WHO NEEDS THE HUNGERFORDS? (WE DO) - Match Played 13th July
View From Silly Point by Jamie (Mitch) Mitchell
As soon as it appeared that Pompey 2s were back on the wagon, following the Sarisbury setback, they found themselves reaching for the sherry again last weekend, after copping a 38-run beating at Bishop’s Waltham.
In being asked to field first in humid conditions, and the appearance of a grassy, horror show of a pitch, Pompey were presented with an opportunity to run through the home batting line-up, to set up an early finish. However, a combination of the deck playing better than expected (a ‘Sally Gunnell’ as Nicky Wyatt refers to it – for an explanation of its meaning, please direct all enquiries to Nicky), and a pretty ordinary bowling effort, aided the home side to amass 240 for 7 from their 45 overs. James Holder was the only real standout with the ball, taking 1 for 21 from his 9 overs – Jed Whitecross and Ishy Ahmad took two wickets apiece, while Joe Eales claimed one.
Whereas the Bishop’s Waltham Nos. 3 & 7 made sizeable contributions with the bat when they had got in (86 not out and a run-a-ball 61 respectively), Pompey couldn’t manage the same in reply. When openers Nicky Wyatt and Jamie Mitchell raced to their almost weekly 50 partnership in just 43 deliveries, the outlook was initially optimistic. Sadly, Mitchell had neglected to consult Alexa as to whether nudging a ball straight to the point fielder and running would be considered reckless/suicidal/plain stupid (delete as appropriate, and as a result, rissoled poor Wyatt on 21 (from just 17 balls).
Each of the remaining top four all made starts, without kicking on – Mitchell perished for 35, Jordan Palmer-Goddard 25, and Matt Shaw 52 – leaving the middle-order far too much to do to get close to the 241 target. Pompey were eventually dismissed in the 42nd over for 202.
TWO MISSED AA REFERENCES - Match Played 20th July
View From Silly Point by Jamie (Mitch) Mitchell
Among the friends of Pompey 2s, murmurings have started in relation to staging an intervention, after they slumped to another abject defeat – this time at home to Rowledge 2s.
Pompey’s St Helens HQ had held up remarkably well to the persistent rain on Friday, and Saturday morning’s showers, but it was either malfunctioning or poorly assembled covers that left a section of the pitch soaking wet. A half-hour delay to the start of he game helped to downgrade this section to ‘rather damp’.
As a result, it became an important toss to win, managed ably by the visiting skipper, who asked Pompey to bat first.
Although the damp section wasn’t in a particularly dangerous area of the pitch, the less-than-predictable bounce it produced was a ‘swipe left’ for free scoring batting. The previous sentence was however made a mockery of by home skipper Nicky Wyatt, as he played Jason Roy to Jamie Mitchell’s MS Dhoni, in racing to 27 at better than a run-a-ball, before the bedlam began.
It’s often said that the first step towards overcoming a problem is to acknowledge its existence - Wyatt and Mitchell can no longer live in denial about their running between the wickets.
The former slapped one straight to the cover fielder and took off for a run, and even though the Rowledge fielder effectively had one stump to aim at, the ensuing direct hit left Pompey’s BoJo fanboy the best part of half the pitch short of safety. Not one to be outdone, Mitchell, a few overs later, seemed to be under the mistaken impression that he was inhabiting the frame of someone a few stone lighter, and several years younger, as James Holder padded one to a short square leg. From the non-striker’s end, the home side’s wannabe wordsmith charged for a run like he was on the front line at a medieval re-enactment. Holder, stunned at the absurdity of the sight galloping down the pitch, tried to send the silly old fool back, but by the time the anchors took hold, they could’ve been shaking hands. The task for the Rowledge fielder was more straightforward on this occasion, as Mitchell was run out for 20 runs, and by 20 yards. More episodes like this, and we may see Pompey’s once-prolific openers embark on some form of therapy.
In an encouraging sign, the kamikaze running didn’t filter down to the rest of the team – a less encouraging sign is that the poor decision-making did. Disappointing dismissals appeared to be de rigueur - with Jordan Palmer-Goddard and Joe Kooner-Evans being the exceptions (no parental influence was exerted when composing this paragraph) - as Pompey were bundled out for 133.
Early wickets became the home side’s entire agenda when they took the field, and the combination of Kooner-Evans’ pace and Holder’s canny off-breaks duly obliged, leaving Rowledge reeling at 40 for 4, with a low-scoring thriller a possibility. The returning Hungerford brothers replaced Holder (3 for 29) and Kooner-Evans (1 for 24), and it was Paul who collected the next scalp - thanks to a nice grab from Palmer-Goddard (again, no parental influence exerted) - with the score on 74.
As the game drifted away from Pompey, Micky H’s itchy trigger finger handed Ishy Ahmad a wicket, with the visitors still requiring 30 for victory. Thankfully the debatable decision didn’t have a lasting impact, as the Rowledge lower middle order extinguished any hope harboured by any wild optimists among the locals, as they cantered to their 134 target with 4 wickets in hand.
This recent run of reverses hasn’t been the result of any one discipline (batting, bowling, fielding) going awry, the last two weeks has been a case of the old cricketing adage “whatever you do first, do it well”, not being adhered to. Setting a more positive tone in the coming games should bring about a change in fortunes, rather than making Tory cabinet-style wholesale selectorial changes.
To that end, Pompey 2s hope to get their broken down season back on the road this weekend, with a long journey to newly-promoted Bransgore in store.