The 4s travelled to the lovely picturesque ground of South Woodham Ferrers knowing nothing other than a win was needed to keep the promotion push going.
On the hottest Saturday of the year we were looking to bat but stand in skipper S.Duke lost the toss and the opposition decided to stick us out in the field in the sweltering temperatures and as we trudged out we thought we might be in for a long afternoon, that was until the first ball!!
B. Duke opened the bowling and with the first delivery got one to swing in to the batsman, pitch and then seam away hitting the top of the off stump, what a start. The opposition were immediately on the back foot and Duke and Khan tied them down with an extremely tight and economical opening spell. Just as the SWF batsman started to look a little more comfortable, Duke struck again removing the leg stump this time of the dangerous Curtain. Again the opposition had to look to rebuild with Duncan and Thomas now into the attack maintaining the early pressure. Firstly, Thomas struck with a stunning diving return catch and not to be outdone Duncan joined in as he held on as the ball was smashed back at him to also take a terrific caught and bowled. Athletic were really turning the screw now and when newly signed Saj came on to bowl, no one was sure what to expect but he didn't disappoint as he soon joined in and got amongst the wickets enjoying all modes of dismissal with a caught, a bowled and an Lbw. Duncan struck again as Khan held on to his second catch of the match before the returning B Duke collected his third wicket of the game courtesy of a catch by his dad which he knew he didn't dare drop. The innings was finished with a brilliant piece of wicket keeping by C Wallace as he chased a ball down and threw at the stumps to effect a run out. He knew he had to compete with his dad who had helped us out by making a comeback and was electric in the field. SWF all out 166 which if we didn't get our heads down and bat properly would prove difficult.
We set about the target refreshed after tea but some of the slightly older players still feeling the heat a bit.
The early loss of S Duke meant to the Rehman brothers were together and batted extremely sensibly to ensure there wasn't any further loss. Unfortunately as the younger brother Omar came through the initial tricky period and started to cut loose he lost his wicket to a good catch. The elder Azeem and the elder Wallace again looked to rebuild with Wallace looking extremely comfortable despite several years absence from the game before the impressive N Pretty struck again. Khan now came to the crease and once he got himself in he started to make batting look so easy and with A Rehman now starting to time the ball nicely things were getting back on track until Mcgarry broke through and knocked over his wicket. The younger Wallace and Duncan came and went quickly as SWF introduced Cox into the attack who had a real head of steam up. Things were now looking grim but there was hope as the oldest Rehman of all came to the crease to join the impressive Khan, Shaz having to bat at 8 due to his late arrival but his grafted 19 would prove invaluable. When he lost his wicket with still over 50 required and Thomas being out the very next ball we really thought the writing could be on the wall and we could be very disappointingly slipping to defeat. However young Duke came to the crease and after surviving the hat trick ball played very sensibly in ticking the board over and giving Khan the strike who was now looking imperious and dispatching all the bowlers to various parts of the ground. Duke then joined in as his confidence was growing he started to find the boundary and the winning line edged ever closer until a scrambled single took us home with just 9 balls to spare. A real amazing win from nowhere proved what resilience and team spirit can achieve. A massive win in our bid for glory and sets us up nicely really looking forward to next week. Come on lads!!!