Dave Gordon hit a maiden unbeaten 110* on Saturday for the the 1st XI in their fixture away at Charlton Kings. Unfortunately his efforts in the middle were in vain as Charlton Kings ran out winners by 3 runs in a tightly fought affair that went right down to the last ball of the game.
Earlier skipper Pete Wallis had won the toss and put Charlton Kings into bat. His decision to bowl first look a good one when Wallis himself struck twice in his second over, removing opener Parsley and no3 Donnell-Ford both cleaned bowled. Kings were wobbling and needed a partnership. When Turton got in on the act with his second ball Hampton sensed a rout. Charlton Kings found a saviour in the shape of skipper Mitchell who was calmly despatching the bad ball from the other end. Well supported by Roberts (63) the two set about steading the ship and guiding their side back to a decent total. Minch slowly lost their early innings momentum as Mitchell consistently punished anything lose. The second change of Gordon and Turton struggled to break through and Mitchell and Roberts turned the screw. Mitchell batting superbly for his 101, finally falling to Gordon caught behind by stand in keeper Will ‘no shirt’ Price. Hampton were staring down the barrel of a big run chase and when Attwood (24) and Gardner went on the attack in the final few overs Minch lacked the control they desired. Charlton Kings finishing on a very competitive 237.
Minchinhampton haven’t had to chase such an imposing total for a number of seasons and the batsmen in the side were eager to show what they could do, confident that the target of 238 to win was within their reach.
To their credit Minch almost constructed the perfect run chase! Openers Alex Waring and Dave Gordon made a good start. Waring was looking in particularly fluid form as he dispatched a number of well struck drives to the boundary. When Waring (22) fell bowled by a Burton inswinger with the score on 35 confidence was still high as there was evidence that runs could be quickly amassed. Gordon was playing a typically resolute innings at the other end and looked like it was going to take something special to remove him. No3 Ross Britton (32) also struck the ball cleanly and kept the up the momentum started by Waring. Gordon and Britton put together a good partnership and steered Hampton to 100 for 1 of 20. Dave Gordon starting to hit anything lose really well as he moved onto his fifty. When Britton fell, caught by Mitchell, Hampton looked very well poised on 130 for 2; needing just over a hundred runs from 17 overs. With this season’s top run scorer Ablett now at the crease and a potentially explosive middle order still in the pavilion waiting to bat Minchinhampton could be forgiven for allowing themselves to feel as if they were in control at this stage.
Ablett struggled a little to find his timing early on but he and Gordon still pressed on towards the target putting on another 50 partnership and when Ablett (38) fell mistiming a drive things were nicely poised. Gordon, the engine room of the Minch run chase, continued to rotate the strike and put away the bad ball. Joined at the crease by the explosive Price he pushed onto to his maiden hundred. It was at this stage that, for the first time, the Kings bowlers started to get a grip on the run rate and Minch started to slip below the required 6 an over. Price fell cheaply and Stephens wasn’t able to find the boundary as often as he would have liked. Hampton kept running the singles keeping themselves in touch but Kings sensed that if they could prevent boundaries they could win the game. With the field spread in the final few overs Minch still required 18 to win. Gordon released some of the pressure with two well struck straight drives for four and Stephens scrambled through for a few singles. Leaving Hampton requiring 9 from the last.
Bowling the last over Gardner deliver the killer blows. Gordon took a single. Gardner then striking to remove Stephens bowled. Tom Richings was able to scramble a 2 before being caught in the slips off a top edge. With 6 to win from the last two balls of the game and with century man Gordon on strike it was poised to go either way. Gordon got hold of a straight one but was only able to make a single. Matt Richings, facing his first ball, was therefore left with the unenviable task 0f hitting a 6 to win or a 4 to tie off the last. To his credit he smashed one towards the long off boundary but the Charlton Kings man in the deep was able to cut it off securing a 3 run win for his side.
A really fantastic game of cricket, played in good spirits throughout. Congratulations to Dave Gordon on his excellent hundred.