Minchinhampton hosted Ruardean Hill on Saturday, with both teams coming into the game with 2 good wins under their belt recently, so it was set up to be a good game and ultimately didn’t disappoint.
Captain Jaime Waring won the toss and chose to bat. Openers Dave Gordon (15) and Phil Stephens (7) found it tough going against a good young opening bowling attack of Powell and Hoult. The new ball was moving around and proved hard work, as Ruardean backed up their bowlers with a fine fielding display. The returning Jon Ablett made a solid 31, before getting a sharp riser to glove behind to keeper Jayne, 1 of 3 catches and a stumping for the keeper. When Alex Waring (15) and Ollie Cooper(4) fell cheaply Minch found themselves at 85 for 5 and struggling slightly. Ross Britton and Jaime Waring however managed to re-build and slowly up the run rate, adding a vital 67 for the 6th wicket to boost Minchs total past 150, Britton fell for a very well played 34. James Priest (10) and Waring added a quick fire 25 to elevate Minch to 179, but when Waring fell for 43, Minch lost the last 4 wickets for 1 run. A good score considering, but a superb fielding display by Ruardean must have saved their side 20-30 runs in the field. Young Powell 3 for 27 and Boute 3 for 36 the pick of the bowling.
In reply Minch did not make a good start. Priest’s first over went for 16. Ruardean opener Weaving settled in nicely. Much like the Minch innings before, the new ball was doing a fair bit off the pitch and Priest soon found his rhythm to remove Middlecote bowled for 1. Benoy Ittyavirah at the other end was bowling an impeccable line and length and removed Moore 1st ball, caught behind by stand in keeper Alex Waring. A couple of overs later he accounted for Weaving for 23, again caught behind by Alex Waring and Minch sensed some hope. Hoult attacked the Minch bowling adding 41 and was ably supported by Boute with 17. Between them they looked like getting Ruardean to their target; getting past 100 just 4 wickets down. The slow left arm of Turton finally accounted for Hoult, caught in the deep by Priest. This was quickly followed by two wickets as Priest himself returned to the attack and took two wickets in two balls, both clean bowled. Once again Ruardean fought back with youngsters Penson (16) and Jayne (20) forging a partnership to frustrate Minch. Jaime Waring was bowling tightly but with no joy, but in his last over a moment of magic from Marcus Cole gave Minch a huge boost. Waring found a leading edge and Cole at backward point pulled off a stunning one handed catch diving to his left to remove Jayne. Lilley (15) swung the bat to still give Ruardean some lower order hope, but Ittyavirah returned and took his wicket, caught by Jaime Waring. Dave Gordon also got in on the act with his first bowl of the season and clean bowled Cole for 6 as Minch now had victory in their sights. Ruardean now needed around 25 to win from 4 overs but with only one wicket to spare. John Turton lofted one up to Penson and it proved too tempting; he mistimed his shot to Phil Stephens at cover who took a great catch to give Minch a 20 run win with 3 overs to go.
Three hard fought wins in a row now for Minch has put the disappointment of their early season losses behind them and got them back on track.