If there was a Division 7 this would have been a relegation battle, but down in the (bargain) basement there is nowhere else to go! And so, while no promotion or relegation places were at stake, we were pleased to welcome Menheniot Looe III to Hawkmoor, especially as they had had to concede the previous weekend for lack of players. Once again it was a typical lower division side: a mix of promising youth and older players not quite ready to retire. Gunnislake were slightly more senior: three over 50s, three over 60s and one septuagenarian.
Moving into September it was once again proving to be an Indian summer with fine, dry, sunny weather. Gunnislake sort of won the toss and chose to bat, hoping for better for than in recent matches. With Ian Mill under the surgeon’s knife it fell to Adam Emmerson and Stephen Lees to open for Gunnislake, facing the bowling of Mark Rundle and Paul O’Connell for Menheniot Looe. A steady start followed, despite some edges and playing and missing, and the score had reached 41 before Menheniot Looe had their first breakthrough. O’Connell bowled Emmerson, who had just crashed an off drive for four the previous ball: possibly a case of over thinking it and over caution. Enter Dinesh Thirupuvanarajah, who has never heard the meaning of the word caution. Exit Dinesh Thirupuvanarajah for a duck, caught third ball, off a skied steepling catch at mid-off. Lees and Kevin Beare began to rebuild, but three wickets fell in quick succession; Lees the first to go for a not too bad 46.
A traditional Gunnislake collapse was on the cards, but Owen Patton, playing with a growing maturity, found an able partner in Mark Everett, and the ship was steadied. Watchful play saw a gradual acceleration and a partnership of 89 runs, until the slow bowling of Mike Conbeer bamboozled Everett. The clatter of stumps told the story. Patton perished in the late dash for runs, run out as he perhaps failed to back up enough (or was it a suicidal run?), but the innings finished with a flourish as Ian Dawe cracked two fours off the last two balls of the innings.
Gunnislake had reached 184 for 8, a bit below par on a good batting track and a fast outfield. It was, however, more than had seemed likely at one stage and a score that Menheniot Looe had only exceeded once this season. Philip O’Connell took three wickets for Menheniot Looe, but also a special mention for Mike Conbeer, with 2 for 3 off two overs. With only 11 overs all season have Menheniot Looe been missing a trick?
Menheniot Looe’s reply got off to a very unsteady start, with runs hard to come by and then three quick wickets for Sylvan Pook. It looked bleak at 19 for 3, but then Mark Rundle was joined by skipper Mike Conbeer. The old campaigners began the rebuild, with Rundle being particularly severe on the occasional wayward ball. Rundle and Conbeer were soon breezing along at four an over, so skipper Kevin Beare turned to last week’s hero Mark Everett, despite protestations of stiffness after scoring 36 runs. To prove a point Everett conceded ten from his first over, but then struck gold, with two wickets in the next over. Good change skip! Rundle remained Menheniot Looe’s main hope, but with a long tail he became more watchful. But that was to no avail, as Everett bowled him two overs later, out for an excellent 43. With the score on 78 for 6 Gunnislake were in the ascendancy. Rundle Junior (AKA Yasmine) kept Gunnislake at bay at one end, but the spin of Joe Organ and Dinesh Thirupuvanarajah quickly mopped up the remaining four wickets, as Menheniot Looe closed well short on 86 all out.
Gunnislake extended their winning run to two matches (wow!) but the good thing was that the win was a good all round team performance: three significant batting contributions and three bowlers each taking three wickets. And a special mention for Owen Patton, with his highest score in adult cricket and an innings that saw him come of age as a Gunnislake player. With on more League match to go, can we make it three in a row?
Gunnislake 183-8 (S Lees 46, O Patton 40, M Everett 36; P O’Connell 3-31), Menheniot Looe III 86 (M Rundle 43; J Organ 3-4, M Everett 3-11, S Pook 3-19). Gunnislake (19 points) beat Menheniot Looe III (6 points) by 97 runs.
COMING UP, a day not to be missed: