The day dawned dark and misty and drizzly, but the forecast was more optimistic, and by the time we approached Holsworthy the sun was shining. For we were once again entering the den of the league leaders, unsure of what lay in store after a poor run of form. Gunnislake were without the dynamic Organ duo, Brian Martin (older readers may remember our Club Secretary) and Dinesh Thirupuvanarajah, but did have a full complement of eleven players. The toss was lost and Holsworthy chose to bat, with Gunnislake anticipating a large total to chase.
However the pitch was behaving a bit erratically, with some balls keeping very low. Despite the usual fast start Holsworthy lost two early wickets, and Gunnislake recorded the first bonus point of the match after six overs, when Sylvan Pook bowled Liam Brend for his second wicket of the match. Paul Lees chipped in with the wicket of Scott Bingham, trapped LBW. But John Snell was proceeding apace at the other end, and eventually found sound support form Will Priest. At the half way stage Holsworthy were well placed on 105 for 3.
After the break captain Kevin Beare turned to spin, or rather slow float it up there, from himself and Ian Mill. Beare struck in in his first over and then again in his second. John Snell sliced and skied an off drive high into the air; it was heading straight for Ian Barker at extra cover, who never moved an inch. He was to claim later he never saw it, but no matter, Owen Patton saw the danger and dashed across from cover to take an excellent catch under Barker’s nose. 120 for 5; could a shock be on? The runs dried up and wickets fell at regular intervals. Mark Everett had his first bowl after return from injury and at the other end Owen Patton had a fine spell. Both were among the wickets, and had it not been for a drop off the final ball of the innings, Holsworthy would have been bowled out. As it was they finished on 166 for 9, with Marks unbeaten on 26. Honours were even as the teams shared four bonus points each.
The reward for keeping the score low was to face a barrage of seam bowling, ranging from the tight accuracy from old timers Dan Snowden and John Snell to the youthful speed of Will Priest and the Bingham brothers, Charlie and Scott. Will Priest was certainly as fast as anything seen at Division 6 level, and in the third over Mill missed a straight one, to be bowled by Priest. 4 for 1, oh dear. Nick Wiggs lasted somewhat longer, and with help from extras the score had reached 34 before a second wicket fell, Wiggs having a waft outside off stump to be caught behind. By now the uneven bounce had gone: everything was keeping low. It was a test of traditional skills and playing with a straight bat! This is not, however, the forte of Gunnislake batsmen….
With accurate bowling, and the ball keeping low, Stephen Lees was relatively becalmed, his trademark pull out of action. However, wickets fell steadily at the other end. Dave Battams was out to a sharp caught and bowled by Dave Snowden and Sylvan Pook fell to a stunning catch by Lyndon Piper. In between a series of LBWs left Holsworthy well on top. When Lees was the latest LBW victim, out for a defiant 34, the end was in sight. Young Owen Patton hit a few lusty blows, but Paul Lees lived up to his number eleven billing, tottering over out of his crease to be stumped for his usual duck. Gunnislake were all out for 101, and Holsworthy continued on their march to the title.
It was a much improved performance by Gunnislake, and no shame to lose to a side clearly a cut above the other teams in the division. Next week we have a tricky visit to Boconnoc, after which a run of three games against Menheniot Looe and Launceston, could make or break the season. Will you be there to contribute a match winning score or cheer us on from the sidelines?
Holsworthy II 166-9 (J Snell 62, D Marks 26no, W Priest 25; K Beare 2-8, O Patton 2-9, S Pook 2-47). Gunnislake 101 all out (S Lees 34; D Snowden 3-19, S Bingham 2-3, R Tidball 2-20). Holsworthy II (19 points) beat Gunnislake (six) by 65 runs.