Brockenhurst 265 for 3 Fawley CC 54 all out.
A glorious Mediterranean heatwave greeted both sides to a parched Balmer Lawn. Buoyed by the presence of Loganathan’s guests Priya and Nandhini, Shah won the toss and elected to bat.
Club legend Williams opened with Cole with Newcome and Gregory bowling initially a tight line and length, with both Cole and Williams playing patient and watchful knocks. Cole struck a glorious 4 prior to edging the faintest of tickles to Phillips behind the stumps, off Newcomb ( 8 overs 1 for 34), and nobly walked without hesitation, leaving Brockenhurst on 24 for 1 after 7 overs.
Williams was rising to the challenge, rotating the strike at will, whilst remaining resolute initially against Hilton’s unerring line and length. Shah’s knock was ended when, premeditated, he attempted to whip a good length ball through mid-wicket only to be bowled for 12 off 28 balls in the 22nd over with the score on 92 for 2, and having enjoyed a partnership of 68 with Williams.
N. Broad joined Williams, and patiently played himself in, rotating the strike at will with his established partner. Williams began to hit the boundary with increasing frequency, but as he began to wilt in the afternoon heat, turning 1s into 2s and 2s into 3s became increasingly challenging. Broad upped the attack with crisp and controlled power hitting ten 4s and two 6s in a rapid 41 ball 69, before being caught at deep mid-on, with the score on 215 for 3 after 35 overs. The 123 partnership in 13 overs also underscored club legend Williams’ pivotal role in accelerating the scoring rate, in a near chanceless knock.
Loganathan joined Williams and promptly struck three 4s and two 6s in a 20 ball 34 not out explosive Cobra Max knock, and witnessed Williams score his maiden century of the 2019 season. Switching bats for the last ball of the innings, a Spartan streaky single concluded Brockenhurst’s innings on 265 for 3 after 40 overs.
Fortified by a sumptuous Cornish Cream tea and Hampshire apple cake, produced by Alana Rogers, and the welcome support of Priya and Nandhini, Loganathan opened the bowling and proceeded to immediately induce a faint inside edge that was expertly taken by Williams. To his great credit, skipper Gregory walked without hesitation. Loganathan continued to impress by bowling Want for 0 in his second over. Shears ( 6 overs 1 for 19) bowling a testing line and length induced a lofted drive straight to the ever-dependable A. Broad who judged the catch to perfection to reduce Fawley to 12 for 3 off 4 overs. Loganathan’s pace and accuracy continued to impose unnerving pressure on the batsman, and two further dismissals, both bowled, left Fawley reeling at 27 for 5 after 11 overs.
Shah replaced Loganathan with Srivastava , and ratcheted up the pressure by bowling Gray, and proceeded to bowl 3 wicket maidens and after 4 overs had reduced Fawley to 49 for 9 after 19 overs, leaving Srivastava with superb figures of 4 overs, 3 maidens 4 for 4. Loganathan re-joined the attack and promptly bowled Hilton for four, with Fawley 54 all out after 20 overs, and with Loganathan claiming his first 5 wicket haul of the season ( 6.2 overs, 2 maidens 5 for 13).
The commanding performances of man of the match and club legend Williams, Loganathan and Srivastava ensured a 12th victory of the season, propelling Brockenhurst to the top of the table, by a slender margin of 0.01 points. A final herculean effort is required to maintain our standing against our forthcoming opponents, second placed Dorset Indians, to cap the season as Champions, and we look forward to support to steel ourselves for the prospect of eternal BCC glory!
Meanwhile pressure is mounting on the Chairman to ensure that the services of Loganathan are retained for 2020 and beyond.
Great credit should be given to Fawley for applying themselves in the field on the hottest August Bank holiday weekend on record, and in the spirit in which the match was played.
Scribe: Alan Rogers