All around the south west cricket clubs were anxiously consulting their weather forecasts, as fine weather was predicted to turn to rain on Friday and over the weekend. Covers were placed on the wicket at Gunnislake (for the use of Yelverton) and the BBC weather forecast and the Met Office website had a surge in demand. The forecast changed with regular abandon, keeping us all guessing. The team secretary fielding various calls about was our match still on? The answer was yes, for while rain was forecast the Saltash St Stephens ground drains quickly. Also the Ploughboy Pub, proud sponsors of St Stephens CC was a reserve venue. Which means this tale and report can continue.
Mark Everett lost the toss and Gunnislake were asked to bat: always the case with rain in the offing, as we don’t stray to such complexities as the Duckworth Lewis method in the Cornwall league. So Adam Emmerson and Stephen Lees set forth knowing there was a risk of the match being shortened to 20 overs without warning. A bright start was made, until Lees was caught behind with the score on 45. Brain Martin quickly followed, which left Emmerson and Ross Potter to lead the charge, taking the score to 164 before Emmerson fell for an excellent 67. If St Stephens hoped for respite they were mistaken, as Potter upped the pace and Andrew Dickerson joined in with gusto. Dickerson raced to a half century while Potter finished unbeaten on 116, with five sixes to his name. Well played sir! There was one break for rain, reducing the match to 39 overs, and by the end Gunnislake had amassed 290 for 3, their highest score for several years. None of the St Stephens bowlers escaped punishment, but Matt Cole did have the consolation of two wickets.
After a five star tea at the Ploughboy it was back to the cricket. Once again weather forecasts were the order of the day. Could those scudding grey clouds turn into a downpour and save St Stephens? Or could Gunnislake take ten quick wickets to beat the rain? Less likely was St Stephens reaching the run target, but stranger things have happened…….
Captain Andrew Rennie and Cornwall Over 60s veteran Mickey Martin made a steady start for St Stephens against the bowling of Ian Dawe and Dean Organ. Dawe’s fifth over was rather eventful, with a snick between slip and keeper, a drop at square leg and finally clean bowling Rennie for the breakthrough. The run chase seemed a distant hope, but wickets were being sold dearly, with only one down a third of the way through the innings, with the clouds hovering menacingly. However, a change of bowling however brought a change of luck. While Mark Everett tied down one end (a meagre nine runs from six overs), Sylvan Pook’s variety delivered three quick wickets. The most important of these was opener Martin, bowled for a defiant 34. Re-energised, Dawe fancied a go at the middle order and tail, and came roaring in for a second spell. He took four quick wickets, including two more bowled, to claim a five wicket haul for the second game running. At the end Paul Lees joined in with two more stump clattering deliveries, as the last two batsmen wafted across the line. St Stephens resistance had crumbled and they were all out for 96 in the thirtieth over, leaving Gunnislake victors by the convincing margin of 194 runs.
As the teams trudged off the ground a further light shower fell, the sun shone on the players and a rainbow greeted the Gunnislake win. The rain was too late for St Stephens, who had to console themselves with a win for their first team at Liskeard and a trip back to the local hostelry. Gunnislake’s good run continues, as we chase the coat tails of St Austell. Thanks to everyone for the hard work to keep the match on!
Gunnislake 290-3 (R Potter 116 no, A Emmerson 67, A Dickerson 61 no, S Lees 23; M Cole 2-63). Saltash St Stephens II 96 all out (M Martin 34; I Dawe 5-21, S Pook 3-28, P Lees 2-9) Gunnislake (20 points) beat Saltash St Stephens II (3 points) by 194 runs.