Shepherd steers his flock to safety
Harberton, Devon, 6/25/2021
Harberton won by 4 wickets
Harberton: 122-6 [J.Shepherd 79*]
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Once again we congregated in a field, nestled deep in the South Hams, ready to take on Harberton in our anticipated tour-opener. Andy Jonesí Land Rover was again nicely situated, with a crate of Salcome pale ale providing pre-match refreshments from the back door.
Harberton kindly adhered to traditional touring etiquette and allowed us to bat first. DP followed up and gave some lower-order batsmen a chance to shine, but sadly on this occasion both Mario (0) and Andy Orme (3) wasted this precious opportunity, as pre-match recreational activities had drastically impacted on their hand-eye coordination. Veterans Trigger (2-22) and Hutchcroft (3-15), with a combined experience of 119 years on planet earth, showed how it was done in a timeless display of village cricketing craft. After these early dismissals, the experience of Woolhouse (30) and Vinay (22) allowed Strongroom to rebuild courtesy of a 50-partnership, but it was tough-going, and slow-going, as Harberton applied their wily, local knowledge to proceedings. Woolhouse required a runner after suffering a hamstring injury, prompting much jeering from the sidelines, and tour debutant Fenil was unlucky to get caught and bowled after firmly driving a full toss straight back to the bowler. Strongroom ended on a disappointing 121. It felt about 30 short of a par total.
The Harberton run chase was dominated by skipper James Shepherdís innings (79*) which shepherded (pardon the obvious pun) his flock (there I go again) into the grassy meadow of victory (Iíll stop now). Shepherd received some able support from McClement (22), and increased his scoring rate as we neared the final overs, in a blitz of sweetly-struck 6s, including one that bounced off Bill Daviesí car bonnet, leaving a spherical, red dent. Harbertonís progress was nearly derailed by the brilliance of Riaz, who caused a flutter by taking three wickets in four balls in a succession of fizzy leg-breaks that ripped and turned at least a foot from the village end. Vinay also bowled an excellent, probing spell with subtle changes of pace. It was possibly a shame that the skipper had not retired at 50, as pre-agreed, but, on balance, this innings was a joy to watch, even as it condemned us to a second successive defeat at Harberton.
In the image below we see Andy Orme making a point, Jimmy considering the point, and Hem enjoying the point. But, what was the point?
Written By: J.Gower