After a tearful farewell to the England football team from Euro 2004 the previous evening, and with the additional burden of the aftertaste of last nights dodgy pizza, LECC embarked on the second game of a scheduled 3 on our Norfolk tour. This game took us to Asmanhaugh, a pleasant enough surround greeted us, along with the welcome news that we'd have the services of an overseas pro 'Aussie Dave', who replaced Sen for the day after he was called to London on business. Aussie Dave (real name Luke Fitzimmons) played yesterday for Mattershall and after Stevey twatted him all around the park, we thought he'd fit in well.
Acting skipper Andy J won the toss (I think) and elected to bat. Steve continued his fine form on tour looking to attack the opening pair, the pacey Reader and the outswinging Trimmer, at every opportunity. Jim, Steve's opening partner for the second game in succession, didn't last long,going this time for 1, well caught at slip off Reader, who was building up quite a head of steam. This bought Aussie Dave to the crease, who got off the mark first ball with a superb forcing shot thru cover off the back foot. This guy looked a class act with both bat and ball.
This pair took the score onto 60 before Aussie Dave was triggered lbw by umpire Janeba off the clever bowling of Richmond, a French Sri Lankan who teased LECC all day with his canny off breaks. Steve soon followed, caught for a well made 24. After a few lusty blows from Andy Gilbert, including a huge straight 6, and the arrival of the watchful Jack, who balanced typical solid defence with crisp attacking shots, wickets fell regularly, Andy for 8 and Anthony for a duck.
The brothers Wrigley batted well together once again, George looking well organised before being out plum lbw playing all around a full, straight ball that him on the toe. Jack was then unlucky to be run out by the new batsmen Jeff. This bought Chris to the crease, who proceeded, along with Jeff, to play some nice shots on both sides of the wicket. This pair put on a more than useful 66 for the 8th wicket before Chris fell for 24 in the penultimate over, trying to smash the leg spinner out of the park. Jeff was out in the last over caught and bowled by the returning Reader, with his top score for LECC of 26. Dangerous Dave was 2 not out.
After a mediocre tea, it was down to the bowlers to defend a reasonable 185. We had more than a good chance of doing this if we were more disciplined than the home attack, who bowled a total of 38 wides. Unfortunately both Chris and Jack were to be a little wayward with Jack continuing to be blighted by a persistent no ball problem that dogged him all tour. Whilst Chris had a few more pretty straightforward lbw's turned down, both openers put away the bad ball, and sliced a few jammy edges wide of the slips. Andy then threw the ball to Aussie Dave, who bowled at genuine pace (well certainly quicker than anything we usually face in an average season) as well as nagging accuracy. Still no wickets came, despite an number of false shots and much playing and missing. Just as Jim was starting to lose the feeling in his hands from keeping to Aussie Dave, Andy brought George into the attack, who started with a few tight overs.
George was rewarded for his accuracy with the first wicket to fall on 125. An increasingly adventurous Flint danced down the wicket and tried to deposit George into the North sea, only to be well taken behind by lightening Jim Khan. Shortly after came the champagne moment of the match. Everett, going well on 63 edged a ball down towards gully where Jack ran back to field, his wayward throw caused the batsmen to decide to turn for a second, and the disgusted Jim to turn his back away from play entirely. Like the true Aussie professional, Aussie Dave whipped in a thunderbolt throw towards the stumps at the keepers end, with Jim still facing the opposite way. Only a desperate cry from deep mid off from skipper Andy J "Jim look out", caused Jim to turn instantly to find the ball lodged in his gloves and calmly removed the bails with the batsmen well short of his ground. A true LECC classic moment.
George was in the wickets again as Beadon drove loosely up to Chris at point, who calmly took the catch (his first one for 3 years!!). Steve came into the attack and runs dried up a little. Steve removed Gant and the dangerous Reader, and all of a sudden the home side a slipped from 125 for 0 to 131 for 4, and 150 for 5. A slight panic began to set in, but this was soon alleviated by the incoming Richmond, who proceeded to play some outstanding slogs and wristy flicks for a superb 27 not out to win the match. This included casually flicking Chris over square leg for 6.
An enjoyable game, that we were well out of for long periods of time, but came back into as the day went on. In the end, we were probably 50 runs short and about 30mph to slow in our bowling to really test our hosts. Just goes to show, that even with an Aussie all rounder in our team, we still find a way to lose! I reckon McGrath and Shane Warne wouldn't have been able to stop the rot either. Just wasn't our day. Still, the curry later on made up for it.