Beaulieu 156 for 9 Brockenhurst 159 for 3.
A ferocious Atlantic force 9 storm greeted the arrival of Brockenhurst at picturesque Beaulieu. It was clear from the squally conditions, that it would be futile to play with bails, so it was agreed to play “bail less” for the duration of the match. With racing cancelled for the day at the start of Cowes Week, Shah won the toss, and elected to field in wind conditions akin to those experienced during the Fastnet Race of 1979, and the Sydney to Hobart Race in 1998.
Loganathan opened the bowling from the Palace end, buffeted by the severe south westerly headwind and promptly and understandably bowled a wide. Commendably, Loganathan immediately compensated and proceeded to bowl with supreme control conceding just 11 runs off his 8 overs. Meanwhile Jarvis, bowling from the River end with the wind gusting over and across his delivery arm required similar close control, but given the conditions, suffered a number of early contentious wides, which only served to galvanise his resolve. Jarvis was unlucky to finish his spell wicketless ( 5 overs 0 for 19).
Loganathan made the breakthrough taking an excellent lofted caught and bowled to dismiss Toon for 11 reducing Beaulieu to 27 for 1 off 11 overs. The introduction of Davies resulted in the immediate dismissal of Flood for 6, who slashed high only for Jarvis to snaffle the swirling catch under the imposing shelter of Sque, who thought the catch was his!
Sque replaced Loganathan and struck immediately enticing Boothman (1) to slice a spiralling drive that Jarvis took at full pelt downwind to leave Beaulieu on 28 for 3 after 13 overs. Sque ( 6 overs 1 for 39) continued to bowl with supreme control into squalls oscillating between force 6 and 9, and with only the occasional errant ball being despatched to the boundary by the imposing Bennett. Davies struck by bowling the bail less stumps of Chouhan for 4, leaving Beaulieu on 54 for 4 after 18 overs, and continued to excel in the adverse conditions ending his magnificent spell with 8 overs 2 for 18.
Broad replaced Sque from the Palace end bowling into the teeth of the gale, and although he was clipped downwind to the boundary by the menacing Bennett, had Blackman caught by Greenwood for 27 reducing Beaulieu to 110 for 5 after 29 overs. Broad then had Bennett expertly stumped in the bail less encounter, by club legend Williams, for 54 at 135 for 6 after 35 overs, with credit due to the square leg umpire in these testing conditions.
Greenwood commenced his spell in the worsening conditions from the River end, and was initially unlucky as chances did not quite go to hand. Wooldridge struggled to stand up in one over with ferocious squalls, yet Williams resolutely stood behind the stumps as an imposing bulwark against the elements.
Sque suggested a fielding change with Rogers at mid on. Sent to the boundary, Sque conspired to set himself 10 metres in from the boundary and as next ball was hit towards him, he ran in only to see the ball sail over his head and bounce once just inside the boundary at mid on. Rogers’ hat was displaced in frustration, but remained resolutely attached during the remaining testing conditions.
Greenwood struck in quick succession, dismissing Wooldridge for 18 caught and bowled, Lovell for 0, caught by the agile Shah, and then bowling the bail less stumps of Sennall for 2, with the Beaulieu innings concluding on 156 for 9 after 40 overs. As the tide rose in the relatively sheltered Beaulieu River, white horses were observed from mid on to underscore the savage squalls that confronted both teams on the field of play.
Requiring solidity and application as a bulwark against the elements, club legend Williams armed with his “Spartan” opened with Cole. Cole fell for 3 with the score on 22 after 7 overs. Broad joined the obdurate Williams, who was struggling with his “Spartan” down the legside, and immediately set about bolstering the scoring rate, hitting two 6s and two 4s. Broad fell, caught for 21, with the score on 46 for 2 after 10 overs, with Williams on 9. Jarvis played a watchful knock before uncharacteristically chipping a catch to the covers, falling for 1 with the score on 65 for 3 after 17 overs.
Loganathan entered the fray equipped with the rejuvenated “Cobra Max”, and spent time to acquaint himself with the unfamiliar batting conditions. Patiently waiting for the over or short pitched balls, Loganathan hit his stride in striking five 4s and four 6s leveraging the elements to dispatch a number of the of the boundaries downwind, necessitating a frequent and protracted ball search in the long grass.
Club legend Williams provided batting solidity on a tempestuous day with a conscientious 44 not out, at a spartan rate of 1.37 runs per over. Their unbroken partnership of 94 off 15 overs proved decisive in maximising batting points, with Loganathan despatching the winning runs to remain 59 not out, leaving Brockenhurst on 159 for 3 after 32 overs.
Cricket was the ultimate winner in the extreme conditions, and great credit has to be paid to both sides for competing in a bail less match. Brockenhurst gained their 9th victory of the season, and face a challenging fixture, weather permitting, next week away to Burley to attempt to maintain the pressure on the league leaders.
Scribe: Alan Rogers aloft over Iraq en route to Jakarta.