Minchinhampton visited Ruardean Hill for their last league game of the 2015 season and looking to finish on a high, with 5th place still in reach with a win.
On arrival skipper Jaime Waring was undecided, given the wicket was a little damp…but he lost the toss and was asked to bat, so the decision was made for him. Openers Phil Stephens and Alex Waring set about building a total, but some tight bowling from Powell and Weaving meant run scoring was not easy and both openers fell for 4 runs. Ross Britton at 3 and Jon Ablett at 4 set about re-building and did this confidently as they added 68 for the 3rdwicket, with relative ease. Ablett then holed out at the mid-wicket boundary for 40 and Britton played on for 29, with Minch on 95 for 4. The mid order of Gordon (9) Cooper (13) J Waring (5) and Cruickshank (0) couldn’t get themselves in on a tricky wicket and a score of 150 looked good with Minch languishing on 126 for 8. However, James Preist at 9 batted beautifully to counter attack the Ruardean bowlers, striking 3 huge sixes along the way. Number 10 Pete Wallis was backing up superbly and once he got his eye in he also let loose adding 3 fours and 1 six of his own as Ruardean had no answer for the lower order hitting. The 2 added 62 for the 9th wicket, Priest finishing on a very well-played 34no and Wallis a personal best score of 28no, the two bowlers delighted to be showing the batters how it’s done! Minch finished on a very solid score of 188 for 8 from their 45 overs thanks to the fine lower order recovery. Young Powell with 3 for 24 the pick of the bowlers.
In reply Minch knew that any early wickets would be the key to success, but initially they did not materialise. Priest bowled well with no luck as several chances went through the slips cordon. Wallis was bowling his usual tight line and length but Ruardean moved to 30 for 0 wicket. Wallis finally made the breakthrough bowling Underwood, then quickly followed by Ballinger for 9. When the slow left arm of veteran John Turton was introduced he made an immediate effect, as Weaving fell for 29, caught at slip by Jon Ablett. Skipper Jaime Waring, back off his full run up this week, bowled 7 overs with no joy, but for just 9 runs as Moore and Cole dug in to try and claw things back for Ruardean. The pressure built as Turton and Waring gave nothing away and when Moore went for 16 and Turton also picked up Weaving for 3, Ruardean were 5 down with around 60 on the board. Turton finished his season with a wicket off his last ball and figures of 3 for 18. Priest returned from the bottom end and accounted for Cole, caught at point by Waring and then Dave Gordon, fresh from warming up for a bowl for the best part of the season, accounted for 2 wickets for just 17 runs from his 5 overs. Ollie Cooper also picked up 2 wickets, including a very fine catch from Wallis on the square leg boundary and then Cooper took a caught and bowled to wrap the game up, Ruardean reaching 114ao.
With the win Minch finish 5th and middle table in Division 4 after a good finish to the season with 4 wins from their last 5 games. A special mention must go to Pete Wallis who appears to have finished top wicket taker in GCCL Division 4 with 32 wickets, closely followed in 2nd place by Jaime Waring with 29. Minch’s bowling has been excellent all season, with more bowling points than any other side. However, often their batting hasn’t quite hit such heights, but with lots of fine batsmen in the squad the team has plenty to work on and are confident they can improve next year in this area next season.