After last week’s washout, the weather was much improved. The sun shone most of the week and Saturday dawned bright and clear, so once again Cornish clubs around the county dusted down their kit bags and headed out for the afternoon. For Gunnislake that meant hosting league leaders St Stephen’s second team. A tall order after two chastening defeats, which had seen the home side sink to fifth in the table.
It was pleasing to see St Stephen play with six teenagers, a marked contrast to the age and experience of Gunnislake. Owen Patton bravely flew the flag for teenagers in the Gunnislake side. With Kevin Beare relinquishing the captaincy it fell to Mark Everett to win the toss, which he did, choosing to bowl on what was thought to be a soft pitch underneath.
Gunnislake opened with Dinesh Thirupuvanarajah and Ian Dawe, and found a lot of early life with the new ball. There was lift and movement, and St Stephen found life a bit of a handful. Thirupuvanarajah took two early wickets, both bowled before teenager Sam Dowrick and old campaigner Chris Lomas began to rebuild the innings. Progress was slow though and the run rate was barely over 2 at the first drinks break. Sam Dowrick began to hit out after the break and runs flowed more freely. At the other end Lomas chose to anchor the innings, fulfilling the role more commonly occupied by Stan Job. Stan did, however, appear at the match as a spectator. Sam Dowrick eventually perished caught at mid-on by Josh Crow, to give Thirupuvanarajah a third wicket. Sylvan Pook then joined in the fun, with three quick wickets as St Stephen slumped and went back into a shell. There were a few late and defiant blows from Joe Millar, but Gunnislake claimed the last wicket on the final ball of the innings from a run out. Everett, saving himself for the tail, chipped in with two late wickets. Josh Crow also deserves a mention in despatches. With two catches and a run out we will have to put him in charge of fielding practice! 115 seemed a low total, but until both sides have batted you never know.
The weather was too hot for tea, so a quick dash was made to the local Co-op for choc-ices all round before Gunnislake began their reply. Could they put their recent dismal batting form behind them, or, like England, was the next collapse just around the corner? What demon bowlers did St Stephen have in their armoury? The scene was set.
Adam Emmerson and Stephen Lees opened, with the St Stephen reply led by Sam Dowrick and Toby Martin. The bowlers were fast and promising, but a few wild deliveries helped take the pressure off. Emmerson crashed his second ball venomously to the square leg boundary, but then got frustrated by a series of balls wide of the off stump. Rather than leave them he kept swatting into the covers, until one whizzed to extra cover where captain Nick Dowrick hung on well for the catch. The danger man was out! Thirupuvanarajah joined Lees but was promptly run out after a dubious call from Lees. 12 for 2; Gunnislake were stuttering and St Stephen’s tails were up.
Having got off the mark with a nice cover drive for four, Lees set about making amends for the run out. The trademark legside pull was oiled and working well, and in Owen Patton he had a patient partner willing to hold up an end. The score rattled along at around five an over with no breakthrough for St Stephen. A series of eight bowlers were tried to no avail. Patton joined in the fun late with a couple of boundaries and the target was reached in the nineteenth over. Lees remained unbeaten on 69, with Patton doing a fine job for the team and finishing 12 not out.
This year’s League seems to have no stand out teams, and anyone can win on the day. The places in the table continue to revolve, and at present you can’t be sure which Gunnislake team will turn up. Can we maintain Mark Everett’s 100% record as captain? Tune in again for next week’s exciting episode when we host Newquay IV.
St Stephen II 115 all out (S Dowrick 31, C Lomas 28; S Pook 3-22, D Thirupuvanarajah 3-29, M Everett 2-13), Gunnislake 116-2 (S Lees 69no). Gunnislake (20 points) beat St Stephen II (3) by 8 wickets.