Saturday XI vs Winsley
Winsley 130ao 40.3 overs
Bears 134-8 42.4 overs
Mark Gunning and Guy Newman starred as the Bears dug deep to record a tense two wicket victory over rivals Winsley at a sun-baked Glasshouse.
On a day when Europe basked in sub-Saharan temperatures, skipper Gunning kept his cool to drag a Bear Flat side low on confidence over the line in a low scoring affair; in the process re-igniting survival hopes as the season reaches its denouement.
But it was the lesser-spotted Newman, certainly in Bear Flat terms, who was the hero of the first innings as mid-table Winsley were restricted to just 132 after being invited to bat. Guy’s spell of 4-24 was instrumental in the visitors losing their last eight wickets for just 44 runs as the Bears admirably kept their focus and intensity in the sweltering conditions. Two run outs and a wicket apiece for the supporting cast of Bence, Morris, Malhotra and Smyth, allied to some excellent ground fielding, meant that at the half way stage the Bears were firmly in the ascendency.
However, smaller targets can often represent a tricky challenge, especially with the Bears having not tasted victory since 23 June. And so it proved with the home side slipping to 8-2 as Mike Symth (unfortunately) and Chris Bence (inexplicably) found themselves back in the pavilion. But Gunners, the beneficiary of an early dropped catch, and the ever-reliable Jack Mainwaring dug-in, and with the run rate at this stage largely an irrelevance took the Bears to 74 before Jack was bowled in the 27th over for a gritty 29.
So, a further 57 was required with seven wickets in hand, but the Bears being the Bears were never going to make easy work of it; and as the middle order capitulated to leave hopes of victory hanging by a thread at 97-8, something or somebody was needed to stop the rot. Enter John Heywood, the hockey player turned belated cricketer, who, putting his sporting experience to good use, not only provided the much-needed foil for Gunning, but more than that took charge of the situation, scoring freely to take the Bears to within touching distance of a crucial win.
At 120-8 you sensed that there had been a momentum-shift and in fact the end came quickly for Winsley as Gunners fittingly saw his side to their target, a sumptuous cover drive the highlight as the points were secured: the skipper finishing on an heroic 62, with Jon contributing 16 priceless runs, while Nick Gerrish returned excellent figures of 5-27, Winsley playing their part in a dramatic encounter.
Our thanks as always to our sponsors, Chef de Party, The Devonshire Arms, RH Hayes Roofing and Josh Sutton Plumbing.