Timmy's shimmy makes a winny
Gingell's spectacular catch turns the course of top-of-the-table clash
Most cricket games last the best part of six hours. In such a long period there are therefore a multitude of events that can sway and impact the course of a game. It is therefore inconceivable that one ball can determine the outcome of a game. This match was an exception.
Australian Oliver West has amassed 493 runs in the first six C division games for Ottery St Mary. Going at the same rate all season he would be approaching 1500 runs for the season. Unprecedented numbers. When the Otters star batsman had reached an effortless 31, he launched Charlie Dibble's off spin deep over long off's head, and it looked like he was once again, single-handedly, taking the hosts to their sixth victory of the campaign, and in doing so, closing the gap between the division's top two sides. Enter Nicholas Gingell. Athletically retreating to the rope from a starting point 10 yards in, he took a simply stunning catch over his shoulder, and then dramatically kept inside the rope by no more than an inch, with a lovely shimmy. If he wore a size ten shoe it was six runs. His balletic movement and diddy feet had turned the course of this game.
This was not a sexy game. It was attritional stuff on a poor wicket for batting. The spectators searched for a warm spot on what had turned into a chilly afternoon. The Chairman's wife sought comfort, looking wistfully at the image of Poldark on her key ring, transporting her to a quite different place. When questioned on her liking for the said actor, she confided that she preferred it when he keeps his shirt on, not necessarily enjoying the gratuitous scenes in the Sunday night drama, where he is often seen swinging his scythe in the fields, clothed only from the waistline down. She prefers it when he is 'looking serious' and 'riding his horse' fully dressed. The Chairman added later that he generally goes bare chested when mounting his mare, up on Muttersmoor generally, rather than adorning full Cornish 18th Century costume.
Batting first Sidmouth had to get accustomed to the strange feeling of losing early wickets, including the unusually early demise of Isaac Thomas. Nick Mansfield (27) played well again, but with Nick Gingell (19) and Robbie Powell both also falling in the first 15 overs a rebuilding job was required. This was tricky, because the wicket was too paced, with some deliveries stopping in the pitch, others taking off. Credit goes to the Ottery bowling unit though, who were putting the ball in the correct areas to make the most of the conditions.
News filtered in from various websites and texts of heroic run scoring at other venues. England, the 1st XI and the 3rd XI all scored in excess of 300 in their respective matches' first innings. Not at Ottery, where it was requiring a dogged response from skipper Anthony Griffiths (22) and Tom Wainwright (26) to push the 2nd XI's total towards 100. Wainwright' knock a mixture of sound defence and some cover drives through mid-wicket. A further burst of wickets left Sidmouth perilously positioned at 126-9. A final wicket partnership of 25 between veterans Wardrop (15 not out) and Dibble got Sidmouth over the 150 mark and a target was set. Dibble was nursing a sore wrist from a Daley Holmes pile driver in the pre match 5-a-side football. Sympathy was sparse for the wounded number 11, both when he excused himself from the rest of the warm-up, and at home later in the evening.
Tom Simmons and Ed Hurley both took a brace of wickets early in the Ottery reply putting the pressure back onto the home side, leaving them at 44-4. However, Aussie West was still there looking ominously composed, and he seemed to have found a partner who was prepared to hang around in Henry Mutter. This pair took the score to 70, before Timmy Gingell's champagne moment changed the direction of the game.
In truth, there was still more drama. Mutter (46) kept going. Wickets were falling at the other end and it looked all over at 111-9. But the second substantial last wicket partnership of the day threatened to give this game another last minute twist. When Tom Simmons could only parry a high chance over the rope for six, the nerves were beginning to shred. With only 14 more runs required Ed Hurley finally delivered the killer blow and the game was won. Hurley and Simmons ending up with three wickets apiece.
Unusually the three Sidmouth teams were playing within 6 miles of each other. The 2nd XI players appreciated the support of the 3rd XI players, who fleet-footed over from Newton Poppleford, having administered another thrashing to their opponents - their 3rd heavy victory in as many weeks.
Not learning from previous weeks, umpire Colstan Herbert took part in the weekly fines. His wicked Welsh sense of humour soon landed himself in financial peril, made worse once again by his spin of the wheel of fortune, which added to his monetary woes. To add injury to insult he managed to spike himself on one of the metal prongs on the wheel. Better luck next time Colstan.