A team was finally assembled as we faced Boconnoc for the third time in five weeks. Again the team secretary and captain were faced with a veritable plethora of choice, which led to a loan of two players to Saltash St Stephens. (Can we cadge any of their match points?) The finer nuances of who has a car, who wanted to play with their brother and the fact that Stephen Lees and Paul Lees are not related were teased out. And with a late addition of our Aussie professional, Dave Warner, we were ready!
New captain Kevin Beare won the toss for Gunnislake and chose to bat first on a hard and dry pitch. Fresh from defeat in the Isaac Foot Cup, the team set off like a train. Mill smashed the first ball for four, but unfortunately missed the second, which just clipped the top of off stump. A good start by Matt Middleton and a wake-up call for Gunnislake. Enter Joe Organ, never one to hold back, to join Stephen Lees. At this point the ball started to ping in many directions (straight for Organ and behind leg side for Lees) and the score climbed rapidly. The watching crowd, players and Cliff Boundy were not quite sure what was going on. The total reached 81 off the first ten overs; Middleton, who had bowled his ten over allocation for a meagre 15 runs two weeks earlier, was taken out of the attack. The century partnership came up in the twelfth over, but then Organ was bowled off his pads, attempting to pull one into the leg side, departing for a fine 41. Captain Kevin Beare joined Lees and the rocket ship continued on its way. Boconnoc turned to the experience of Moore, but the first ball was a wide full toss down leg side. Lees’s eyes lit up; he wound up his favourite pull shot and slammed it straight to square leg, who clung on after a brief juggle. Lees was out for 59, with the score on 149, and but heading towards a possible 300.
I did say possible. This is Gunnislake. A period of consolidation was called for, but no-one had told Nick Wiggs, or Dean Organ or even Mark Everett. All went for single figures, and Beare was also out caught at point; the score slumped to 166 for 7. On a fast outfield it was not enough. Youngsters Jake Beare and Owen Patton set about some damage limitation. They held up Boconnoc, playing with sound defence and a few nice fours, both moving to their highest score for the club. However Middleton returned to the attack and the extra pace proved a problem as he skittled out the last three wickets, bringing the Gunnislake innings to a premature end after 34.4 overs, but with the total just creeping past 200 for maximum batting points.
Boconnoc were now firm favourites. Keith Sturgess and Dave Smith opened, and while not matching the scoring rate of Gunnislake proceeded at a very respectable five an over. Neither Dinesh Thirupuvanarajah nor Joe Organ could find a way through. Gunnislake turned to the wiles of Everett and the gentle spin of Mill, hoping that a lack of pace would slow progress. Mill made the first breakthrough, trapping Sturgess leg before wicket, and Smith followed soon after caught at point by Nick Wiggs. Then Ryan Greenslade drove one to deep mid-off, where Dean Organ held on,to leave Boconnoc on 92 for 3. A close game looked in prospect, and Gunnislake nearly had another when Middleton sliced into the covers, but the chance was spilled. The danger man had survived. With able support from John Sleep the scoring rate accelerated, and by now Boconnoc were well in command. I wasn’t counting, but a team masochist noted five dropped catches in the innings. Truth be told the ball was hit far and wide, with the only respite being long hunts for the ball in the hedges, ditch or wood. The clouds threatened slightly, but Boconnoc saw it through very comfortably, with seven wickets and eight overs to spare. Middleton and Sleep both finished with unbeaten half centuries as our guests took maximum points in their own pursuit of the League leaders.
This was not a bad team performance and we are in a better place than for several seasons, but there are also some very good players this year in Division 6. If we can improve slightly in all departments we have the potential to give any team in this division a run for their money. Next week the challenge is away to Holsworthy, who are the league leaders. Despite them being a Devon team I can confirm that we will be there!
Gunnislake 204 (S Lees 59, J Organ 41; M Middleton 4-40, I Hunter 3-18), Boconnoc II 206-3 (M Middleton 72no, J Sleep 50no, D Smith 40, K Sturgess 32; I Mill 2-59). Boconnoc II (20) beat Gunnislake (6) by seven wickets.