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50+ - Missed opportunities prove costly in Wales...

posted 4 Jul 2015, 01:11 by Bill Lawrence

The Over 50's "A" visited Port Talbot for the long awaited Wales away fixture on Thursday. The build up started the previous night wen Len issued a rallying call via email, reporting that the Wales captain had text him stating that he would not allow Rob Austen to play as he had played 4 times for our 1s, albeit as a fielder. "I'm really pi**ed off!! So please stuff them with 10 men!" he said! For a change, we were all assembled at the TATA Steel ground by 1230. The ground was just off M4, J38, Gary rang Robbo lost from J41, and Robbo got off at J37, "I thought J38 didn't exist!" he said! 

Tim won the toss (again!) and elected to bat. Soon after, the rain started with the match unable to start. We were confined to the dressing room for over an hour and Team banter was full on. Evo recalling falling off his bike into the Stroud canal much to the amusement of the rest of the changing room! Discussions took place concerning our Team Managers mental health, following his outburst the night before! Outside of the changing room, Tim's jumper was examined by Celia, as it looked as if he had been rolling around in it with the cows! After the toss and the initial rain break, Danny and Evo took the score to 19-0 off 3 overs before the rain came again, this time a bit heavier! An early tea was taken when Stan set the scene for our fielding display later, by dropping his scone and jam over his trousers, much to the amusement of Eileen. Play began at 4pm for a 30 over match. Going out to field, a member of the opposition passed Robbo on the steps asking where his pads were and what number he was. "I'm down the order today as we've got 4 first teamers in because you wouldn't let our 2nd teamer play!" he explained with a smile on his face!

Danny and Evo continued where they left off before the break, putting on 97 for the first wicket before Danny was caught behind for 45 in the 16th over with the score on 97. Evo followed soon after in the 19th over, also caught behind for 45 with the score now on 128. Captain Tim Smith then entered the arena and smashed 48 off 26 balls before he was out in the 23rd over with the score on 161. He took a nasty blow to the head with his score on 42, and took a while to regain his composure. Indeed, the following 4 balls he played forward defensive shots, concerns were raised that he had forgotten who he was! Wickets then fell at regular intervals, and we only managed to score another 35 in the remaining 6 overs; batting all of a sudden looked a lot more difficult! Still 196 looked a competitive total and it was certainly game on.

We knew we needed to make early inroads into the Wales top order, with 2 out of the top 3 averaging over 100 this season. Unfortunately, where match winning catches changed the game against Wales at home, it was the opposite on this occasion spilling 3 early chances in the opening overs, including a relatively easy chance 5th ball of the innings! This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Gloucestershire boys and it took us a while to recover. Our opening bowling was not up to the standard of previous games and they raced to 46 off 6 overs; not the start we were after. Billy Partridge then came on and bowled one of the big guns (Sutton averaging 103) with his first ball for 25. Game on! However, we couldn't take the all important wicket of the next big gun soon enough, with several more chances going begging. Eventually Lewis was caught off the bowling of Skipper Tim Smith for 55 but the score was then 132-2 off 20 overs. The usual buoyant atmosphere in the field was struggling to surface, and although we still fought to the end, they eased home with 2.4 overs left for the loss of only 3 wickets. Paul Bennett finished 95 not out and is now averaging 128. Pick of the bowlers was Billy's 1-28 off 6 and Tim's 2-23 off 4, his first bowl of the season. We took defeat in the right spirit and had a a few beers with the opposition (although we didn't speak to their captain!) before making the long trip back up the M4. We still have a very good chance of qualifying for the semi final play offs, and a win against Devon next Thursday could secure that place. Who knows, we might even get our revenge against Wales in the final!

Thanks to Doug for umpiring and Eileen for scoring, and once again to our small loyal band of supporters (namely Stan, Celia and on this occasion Jackie Partridge, and their lovely dog Tilly, who spent most of the afternoon with us in the changing rooms!)

Onwards and upwards, stay positive and bring on Devon next week.

And a final thanks to the injured Thorny for travelling down to Wales to be 12th man: and standing in the field for us for 28 overs, which was a shocking omission from my original report!

Cmon the Glos!

Cheers, Edgey