Frogmore v St Albans Cricket Club 2XI on Sat 04 Sep 2021 at 11.30
St Albans Cricket Club Won by 58 runs

Match report The equation for the 2s as they headed into the final matchday of the 2021 league season was a simple one. After the disappointment of last week’s game, the gates to the promised land of Division 4B could not, by any stretch, be suitably described as “wide open”, nor “closed shut”, but merely “ajar”. 30 points against local rivals Frogmore, coupled with 2ndplaced Bentley Heath failing to beat already crowned champions Tewin were the conditions upon which the golden gates of Division 4B would open for the 2s to ensue a celebration for the ages.

Remarkably, the 2s were not the only St Albans side vying for promotion on the last day, with the 1s having their own opportunity for glory at Clarence Park. Therein lied an opportunity for the 2s to play a joint starring role in a story fit for a movie that would have even the most brazen of Hollywood bigwigs scoffing at it’s lack of realism – could the stars align?

As injured skipper Jimmy Rosson sipped on his nerve-dispelling late morning “brew”, he watched on as stand-in skipper Howeson paced back from the middle to air the welcome news that we would be setting, and not chasing a target with the bat. Openers Ash and Zach were left waiting as the Frogmore contingent awaited their 10thand 11thman’s arrival – the first time a set of openers have fallen victim to pad rash, which the opposition were keen to remind them of as play finally got underway.

Ash’s stay at the crease was a brief one, falling victim to a leg stump yorker on the 4thball of the day. Not the start anyone had hoped for, but in came skipper Howeson to restore some stability. He and Zach negotiated the next 8 overs well, with Howeson hitting 2 gorgeous late cuts and West also finding the rope twice including a customary lofted drive. Soon after, Zach’s outside edge was found with their Frogmore skipper taking a smart low catch at 1stslip. The runs to that point had come at a fair rate, but the early wickets which all too often can commence a collapse needed to cease if the 2s were going to give themselves any chance of having a night to remember.

In came Chris Mude to partner Howse, and both answered their team’s prayers to restore some order to the innings. Strike was rotated well as their dangerous opening bowler departed the attack, but the spinners introduced were finding some joy in getting the odd ball to both bounce and turn. With the scoreboard ticking over to a respectable 80 odd-2, Chris was then the architect of his own demise and was ran out in his attempts to turn 1 into 2, finishing off with a well-made 34 in his contribution to what would be the key partnership of the St Albans innings.

However, the batting unit at disposal was a strong one with James Caswell arriving at the crease next. Soon after, Howse fell LBW for 45 to grant Frogmore the upper hand once again. Caswell and “Mr I Love Cricket” George Sims went about rebuilding, but Caswell was soon making his way back to the changing room after his watchful 16 – appearing to get an unlucky LBW call.

The Frogmore bowlers could now smell blood, and you could forgive them for thinking they could see it aswell, as Adam Murphy strode confidently to the crease donning his raspberry juice soaked cable knit jumper, well equipped for the inevitable verbals that would be fired his way. Murph looked comfortable from the off, opening his account with a couple of well placed 2s into the legside, but Sims snicked off soon after, with senior pro O’Toole taking his place. With the knowledge of this pair’s exploits together with the bat on a few occasions this year, there was still hope of a recovery, but it would be apt to say the bubbly expectation and excitement that filled the air on the sidelines prior to the start of play was long gone, and in it’s place, a sense of restlessness and impending despair, only to compound should the next 15 overs not go our way.

This grim reality was soon realised as Murph conspired against himself, making an eton mess out of a full toss by supplying one of the missing ingredients to his red berried jumper when creaming the ball to long-on. Unfortunately, the social club were all out of meringue to complete the recipe.

Despite a few quick boundaries in the interim period between wickets, the departure of the wise owl Tooley was a hammer blow and the scoreboard only saw the addition of around 15 more runs prior to Ben getting a decent ball from their re-introduced opening bowler. 160 was a score that on any given day this season would have been lamented by the entirety of the team with words not fit for a match report - luckily the 2s are well versed in unlikely second innings fightbacks this season, and knew that high energy in the field with a few early wickets just might give us a chance.

The fearsome pair of Winners and Badshead were tasked with setting the tone, and both started off well to beat the bat on multiple occasions. Extras being the top scorer after 10 overs was a bittersweet truth, as despite the offering up of free runs, the required rate was climbing quickly. The outfield sinmered away as Ben got into the meat of his marathon spell which his newly adopted, cheesestring saving, shortened run up granted him the stamina and accuracy to complete.

It was Ben that struck first, snicking off their opener in classic fast bowler style, Mude taking a regulation grab with the gloves. He would take 2 more wickets in his spell to end with a crucial 3-for, including the castling of their number 4’s off peg one ball after the apparent catching of the same batsman was waved away by the umpires due to lack of certainty - all’s well that ends well.

Dan Rosson was introduced and got to work with his cutters and in swinger combos, the pitch offering him some joy. Following Ben’s removal of their skipper, LBW, it was a clip into the leg side off of Dan’s bowling that offered Zach the opportunity at mid-on to chase well and expertly entice the 2nd run, forcing a mix up between the newly partnered Frogmore pair before throwing a gun arm directly over the stumps to Dan for him to remove the bails and claim the 5th wicket.

George replaced Ben and claimed the scalp of their dangerous opener, who snicked off to
Chris behind the stumps again taking a smart catch. With Frogmore now reduced to around 65-5, the 2s hadput themselves right in the driving seat at drinks. Ben’s offer of an update as to the progress of Bentley Heath’s visit to Tewin, though tempting, was swiftly turned down in the break. There was still a job to be done here before our minds could wonder.

It was Dan who got the team going after drinks, promising Zach a wicket at mid-on with the set up of 3 cutters followed by the in swinger. As promised, 3 cutters followed; dot…2…4.

“At least he’s still on strike” Dan remarked whilst walking back to his mark after the wild heave by the batsman had sent a thick edge to the third man boundary on the 3rd ball. The in-swinger followed, executed perfectly, and Macca had no qualms in promptly declaring it out as it found the front pad bang in front.

Simsy continued good work at his end and bowled well in tandom with Tooley who removed one half of a worrying looking partnership, much to his animated celebration. Their opening bowler was now in and looked to be handy with the bat, as he offered boundary hitting resistance which quietened the outfield down for a brief period. He took the total past 100, with around 15 overs to play and the 2s still requiring 3 wickets for victory.

Dan Rosson and brother Jimmy who was nervously pacing around the outfield, fired up the troops and kept up morale. Soon after, Tooley struck again, clean bowling another of the Frogmore tail. Alas, it was not the danger man the Saints were after, but Tooley delivered yet again a few overs later as he trapped him LBW. This time, the celebrations were far from toned down, as his departure all but spelled the end to Frogmore’s chase attempt.

There was to be no letting up from the 2s, but it was all over in a flash as Winners was reintroduced to the attack and came good on Zach’s prophecy that he would come on to “clean up” and win us the game. With the first ball of his new spell, a slower ball deceived the number 11 who toed the full toss straight back to Jacob’s welcome hands.

It’s hard to describe the feeling as the 2s walked off the field. Aside from the combination of ecstasy, relief and adrenalin, an undertone of uncertainty lingered, and following the customary handshakes, everyone piled into the changing room to rapidly check their phone for updates in the other key fixture. News broke of Bentley Heath’s chase of 209 faltering at 90-5.

With the falling of each Bentley Heath wicket being confirmed, it wasn’t long before the final confirmation of promotion came through cuing bundles and beer throwing alike.

The 2s journeyed back to CP just in time to bear witness to the 1s sealing a promotion of their own - both promotions being sealed a scarcely believable scenario had you offered it up as a suggestion 7 days prior. Dan and Tooley arrived, equipped with a celebratory cocktail kit, and as the 2XI watched on and admired the Clarence Park sunset, they chanted to their hearts content. Aperol Spritz and life itself had never tasted so sweet.

St Albans Cricket Club 2XI Batting
Player Name RunsMB4s6sSRCtStRo
1nb 16w  
for 10 wickets

(44.4 overs)
Zach West ct C. Massey 10 2 1
Ashish Dean b I. Hurst 0
Matt Howeson lbw M. Chapman 45 5
Chris Mude Run out  33 4 2
James Caswell lbw J. Massey 16
George Sims ct J. Massey 3
Adam Murphy ct R.Johnson 9
Richard O'Toole st J. Massey 16 3
Jacob Winfield lbw I. Hurst 10 1 1
Ben Adshead b I. Hurst 1
Daniel Rosson Not Out  0

Frogmore Bowling

Player nameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Ian Hurst9.422839.332.90
Connor Massey7.0031131.004.43
Paul Lilley6.0021121.003.50
M Chapman10.0134134.003.40
Jack Massey7.0021121.003.00
R Johnson4.0024212.006.00
A Hussein1.00100.001.00

Frogmore Batting
Player name RMB4s6sSR
22w 1lb 
for 10 wickets
120 (37.1 overs)
S. Rushton ct Mude b Sims 27
K. Harber ct Mude b Adshead 0
J. Meddlin b Adshead 0
J. Massey lbw Adshead 6
A. Hussein lbw D Rosson 6
M.Chapman b O'Toole 17
M.Hossack Run out  1
I.Hurst ct & b Winfield 26
R.Johnson b O'Toole 10
C.Massey lbw O'Toole 0
P.Lilly Not Out  0

St Albans Cricket Club 2XI Bowling

Player NameOversMaidensRunsWicketsAverageEconomy
Jacob Winfield5.1017117.003.29
Ben Adshead10.041434.671.40
Daniel Rosson10.0142142.004.20
George Sims5.0119119.003.80
Richard O'Toole4.001033.332.50
Adam Murphy3.001600.005.33

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