After three losses in three games the Hogs were badly in need of a win this Sunday.
Match Manager Nick Smith had put together a side with a great mix of talent, enthusiasm and experience, but in the end the victory can be put down to the efforts of three individuals, with cameos from one or two others.
Having won the toss Smith ignored the cloud cover and elected to bat, sending the youthful Matt Love and the old warhorse Bill Gunyon out to see off the opening bowlers. This they did, for the most part, very well. The only heart in mouth moment coming when Love, apparently unable to decide whether to cut full-bloodedly or to dab down to third-man, instead ran the ball off the full face of the bat straight at the man at second slip. After a parry, a juggle and some ripe language from the watching Hogs the ball hit the grass and Love was saved. Aside from that the pitch looked true, if a little slow, and there wasn’t a huge amount of movement to contend with.
Bill, however, was less fortunate. He fell to the Grannies’ F Cox, bowled for a solid 28. The score was a tantalising 75-1 but if the Grannies thought they could relax, they were wrong. Harry Came, recently returned from a winter in Australia, joined Matt at the crease, and before long he was threatening to beat Love to a half century as he mercilessly battered boundary after boundary.
In the end, it was Love who got there first, reaching that milestone with 45 minutes still to go before lunch. Again, this period was not without incident, as Matt, attempting to smash a fairly rank delivery to the square leg boundary, instead top-edged a steepling catch to the man at midwicket, who, never looking stable under the ball, spilled it.
But from here, both sides of the lunch break, both batsman looked untroubled. Matt brought up his 100 shortly after lunch, despite some confusion with his score (he maintains he was done out of 8 runs), and not long after Came joined him on three figures. After this, anything that they had been holding back, they let go. When Smith declared, shortly before 3pm, Love had raced to 150* from 115 deliveries, and Came had 115* from just 87. The Hogs finished on 317-1(dec).
Olly Cox, despite a late night on Saturday, opened from the top end and bowled with good pace. He was rewarded when, having had an LBW shout the ball before turned down, he pinged the Grannies’ opener Baldey in front and opened the Hogs’ account. Smith’s experiment of opening with the legspin of George Browne from the other end looked like it might yield fruit on a couple of occasions as he induced some big swings, but despite beating the bat and finding the inside edge twice he went unrewarded.
Owing to the early declaration tea – another triumph from Lisa Smith – was taken at 4pm. The Grannies were one wicket down and looking in a good position, given the huge amount of time left available to them. But after tea things were to change.
Smith called upon the canny services of Mark Low, who obliged by conning Battersby into spooning to the captain, who took a good low catch. 91-2.
The Grannies weren’t about to turn up their toes just yet, and the remaining opener De Mestre brought up his 50, but fell shortly after to the off-spin of Harry Came, after Mark Low juggled a catch.
From here, the mercilessness of the Cames, familiar to anyone who has played with Harry’s father, left the Grannies with little chance, as they succumbed to the twin powers of Came and Low. They crumbled from 101-3 to 141 all out. Low ended the match with figures of 10.4-0-38-4, but Harry Came, not content to allow Matt Love the Man of the Match honours, finished with the superb figures of 6-3-9-5.
Despite a cold start to the day, by the time the players stepped over the boundary rope the sun was shining brightly, and the early finish allowed the teams to enjoy a couple of beers in front of the pavilion together – a perfect end to a Hogs victory.