a class apart. Boconnoc tried seven bowlers, but to little avail. Mill kept Emmerson company, rotating the strike sensibly, but fell in the twenty-fourth over, bowled by Barnaby Newbott. Enter skipper Stephen Lees, whose main job was to lean on his bat as he admiringly watched Emmerson dispatch the ball to all parts. In thirty overs it was all over, Emmerson finishing on a career best of 120 not out, off a mere 80 balls.
In a match dominated by the batsmen Gunnislake ran out clear winners, but although it is a team game it was Emmerson that was the difference and the man of the match by a country mile. Well done sir!
And so the season has wended its way to a close. Exactly half our matches won and half lost. Not many close games, and several heavy beatings. But we have got through and welcomed several new players. Four young Callington players have contributed along the way and we have relied less on loan players than last year (in fact we have loaned more out than in). But before you all give up for the season, there will be some grounds maintenance to do, as we seek to a major renovation of the square and outfield before next season. Be there!
Gunnislake (16 points) beat Boconnoc (four) by nine wickets.