BB - 252-5 (dec)
Sutton Valence School - 238-8
A vibrant B.B. XI consisting of all ages arrived at Sutton Valence School on a relatively grey day, nonetheless hot and muggy. With the hopes of an unbeaten season dashed the day before up at the Hurlingham Club, a strong W was needed to be brought home.
Brother Tom Pollington on his first outing as a Match Manager typically lost the toss, however the B.B. were put into bat. Some early swing and movement off the pitch saw him bowled for no score after leaving a straight one on only the 5th ball of the innings. Anyway. In came James Bevan-Thomas who steadied the ship alongside Alastair Mavor and the two put on a steady partnership, helped by some half-volleys right in the slot and an outfield which was faster than a snooker table.
Mavor fell after around 10 overs on a tidy 17 to a good ball from the SV gap-student. Bevan-Thomas batted beautifully on his former school's wicket and drifted comfortably to 53 before being triggered LBW. He was helped along the way by some strong hitting from James Pollington (Junior BB) which included a six over square leg. Bevan-Thomas was replaced by candidate Mikey Law, also former SV, however was caught by a decent grab at short-extra cover. With one over to spare before lunch, Pollington Junior was joined by Brother Hugo Loxton-Barnard. Despite lunch looming, he kept the crowd on the edge of their seats by swinging and missing four consecutive deliveries. Lunch did finally arrive at 26 overs, with the scoreboard reading a satisfactory 113-4.
After the coronation chicken we returned to the crease and cracked on. Pollington Junior rotated the strike whilst Loxton-Barnard accelerated in his normal style, quickly passing Pollington and reaching a Chris Gayle-esque 50 in no time at all. Pollington was bowled for 31 after a big swing and was replaced at the crease by guest Jamie Drewe, the fourth and final BB member who was also a recent leaver of the school. Drewe and Loxton saw the innings through until declaration on 252-5 after 46 overs, leaving the game very evenly poised in every sense. Loxton-Barnard was left stranded on 84* and had been accompanied by a tidy 41* from Jamie.
With a short window to bowl with before tea, Skipper Polly opted to open with spin through George Wooldridge, who took two fine wickets in that time. The first was more thanks to his own father Mike keeping behind the stumps with a dexterous stumping, and the second saw George take a stunning catch himself. Tea at 4:15 pm with SV 48-2 off 12 overs; ideal scenario.
Returning for the final session, SV knew they had a shout at winning and thus went after it, which in turn brought chances for the BB. Brother Bryant snaffling a wicket and Skipper Polly with one also saw the BB with a strong chance of victory. George Wooldridge returned for another spell of off-spin and bought himself three more classy wickets to take the SV score to approximately 200-8 with 5 overs left to play. With some catches put down in the dying overs, and an SV batsman refusing to walk after a convincing edge to the keeper, the game was drawn with SV finishing on 238-8 off 47 overs.
A thoroughly enjoyable and well-contested match. Thanks to all for their contributions, until next year!