Match Report 2023

2023 Match Report

Walberton v Lavant – Sun 30th Jul

For the last away game of the long away game run the mighty Lavant had to travel away to a very wet and windy Walberton who were keen to continue and not call the game off.

After a LOT of confusion over who the opposition captain was and what he wanted to do a muddled conclusion was arrived upon that we would play a T20 game to try and get a game in. The ‘stand-in’ captain, after having to provide the coin, lost the toss and were put into bat under confusing T20 rules and not much time to explain to the team, sort out the batting order, organise the side and formulate a plan, get ready and put his pads on ready to bat let alone have time for anything else.

As seems to be the tradition with the Lavant fixtures our tradition Sunday/village team to be met with a opposition made up with young, fit, athletic league cricketers and a handful of ‘older’ guard. Although you never would have know about the older guard as they seemed happy to sit back and let the young guns take centre stage.

The young gun Walberton seam bowlers were all happy rotate at one end (with the wind behind them) and continued to smash a length extracting variable bounce. After fending one ball off his face the captain fell for 6 trying to pull the next shorter ball, which didn’t bounce, caught round the corner from a top edge.

Harry (playing in his first 20 over game) worked hard for his 14 runs before being bowled as did Steve for his 22 against some tricky bowling that offered little to hit and fielding that stopped most and caught everything.

Chris looked to get going with his usual lusty blows but was undone by smashing a straight drive that went like a cannon ball….but was caught one handed by the bowler in his follow through….obviously something you see all the time in Sunday/village cricket.

Tam tried his best to get going but was undone by the Walberton spinner who was able to turn ball on a wet pitch.

After ducks from Lee and James and Rob out for 1, Dave B fought hard for his 20 and with Mark S was able to claw Lavant to a first innings score of 101. As the rain pulled in again it was our turn to bowl but it felt like it wasn’t enough. The bowling unit discussed that we should follow Walberton’s lead and look to hit back of a length and keep it tight.

As the rain came in hard (and no offer of using a different/new ball from the oppo) things didn’t quite go according to plan with the back of a length plan/theory becoming full and leg side full tosses which allowed them to get away to a flying start (passing 20 with ease in the first 2 or 3 overs). In fairness the ball was soaking wet, out of shape, swollen on one side and it was raining and the wind was howling (I think I got all the excuses collected from the bowling unit….please let me know if I missed one).

After a miserable start some control was extracted and we started to come back into it with Dave being able to pick up 3 wickets and ended his 4 overs 17 for 3 wickets. Mark ‘the chairman’ continued his rich vein of form with the ball and was buoyed but a terrific one handed catch that was looping over his head at slip!

Mark got into his work well and did his best to tie an end up ending up with 4 overs 18 for 2 wickets.

Alas with the flying start and the endless production line of young, fit cricketers coming out one by one who all looked like they could smash it wherever they liked getting them 6 down seemed to have no effect on their ‘Sunday/village’ team. The stand-in captain was trying to set fields bet felt like whenever a change was made they just hit it into a vacant gap or whacked it over the top of someone. It was a thankless task for Lee, Mark and Steve to pick up the remaining overs with not many runs on the board to play with. Thanks to all of them for a tough ask…even when one of the many young Walberton cricketers smashing Lee into in the keeper’s gloves at the end of the game (with the scores tied) didn’t do much for the mood of 11 very soggy Lavant cricketers. He must have desperately wanted that not out….

To be honest there’s not much i can say about that game or what could be learnt. T20 is always a bit of lottery but I thought we did ‘ok’ considering the obvious miss match against yet another strong side.

Moment of the game had to be Mark’s great one handed catch that was looping over him….but I will throw my personal favourite moment from one young lad trying to smash Dave into Yapton but ended up in a heap like a rag doll out stumped :0)

I’m giving a joint MOTM to Dave for his batting and bowling figures (pulling it back after a tough first over) and for Mark H for his bowling effort and that catch.

Thanks for everyone for playing in the crap conditions. We move onto Droxford next at home (yay)! At least this week I won’t have to harass Steve for directions to the ground!

Shirrell Heath v Lavant – Sun 16th Jul (was cancelled due to numbers and were replaced by Clanfield in lieu)

A Lavant 10 travelled over to Clanfield for a 40 overs. Lavant won the toss and chose to bat. Alex (50) and Lee (51) worked hard for their 99 runs, our innings bolstered by an eager succession of middle order bats – Justin (21) Dave (31) & Phil (22) to end on 199/6. Fortified by the tea, Iain was solid again behind the stumps and the Lavant bowlers bossed the opposition with a steady fall of wickets. Pick of the attack was Alex taking 4 wickets and holding two catches, one just inside the deep mid on boundary to remove the battling Clanfield skipper, eventually resulting in Lavant winning by 14 runs.

M.o.m deservedly was Alex for a great all round performance, well supported by the team. Notably Joe Allen made his Lavant debut, we look forward to more!

Once again, it’s always sweet to win away from home.

Ashling v Lavant – Sun 2nd Jul

The mighty Lavant were away to Ashling and looking to try and enact revenge for the previous T20 games. The day didn’t get off to the greatest start with the home team not showing up on time or seeming to know how to open the gate lock to get in.

On inspection of the pitch it looked like a drop in pitch but made with uncut hay….which lead to the ‘stand-in’ captain showing he was even more of a tosser than he was at the midweek game by losing and being sent into bat….I think there was a collective gasp/gulp/cursing/shaking of the heads from Lavant boys…..I think someone might have even kicked a dog!

So Lavant went out to bat on a very tricky/spicy pitch. Things didn’t start well with a top order collapse with Steven, Jamie, James, Iain and Dave falling cheaply.

With the batting looking like it could fall in a heap and the game in danger of finishing early, Justin and Lee got their heads down and batted through very tough conditions and dealt with the bowlers as best they could to try and post some sort of defendable score.

Both hung around and kept things ticking and the scoreboard started to creep to 100 until Lee was unstuck by a pea roller. Young Ollie did his best but also fell cheaply and with the overs running down Justin and John tried to get the score moving as there was always a ball with your name on it. Once Justin was out trying to push the accelerator John did his best to tease out as many runs as he could before the team was bowled out for 111 in the 32 over. Obviously the total was shy of what was needed but it was something. Hats off to Justin and Lee for keeping the door open for a possible upset.

Tea was eaten. Drinks were drunk. A cunning plan was formulated and Lavant took to the field.

Justin and Ollie opened up and Justin kept things very tight and everyone in the field played their part to try to keep the runs down. Ollie after, a nervous start, was rewarded for bowling tight in-swinging half trackers by sucking in their best player to play onto his stumps.

The ‘stand-in’ captain wanted to shuffle the bowlers when needed to hold back options for later (if they were required) and decided to call upon Dave B to turn his arm over. The ever reliable Lavant man picked up wickets and also kept taking screamers in the field. Some have wondered if he had a decent pair of shoes how much more he might be able to do…but perhaps he does that on purpose as he’s worried of making cricket look too easy to the rest of us? Who knows…

Jamies replaced Ollie and got into his work early, bowling with superb flight and control and was rewarded for his efforts and could (maybe should) have had more (like the customary stumping not given when someone is stood out their crease….I’m not bitter….again).

With the game finely balanced and Ashling 7 down hope had started to creep in that an unlikely victory could happen. Justin and Dave both returned to complete their overs and were looking to push home the advantage. Justin bowled with aggression and accuracy but probably bowled too well for the lower order Ashling players to get near jaffa after jaffa with it consistently flying through to the gloves with the occasional ‘I didn’t want to catch that’ mumbles from the slip cordon who seemed to be moonwalking after every delivery.

But alas….as they say…it’s the hope that kills you.

With the game drawing to a close John B replaced Justin and he and Dave tried to push for the winner using tight bowling and close field settings, but one batsman stood along for Ashling chipping away at the total. Even with Lavant managing to get the Ashling #11 out into the middle Ashling were able to get home.

In a tight game I was proud of the effort from the team as it could have gone badly. The fight and commitment shown by everyone in the field to keep us in the game was commendable and some of the catches were top drawer. On another day just one of the many balls that seem to just miss the edge could have meant a different outcome but ultimately the first innings total wasn’t enough.

Man of the match has to go to Justin for keeping us in the game and bowling so well for, probably, not as much reward as he deserved.

Champagne moment – Lee taking a screamer diving forward (when he didn’t look like he would even get there) and somehow managed to get his hands underneath by diving forward.

Well done everyone for making it competitive.

Lavant v Taverners – [midweek T20 game] – Wed 28th Jun

The mighty Lavant welcomed the Taverners for the latest T20 match on the fixture list. The honour of being captain of the team fell to some bloke who kept going on about a new brand of cricket called ‘Blowball’ so there was much anticipation.

Displaying the art of being a good tosser the stand-in captain won the toss and elected to bat first. Game on!

The opening partnership started great setting up a decent platform to allow the team to build upon. Jamie was finding gaps with surgeon like precision while the architect of Blowball was at the other end was doing his best ‘see ball hit ball’ on a very (some might say standard) up and down Lavant track! Once the openers had fallen (Jamie 14, Iain 27) the team turned to Steve to steady the ship and continue the flow. He was joined by Will who both had to face down decent bowling but look to keep the scoreboard moving. After performing the job asked of him Steve retired on 25 and the team turned to their ‘pinch hitter’ Mark H who was padded up and ready to go when required. Mark selflessly took on the job and tried to help push the team score on. It didn’t quite work out (this time) but the toe end shot was heard ringing around the village! Dom entered the scene and also selflessly tried to help the team by pushing the scoring on in the closing overs but the tight bowling and tough conditions made it hard work. It was left to Will (27 not out) and young Lavant debutant Ollie to guide the team home to 115. The whispers were the home team were 20 – 30 light but with the tough conditions (and the Blowball brand) there was still a hope of defending.

Mark H opened up at the River End and even though it is not his preferred end set the tone well from the start with some decent line bowling setting the standard. Enter Jamie who spun his magic to the dislodge the opener and the number 3 (after going on about a wrong ‘un many couldn’t tell if he was talking about the flappy wicket keeper or the type of delivery he bowled….might have to just remain a unsolved mystery)…Lol! First change was young Ollie and after an understandably nervy start settled into his work and was rewarded with a wicket for his efforts. Rob took over the baton from Jamie and bowled very well and on another day could have picked up wickets for his efforts. With the Taverners edging closer to the total the next bowling changes saw the chairman and Will enter the fold. Mark S continued his red hot form and delivered for the team picking up 2 wickets for 5 runs. Will also played his part by delivering a masterclass of tight bowling end ending up with 4 wickets for 6! In a controversial move by the captain Mark S was replaced after 2 overs and the ball was thrown to the overseas Portuguese player (John B). There was some theory about Blowball and a seamer having more joy apparently. Who knows. John didn’t let anyone down and kept things tight. As the game drew to a close it looked like a loss was on the cards but the team held their nerve, kept the field up/tight and threw down the gauntlet to the opposition to get the runs. It was fitting that Mark H was able to return at take the final wicket bowling out the Taverners for 110!

Well done to everyone who played. The team stood together and kept fighting all the way to the end. Some might say it was the bowling….some might say it was the fielding….but I think we all know it was because of #Blowball!

Champagne moment was very hard to pick…but I will give it to young Ollie (first time playing with adults) not only getting his wicket but taking a smart catch that help change the game (in front of his cheering family)!

Man of the match was equally hard as there were so many stand out performances but on balance I would give it to Will for his batting and bowling efforts.

Thanks everyone…I hear that even though no one knows what Blowball is that we will be continuing it on Sunday (as I’m standing in again)! Great win……one everyone should be proud of!

Amberley v Lavant – Sun 25th Jun

On one of the hottest afternoons of the year, Lavant travelled to the picturesque Amberley for a 35 overs contest.

Having pre-planned to lose the toss (!) Amberley elected to bat. Both Mark and Lee started with accuracy. As the runs began to accumulate, Dave and Steve preserved with the attack, Dave eventually registering 3 wickets for an economic 24. Special mention goes to Sam’s catch at deep cover, the result of a well laid trap off James’s 2nd over. Mark ‘chairman’ Sullivan was also on bowling form, registering a crucial 3-4, tilting the match our way, Amberley eventually all out for 153 with 3 overs spare.

Fortified by the tea, the Lavant openers Harry (24) and Sam (46) were solid, ably supported by Steve (46). With 8 overs remaining and 24 runs needed, Amberley turned to their fast bowers and the game seemed to tilt towards our hosts, as Iain and Lee both fell to lbw. This left Dave and Phil needing 8 off the remaining two overs, the win eventually sealed by a cover drive I shall not tire of recalling at the risk of alienation! Well done to all for a solid team performance, always sweet when away from home!

M.o.t.m: Sam/Steve (46 each)
Champagne moment: it might have been Lee's catch, determined to be a no ball. So I shall leave this open for others to decide!

Lavant v West Ashling – [midweek T20 game] – Wed 21st Jun

West Lavant: On an exciting wicket that had interest written all over it for the bowlers after the thunderstorms, Chris “the tosser” put Ashling into bat. And heeding some of the lessons learned from the last 5 days of test cricket elected for a defensive and slightly conservative field.

The oppo however had per-determined “Ashball” and came out swinging. Reverse ramps (genuinely), chasing wides and (a lot of) big sixes, the game looked set for the first 20/20 declaration after 15 overs. Surprisingly, and sadly, they decided to see out their entire innings, albeit down to the last man on the last ball. Our bowling, although generally lacking in accuracy and penetration, was laced with some strategic brilliance. Phil Wilson and Dave were the best partnership by far, Phil bowling and Dave catching on the square leg boundary [inc. Rob’s catch from slip off behind the wicket keeper]. Phil ended up with a cracking spell of 4-24 to boost his averages for the season. The chairman, Mark also had a great spell, but in all honesty all the other bowlers (including yours truly) were in some way taken to the cleaners by some expert batting. 174 was the mountain that they built for us. A pretty good knock in just about every way. Unfortunately they also brought some bowlers with them on the 5 mile trip from Ashling, a tactic I didn’t see coming. And although morale was high, scoring opportunities were hard to find.

Iain (21) and Steve (10) did great, but we were quickly behind the 9/over rate required. By the 7th over it had become clear it was more about enjoying yourself and playing for your averages, which I may have forgotten to communicate to the rest of the team, but was the approach I took. In the end Lavant ended up on a respectable 109/6, plenty of batting to come and pretty positive that we saw out the 20 overs, tracking at over 5 an over. Today showed us that aggressive cricket can still overcome conservative cricket and therefore has reignited confidence in Bazball, and England’s chances in the next test, something I’m sure they’ll be citing in the national press tomorrow.

The evening finished with a wonderful gathering of Ashling and Lavant players in the Royal Oak, amicable and good hearted. A great team to play against, but I look forward to us SMASHING them in the Sunday format in 10 days time.

Lavant v Arundel Castle – Sun 18th Jun

Lavant toiled but came up short v Arundel on a rain affected pitch, truncated to a 26 (ask Lee) limited over match.

Typically the rain began as Arundel, fortified by several skillful young league players, were put into the field; Harry was solid for his 34 (ret) partnering both Iain and Steve who came and went before Tam joined at the middle and increased the temp of our innings. The Arundel bowlers remained accurate and their field held several juggled catches as mid-Lavant wickets fell including another another self inflicted run out, Lavant finally all out for 83.

Chris’s excellent tea revived the team for the field.

Tam and Dave kept the openers at bay, Tam forcing one to play on. Sam and Lee worked hard as did Iain behind the stumps as the 3rd Arundel bat began to hit costly 4s until he was eventually bowled (by an absolute Jaffa – no bias!) Arundel eventually made the winning runs with several overs in hand.

Chat in the Royal Oak agreed we needed more runs on the board to compete. Suggestions for our champagne moment welcome. Thanks to all for your efforts, it’s never easy in the rain.

Elsted v Lavant – Sun 28th May

A bouyant Lavant squad turned up to the picturesque setting of Elsted for their next adventure in what is already proving a successful season. The sun bathed the ground; the view was awesome and the pitch looked in good order.

Phil lost the toss and Lavant were inserted. Justin, on his birthday, made no contribution succumbing to a short ball to fall for a duck. This however brought Steve to the crease and this was a good thing for the team. He batted with grace and skill to nullify a good attack and played glorious lofted drives to keep the scoreboard moving. Jamie was unusually becalmed but protected the lower order from some decent bowling. At the halfway stage, Lavant looked as though 120 might be a good score, however, Steve was in no mood to stop and kept going to a beautifully made 83. He was run out in unfortunate circumstances when both batsmen ended up at the same end before a valiant dive was not enough to save him. James and Phil came in and went quickly this week but there was a sense that there was still some batting to come. Tam and Chris came in to add some late impetus. Tam batting with experience and skill to eek out 30 extra runs and Chris showing some good hitting to get Lavant what seemed like a competitive score of 160 at halfway.

Tea was eaten and the team knew they had to potential to bowl teams out having done well all season.

Tam opened up and immediately made a breakthrough. Iain taking a brilliant catch standing up. Some of the glove work was supreme today. Chris opened up from the other end. He bowled well in tandem with Jean Claude Van Tam and both, while going for more boundaries than last week, still started well. Tam snaffled a second wicket to another super catch from Iain and Chris picked up one to a catch in the infield. The changes came and went but the results stayed the same. All of the bowlers creating chances with 8 dropped catches and a lot of near misses proving very costly. Jamie bowled with control and looked threatening; Mark S and John B were unlucky as they had to bowl to two well set batters. Ultimately Tam came back to pick up a third wicket and Mark H came on and bowled well to remove the Surrey Div One batter. Lavant left to rue a below par fielding and catching display that demonstrates the need for hard work and dedication. On another day this could have been so different.

Nelson Mandela said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fail.”

Lavant will hope to a return to form next week against Bedhampton. We have to learn to fight when it gets tough. There was a let up in intensity with 50 still required today. Last week we took 6 for 16. Anything is possible!

This week’s champagne moment was undoubtedly the silky glove work to take 2 stunning catches from Iain. Special mentions to Tam and Steve for excellent performances. On to the pub which was an equally beautiful setting for a rendition of happy birthday and a debrief. Team spirit remains high. I am sure this will hold us in good stead into the weekend after losing first weekend’s game of the season.

A special quote from Phil to emphasis on Justin’s match report. “All in all, it was a tough day for Lavant against strong opposition; m.o.m goes to Steve for his valuable 83 runs. We go again next weekend. Thanks to all for your efforts.”

Lavant v Boxgrove – Sun 21st May

After a loss in midweek that was frustrating, the Lavant squad had an opportunity to demonstrate their mental strength as well as their physical capability. The midweek chat had been around selection and boy, that passion was felt in the team. Every single player prepared to give everything for the greater good. Every player grateful for the opportunity to play. I think I speak for us all when I say we were grateful for Dave’s selfless decision to play for the opposition. More of that later!

The skipper – looking well rested and a little red – had an enviable batting line up to manage. He walked out with a nonchalant air and duly one the toss. With all the confidence he exudes, he made the decision to bat and sent Lavant out to set the tone.

Harry and Justin – in the face of some good new ball bowling put on 60 odd for the first wicket. Harry mixing some good drives with some fantastic back foot shots off of the Boxgrove quick. He oozed the same class as the previous week and in the context of the game stood head and shoulders above everyone else today in a well made 50. The breakthrough was made when Justin played a loose square drive which was gobbled up by Dave ‘Bursar’ Burford diving forward. Jamie came and went in the same over in a rare failure and it was left to the rest of the order to see what they could post. Iain hit some good shots in his 20 before falling to Burford. Dave then picked up 2 more wickets of Lee and Steve (to a great catch by the opposition skipper) and rounded off his performance by catching Chris in another good effort at point. Lavant at this stage, ruing their decision to give the opposition a player of this quality. Lee and Tam batted well at the back end to get the score to 160. At this stage, no one knew how good that this would be.

Tea, provided by Iain, was plentiful and the team looked well fed as they entered the field.

Chris and Tam opened up and my my my! What an opening spell! Lavant, operating at a level rarely seen before in village cricket, ripped the heart out of the opposition in a cold and calculating fashion. Tam, from the pavilion end found a great length to subdue the openers bowling well for his 3 wickets. He was accurate and threatening and a joy to watch. In equal measure, Chris from the river end, backed up his excellent midweek performance with the ball, with pace, accuracy and control to match that feat. This was the best I had seen him bowl – relentless. Their combined figures of 6 for 22 had the opposition in disarray. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and a pleasure to be part of. Iain took a great snick off of Chris and an even better catch down the leg side off of Tam and generally kept the runs down in a way the opposition couldn’t do. It makes such a difference. The field was buzzing with high energy, good humour and a camaraderie that is befitting of the setting. The match was captained in a way where the game was shared around but winning was always the primary goal – great for the team and the club as a whole.

The champagne moment was 3 fold this week…it was too hard to call. I will let you decide on your best moment.

1). James’ catch to dismiss the opposition skipper was class. A diving effort, covering ground and snaffling their most threatening player. Some said it was the best catch they’d seen at Lavant since….since….you know the rest!

2). Iain’s silky footwork and glove work to dismiss the Boxgrove number 5 down the leg side….poetry in motion and hard to see an opposition player replicating.

3). John bowling Dave Burford with a beauty. Pitching moving and castling the opposition’s best player on the day.

John by this point had come on to bowl with Lee. He picked up 3 deserved wickets and really is a vital cog in this village machine. Lee was unlucky not to get in on the act with with a wicket but at least he ‘smiled’ as the skipper fumbled the chance.

The match won when the skipper finally snared a sharp chance at slip to demonstrate that while marriage has clearly taken a lot out of him he still has a lot to offer…si electus. Onwards and upwards to Elsted where, with the returning committee wall, we can look forward to another nail biting wait to find out if we have been selected. Well played all – a fine effort against opposition that had turned us over last year. Another win and another great performance.

West Ashling v Lavant [midweek T20 game] – Wed 17th May

A slightly overcast evening in the end with players short on both sides. A huge boundary and a slow outfield.

The toss lost and Lavant inserted. Iain and Jim walked out to bat and the match got underway. Jim playing some nice shots off his legs and Iain dispatched the opening bowler of a plethora of boundaries early on. With the openers removed, Rob came in and steadied the ship. He batted from the 6th over to the 17th displaying solid technique, good defense and hit a beautiful boundary for his top score of the season. Well done Rob. Finally retiring with cramp, he remained unbeaten. Steve batted well on his return for an unbeaten 28. He demonstrated the class Lavant has been accustomed to for many a year. The skipper plundered 2 massive six for the champagne moment before Rob took the wise decision to run him out so we didn’t have to listen to Chris talk about it in the pub! Justin, John and Phil all came and went without troubling the scorers in a disastrous last 12 balls. The only upshot being Dom’s first runs for the club. A big congrats to him.

With 97 posted it would take some effort. Justin took a couple of wickets early doors but didn’t quite set the tone desired. John was typically accurate – even with a screwdriver related injury – and deservedly picked up a wicket. The change bowers had little to play with. Mark and Steve tried with little reward, Phil got better as the innings went on. Perhaps the unluckiest of the bowers was the skipper who repeatedly beat the edge but perhaps bowled too late.

Not much to do in the field – the best effort being Jim’s diving effort and Iain’s tidy glove work. Ashling chased it down with 4 overs to spare.

A nice drink in the pub, where if nothing else, for our £5 match fee we learnt the secret to everlasting life. In the immortal words of Rocky – “You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”. We will keep moving forward to Boxgrove. We have a great club. One I’m proud to be a new member of. We dust ourselves down and get set for Sunday – Si Electus!

Findon v Lavant – Sun 14th May

The Lavant team headed for their first away fixture of the season. A huge thanks to Steve for arranging.

While confidence was high at the club, it was noticeable that Jamie, the committee wall, the midweek skipper and others were missing from the roster.

A challenging fixture away at Findon who boasted two first teamers (including the SA overseas) plus a second teamer looked on paper, a step up.

However, the stand in captain had a quiet confidence as the team sheet filled up during the week.

The sun was shining, the outfield lush and the setting beautiful as the team arrived. Justin – a great tosser – inserted the oppo and we were underway. Tam opened up and was typically effective – not many runs and prized the opener out. He was more than matched this week by Mark who bowled an accurate and clever spell. His 9 overs demonstrated a strong action, mental resilience and a probing line and length. While going wicketless, it was a great spell of bowling. Alex took over from the Long Furlong End and boy what an impact. The Bristol Butcher dissecting the top order with skill, pace and inappropriate footwear. The memorable moment being roughing up the batsmen with a head high beamer before bowling a beauty to knock back the stumps. In all honesty, removing the well set opener was one of many high class moments in the match. We look forward to seeing more of him later in the year. John came on and bowled in tandem with James. Both superb spells of bowling. John was typically skillful – mixing subtle changes of pace with unerring accuracy. On another day he would have picked up 2 or 3 wickets. James had it on a bit of string and got three valuable wickets. He bowled cleverly using the ground well to slow the run rate and restrict the boundaries. He bowled a long and sustained spell and had a definite impact on the victory. Dave came on to bowl some death overs. He bowled well in tough conditions. He used the slope to good effect and the crowning moment was when he knocked the overseas over – who had earlier hit the biggest six I’ve ever seen. The fielding was good. Lee’s ground fielding was excellent. Alex and Harry energetic. The champagne moment was an amazing boundary catch by Justin to remove the well set opposition captain. Some were heard saying they had not seen such a good catch since…since…well last week….but enough of that. Iain worked hard behind the stumps and undoubtedly helped to restrict the score to 181 for 8.

To tea and a nice spread with a lovely homemade sponge. The team feeling optimistic of success but with no knowledge of what was to come. Harry went out to open up with Lee and wow. They rocketed along putting on well over 100 in no time. They mixed strong boundary hitting with good placement and benefitted from excellent running between the wickets. Lee was unfortunate to fall for a well made 40 odd offering a return catch to the overseas. Harry just kept on going. He looked imperious – his stunning technique being matched by an appetite for runs. He was joined by Rob – who got a few by finding the gap and running hard. His square drive through point was effortless. Harry brought up his 100 and the team was ecstatic. It was a masterclass. Iain and Tam came out to finish things off. Tam knocking the singles as Iain expertly marshaled us home. He found the gaps and walloped a mighty slog sweep to win the game with 26 not out. Lavant had done it with quite a few overs and a lot of batting to spare.

There was a great team atmosphere afterwards – drinking, laughing, football and war stories from the day. I thought the opposition were magnanimous in defeat and played in the right spirit all day. Thank you to them for hosting us so beautifully.

As Justin’s quote – “On to the next game. Boxgrove next week where Jamie will take up the mantle. I for one will be rooting for another strong performance to build on a solid start to the season. Well played all”.

Lavant v Westbourne – Sun 7th May

In a match that was often in doubt, the players were indebted to Robin, Mark, Phil and anyone else who contributed to the pitch. Thank you.

Some people always knew it would be on!

The pre-season chat around the quality of the opposition added a palpable sense of pre-match nerves. Not for the skipper though….an astute decision to go in with 10 players. A key toss on a wet wicket and Phil got the coin toss all wrong. It was a poor flick from 100 yards away. Maybe it was Lee’s 1973 2p coin?

Walking out to bat, Jamie and his best man Lee set an incredible platform. Lee hitting a huge six and living up to Jamie’s pre-game hype. Jamie, what can you say, a class man, team mate, batter and according to himself, the safest hands in Sussex. The tempo of his batting was masterful. Full of resolute defense, solid technique and brilliant timing. His deserved 100 fitting of his wedding week. We all wish him much happiness and the perfect day. Justin came in and slogged some and suddenly, 200 was up with top 3 all having recorded 50 or more. The powerhouse middle order had little time but James, Iain, Tam and Lee all added some late impetus in unselfishly giving their wickets away. Phil and Mark both securing the team score of 239 for 4 with 1 not out.

A brilliant tea provided by Mr and Mrs Sullivan was enjoyable. The KitKat Chunky platter was a delight accompanying some beautiful homemade cake.

There were many comments on Lewis and Eli being the future of the club with their quality cricket on the outfield.

Onto the bowling and once again the Lavant openers ripped the opposition open with a disciplined performance. The sun shone in response. Tam and Lee (3 for 4) set the perfect tone. This was aided by good catches from James and Tam – perhaps the highlight being a trademark full stretch, diving, athletic effort from Justin who is living up to his tag of specialist fielder? It was remarked that nobody among the Lavant spectators has seen a catch that good since…the….the…well the previous week! Lee came on to claim 3 wickets in a good display of line and length bowling. More than making up for 3 dropped catches that varied from the sublime to the ridiculous. Mark bowled well for no reward, Phil bowled the best spell I’ve seen him bowl. The champagne moment being the Chairman removing Westbourne’s last recognised batsmen with a beauty that pitched, spun and removed the bails. Jamie (whose season figures stand at 4 wickets for 1 run) came on to bowl and turned it miles. This allowed Iain to take a smart stumping as reward for another tidy effort behind the stumps; no byes conceded on a tricky pitch. The game was finished as Jamie fittingly ripped one through a solid defensive stroke from Westbourne’s number 10.

The team were grateful to Derek and Sheila for all they give to the club. Their tireless work makes the day a pleasure for all of us.

Finally, the players stayed for an age drinking, laughing and enjoying the spoils of another dominant display. The sky really is the limit. There is a great appetite to fit in a fixture next Sunday…in this form who can blame people? Well played all.

Lavant v Chidham [midweek T20 game] – Thu 4th May

A sunny May evening at the Field of Dreams. Everyone excited to get the midweek action underway. The pitch playing well, if a little slow, a testament to the hard work of a few good people. Chris, not known for being a tosser, duly lost and Lavant were inserted.

Jim and Justin got the team off to a reasonable start. Jim showing good awareness to run hard and rotate the strike. Justin mixed comical mistiming with a few lusty blows to retire at 25. The batting was well paced with some excellent strategy from the skipper. Tam and Iain struck some memorable shots. The hilarity of Dave “nurdling” it to the mid wicket fence was not lost on everyone. John, unfortunate to face a few balls showed his class with a thumping last over wallop as the end of innings was marshaled expertly by Rob. Lavant posting an above par 113.

Onto the bowling and once again the relentless nature of the Lavant bowlers ripped the top order out of the Chidham line up. John started well with a maiden that set up the innings and ultimately got in the wickets with a masterclass of length control. Chris looked dangerous and the run rate spiraled as Chidham tried to recover from 16-5. The overseas kiwi menace was well worth his fee with a brilliant couple of early wickets. The yorker on his return a champagne moment. Notable mentions from Dom, Dave, Phil and Rob who kept the run rate well out of reach and all improved as their spells went on. Iain kept well and picked up his first two stumping of the season…a reminder in the advantage we gain over other teams in that area. The most pleasing bowling performance was that of the chairman; delivering three great wickets. One bowled, one stumped, one caught. His improved length from the weekend reaping great rewards. The captain gave everyone a game as Lavant cruised to victory. An excellent start with the bonus of the possible return of Tom to bolster the team next week. The evening finished in the pub where the excitement of Chris or John buying us all new kit was a metaphorical warm, cosy cuddle. Well played all.

Lavant v Lynchmere – Sat 29th Apr

A glorious spring afternoon to kick off the season. The excitement in the squad perfectly complementing the picturesque setting and wonderful looking pitch. This was testament to the hard work of those at the club who provide this facility.

A brilliant toss won by the skipper with an agreement to put the opposition in to “have a look”. Mark H was “first class” in setting the tone. His miserly figures were reward for being full in length – he certainly “delivered” when it mattered most. The bowling unit comprising of all 10 outfielders were perfectly backed up in the field. Harry setting an energetic tone that was backed up by the “committee wall” that blocked out all runs on one side of the wicket. The runs continued to be squeezed by the economic efforts of Mark, Dave, James and Phil before Chris came on to make his excellent pre-season with a wicket. There was some good catching with a diving effort from Justin rolling back the years. The only blemish being three dropped catches but every team has room for improvement. Jamie came on to bowl 6 overs 2 for 1 and Rob provided the highlights for everyone with his two wickets – worth the match fee alone. Reward for his dedication and commitment and he fielded brilliantly all day. The quiet and assured work from Iain behind the stumps adds a different dynamic to the side that rewards bowlers for their efforts.

With Lynchmere all out for 77, it was time to tuck into tea. What a splendid effort! Eating scones, jam and cream at Lavant is about as brilliant as cricket gets.

Onto the chase and it could have been tricky. However, a solid start from Harry, whose technique is a joy to watch, and Phil, who accelerated as his innings went on, put to bed any worries the powerhouse batting line up may have had. When Phil (retired hurt) and Rob fell in quick succession it was left to Iain to lead the team home. He timed the ball better than most and played some good shots. Ably supported by Jamie’s calm approach, Lavant saw it home with a debatable number of overs to spare!

A great start to a season that promises much. Well done to all for a fantastic effort played in a great spirit.

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