On a fine Sunday morning, The Hogs welcomed The Jesters, to Warnford on one of Hampshire’s most scenic cricket grounds.
Much to the Hogs dismay, news from the toss was that we had to field! Already at a disadvantage, with a man down, the Hogs looked to seize the early initiative. The opening pair of Charlie Browne and Ollie Cox, looked a threatening attack with the new ball in hand. Cox playing in his 7th game in as many days, arriving late was ordered to run up the hill by Captain George Browne. The opening overs proved to be a frustrating period for the Hogs, summarised by Cox flooring The Jester’s opening bat with a fierce bouncer, in reply to being driven through the covers the previous ball.
The breakthrough finally came in the 10th over as P Woolf edged a Cox slower ball to Tiger Foot in the gully. The Hogs looked to be in a commanding position as in the following over Ben Vail struck trapping J Phelan leg before and Cox picked up another victim bowling S Rawson with a fast Yorker first ball. Unfortunately, we were unable to make the most of a great position as the Jester’s middle order exposed the gaps in the Hogs field with some lusty blows. The Jesters accelerated their scoring at an alarming rate as they pushed towards a huge total. The Hogs were unable to stop the Jester’s run rate as the opposition powered on to an incredible 319 for 6 after a mere 39 overs. The highlight of the Jesters innings coming from wicket-keeper batsmen S Zaib with 128 off just 77 balls, 84 of those runs coming in boundaries. The bowling figures made for less than pretty reading with no bowler able to keep their economy below 6 an over.
Despite what looked to be an imposing total the Hog’s felt that the flat pitch and quick outfield meant the target was achievable. The innings started in very much similar fashion to that of the visitors with Oliver Kelly and Abeed Janmohammed supplying the Jesters with little opportunity. With the score nicely ticking along at 54-0 the Jester’s finally found the breakthrough as Janmohammed was caught behind of the bowling of S Rawson. Jester’s soon picked up another wicket as Charlie Lappin was trapped in front for 1 by Rawson. Kelly continued to bat sensibly and found a good ally in Charlie Witter, the pair added 56 before Kelly fell victim to A Mohammed for 68. Witter continued in a new partnership with Foot before both batsmen fell in quick succession leaving two new batsmen at the crease and the tail exposed. There was soon another wicket as Cox gave away his wicket in disappointing fashion leaving the Hogs in a difficult position.
This did not affect Vail though as he powered his way to 50, giving the Hogs a small glimmer of hope. However, it was not to be as just a few balls later he was caught by R Harrison attempting to clear the man on the long boundary. The final wicket pair of Paul Bailey and George Browne kept the visitors waiting, with both playing well for their 7* and 18 respectively. Victory eventually came for the Jesters as Browne played one shot too many and was caught off the bowling of A Zaib.
Although the Hogs came out of the fixture defeated, the game was well fought and, as always, it was a pleasure to grace the hallowed Hampshire turf.