Third time lucky for Hardingham in Wicklewood Shield final glory!

Sparkey and Coffee Harris take the plaudits

Tuesday 28th July 2009

The 1st piece of silverware of the season for the club was safely won tonight with a comprehensive 9 wicket win over a plucky Gt Hockham side, the competition winners from last season on neutral turf at Hingham. Unbelievably winning another toss, a fact that took the skippers win percentage to an all time career high of 27% this season, Hardingham elected to bowl first, the consensus being that an unknown pitch and outfield that prohibited the easy viewing of your own feet would make chasing the better option.

Taking the field with ten and a hastily dressed 12th man awaiting the arrival of the 11th, both Sid and Mr Guns opened the bowling with pace and tight off stump lines with Guns taking the 1st wicket to fall from a top edged pull that happily fell into the lap of the now arrived 11th man Oli. Fresh from the excitement of catching it, Oli then took the 2nd wicket bowling the opposition number 3 with the 1st ball of his spell before optimistically proceeding to check out out the middle of the pitch and serving up some half track pies much to the chagrin of bowling coach Moots in his optimum viewing position of fine leg.

The introduction of teenage spin sensation Sparkey continued to tighten the screw and being silkily backed up by JP behind the stumps, skillfully mixed up his pace before tempting the Hockham number 4 to maroon himself half way down to be stumped so smoothly that it had both Swiss Toni and Mr Jazz Club ("Nice") purring with admiration.

Ellis throughout this was continuing to bat well for Hockham with the skipper being in particularly generous mood delivering up some of the most innocuous flans ever seen in a cup final with one particualrly tempting offering being particularly enjoyed a good distance over the boundary before a high leading edge off Oli was sensationally caught once again by the "catchman" Glenn running in and diving forward at midwicket. Once can always be considered a misfortune but having fallen to an even better catch from the same fielder in a league game the previous summer, Mr Ellis will be pleased to see the back of the catchman for a while....... On a footnote, fielder and ball once caught finished 2 yards from the end of the bowlers follow through......... final quote from bowler - "I didn't fancy that one". Luckily catchman did .....

As overs ticked down and the run rate remaining stagnant, there were further breakthroughs with Oli convincing nobody that he has a future career as a legspinner, the skipper who continued his shameless pursuit of wickets of batsman under the age of 13 and a run out in which Sid managed to cast off his sloth like assertions and wing in an inch perfect throw to see the batsman well short. At the end of the 20 overs, the score stood at 82-7 with all the bowlers returning tidy figures with Sparkey the highlight; his 4 overs costing a parsimonious 9 runs.

With a modest run chase ahead of them albeit with an outfield paced like an asthmatic snail carrying some particularly heavy shopping, the skipper was able to mix his batting up knowing there was insurance in the locker if needed. With Moots and Jordan "Mr Peperami" opening, a solid opening platform was laid with the run rate never allowed to creep up. Ranty was the more aggressive of the two whilst Moots, backed by a large vocal following of both teammates and personal supporters was happy to take singles...........and singles........and singles. The stand was worth 42 before Ranty, flush with excitement of managing to score 2 boundaries played a shot rustic in intent and design and was castled for a solid 25, continuing the progress he has made this year with the bat. As Pickers came in and initially knocked it around tidily, more attention fell on Moots who withstood good natured banter about his run of single scoring shots and batting in binary to temporarily stun the large crowd with a well hustled 2 before silencing them completely with a well mown four that was aided and abetted by some unlucky fielding from the oppositions youngest fielder. Eschewing all risk, flair and chance, he single handedly prevented Hockham getting back into the game and was there at the end, unbeaten on 32 with Pickers unbeaten on 17 as the total was overhauled with 2 and a half overs to spare.

A thoroughly professional performance with the fielding and bowling backed up by the batting. This was Hardingham's 1st win of the Shield this century after 2 final defeats in the past 4 years and it was no surprise that Sparkey topped an excellent evening with the man of the match award for his 4 over spell. With great spirit and banter throughout, this was a thoroughly deserved victory in what is shaping up to be a potentially fantastic season for the club. Well done to all who played and to all who came and supported.


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