In perfect conditions at the Valley, the Home side was sent in to bat by Guy Wiseman, the Goat Herders skipper. The captains decided to split the game into 2 x 25 over blocks each, due to the heat of the day and the general age and condition of the players.
The Valley made a slow steady start, aided by a number of dropped catches and after 25 overs the score was 77/2. The Peninsula team made an aggressive start to the chase and at the half way point had a comfortable lead at 106/3.
After a hearty Valley lunch, including Barry Frost’s legendary curried eggs, the Valley was hopeful of a better second half to the innings to give the opposition a decent target to chase. However, despite most batsmen getting to double figures, only skipper Greg Hills with 29 managed to get over 20, and the innings ended with the Valley a disappointing 167/8.
That left Peninsula 25 overs to score a mere 62 for victory with 7 wickets in hand. The WASP was giving the Valley only an 8% chance of victory, but that didn’t factor in the Peninsula’s record of bottom order collapses over the years in this very fixture. With only 15 runs needed and 6 wickets in hand (and with overs to spare) it should have been a cakewall for Peninsula, but suddenly things started to go pear shape for them. A combination of some tight and accurate bowling from Russell Drake (2/42) and Hayden Ryan (3/31), coupled with some poor batting, suddenly gave the Valley team some hope. When Drake got the vital wicket of Andrew Nicholls (brother of Black Cap Henry) for 46, the WASP was up to 23%.
The last few overs were bowled superbly by Greg Jones (2/11 off 5) and Russell McGregor, and wickets kept falling while not many runs were scored, so that meant that when the last batsman came to the crease 2 runs were still needed for victory. After a couple of tense moments, Peninsula finally managed to hit a ball to the boundary to complete a 1 wicket victory.
Another excellent game at the Valley, some enjoyable company had, and a well deserved victory to the Visitors. The after match included a toast to Martin Crowe, probably our best ever batsman who had passed away earlier in the week.