Following the unavailability of influential young-gun Alex Hare and Jay from The Inbetweeners lookalike Jamie Baxter, Saxton knew they would need to step up to the mark to beat the League’s new- comers. The re-named King’s XI knew Garforth would be no pushovers with their comprehensive victory the previous weekend and that they would be well up for the game. However, their hopes and dreams of defeating the mighty Saxton were taken away from them in a ginger frenzy of a batting performance. Matt Ball’s famous words during half time will surely never be forgotten, ‘I’ll go out there, get me fifty, get the girl and be back in time for tea’. How we laughed, but how wrong we were. Except for the part about the girl.
In a bizarre twist of fate the young gaffer won the toss and put Garforth into bat. After a mixed start from the Saxton bowlers, a promising partnership from the Garforth openers and a brief rain stoppage, Brownie took a wicket with the help of well-held catch on the boundary. Shortly afterwards Hannah nipped off the bails of the number three’s wicket with a peach of a delivery. Following these two quick-fire dismissals Garforth settled well, surviving up to the 22nd over before conceding another wicket. This came in the form of a two-bounce half tracker from Harry which took the leg stump of the opening batsman. The breakthrough was embarrassing for all involved.
In the final twenty overs the batsmen looked well set to make a huge score but the young gaffer did well to keep things tight with a tidy eleven overs for forty odd, taking a wicket in the final over of the innings. Saxton tucked into tea feeling they had done well to keep Garforth under three hundred on a batsman’s wicket. Snowy told the team he would need to get off early for a hot meal and so he and old master Bob began the chase.
They had a steady partnership until Snowy realised what time it was, had a huge swing, missed and sprinted off to his car. In strode Matt Ball, who confidently took his mark with a swagger that would keep the dreams of Saxton alive. After old master was dismissed shortly after for a well made 39, in strolled the young gaffer. His duck turned out to be an inspired piece of captaincy as Harry the pinch-hitter took to the crease. What followed was a half hour partnership that turned the game in Saxton’s favour. Following Matt Ball reaching his half century, a great deal of running and Harry’s exercise for the year the two put on ninety runs together before the pinch hitter was dismissed for thirty. The next stage of the innings saw Nige make a very useful twenty five, Matt Ball all the while the rock that would anchor the Saxton cause. Following Nige’s dismissal, Al the tiger Tyson stepped up with the biggest of plans. One and a half overs later his dream was sadly over.
So it all came down to Hanna and Matt. Just nine required off three overs, but with Atkinson next in, a horrifying prospect, it was going to be tight. It was squeaky bum time and the two answered the pressure well, needing just four off two. But following a tense maiden in the 44th over it was right down to the wire. Three runs later, facing the penultimate ball the scores were level. A no-ball and an unnecessary run out later and Saxton were the victors. Man of the moment Matt Ball hit an unbeaten eighty six off eighty four deliveries, a top effort. Back to the Greyhound for a deserved drink where Matt Ball’s praises were sung to a hearty tune. What a guy, what a game.