Updated: Jul 16
This game was eloquent testimony to the glorious unpredictability of cricket and a lesson in the importance of keeping going even when defeat seems inevitable. For the second week running, a stunning piece of fielding effectively swung the match, Brigands eventually emerged as winners from a contest in which they had been second-best for much of the time.
On a hot, sunny afternoon, the Down looked at its best but this ensured that whoever lost the toss would be condemned to fielding in the roasting sun. So it proved: Dave Henderson called correctly and opted to bat. Droxford rose to the challenge of the heat by bowling and fielding extremely well throughout a long afternoon. As a result, Brigands made relatively slow progress for much of their innings, Jay anchoring the first part of which with a well-made and patient 39. He was well supported by Dave and Dougie Henderson and Whittle. However, it was left to some judicious hitting by the late order, notable young Jonas Waktare with 32, to enable the Brigands to declare at tea.
At 118-1, Droxford were cruising to victory, this in spite of an excellent opening spell by Ladenburg and Hemsley, who took his first wicket for the club thanks to a sharp slip catch by Beardall. However, thereafter, although Henderson rotated his bowlers well, the Droxford second wicket partnership moved serenely past 100 and, with plenty of overs to spare, looked set to achieve a comfortable victory. For their part, the Brigands’ bowlers and fielders stuck at their task and standards were maintained in spite of the heat. When Henderson turned to Wood and his son, Dougie, the run rate started to falter and it was then that Waktare, fielding in the deep picked up and threw down the wicket with a direct hit, running out the Droxford Number 3 by half-a-yard. His partner fell LBW to Wood soon after and Brigands sensed that the tide had turned. So it proved and the return of Ladenburg proved too much for the Droxford tail which succumbed, leaving Brigands with a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat!