The 3rds signed off with a 52 run defeat to champions Gt Witchingham A . Thankfully Norwich beat Downham so the defeat did not cost us our league status and we live to fight another day in Division 2 next year.
For such an important game, it was disappointing that a number of second team players had declared themselves unavailable for the last day of the season. This had a major knock on effect on the strength of the 3rd team against a powerful side. Will Kidner came in for his debut.
Having inserted the Witches , they got off to a good start with Franks and Dacre not really looking in any trouble initially. Franks latched onto anything short and Dacre favoured the off drive. Nick saw a couple of half chances go begging and, as heads went down, the run rate accelerated. A change of bowlers saw Sonny and secret weapon, Tom Snelling come on. Tom has hardly bowled this season but he immediately extracted lift off a length that caused the batsmen discomfort. He got one to spit off a length and had Franks comfortably caught at slip. Then Dacre was very well caught at long leg by Will Kidner. Both batsmen scored 30s and, until they had been dismissed, the Witches were racing along at 5s.
These 2 wickets precipitated a complete change in momentum in their innings. None of the subsequent batsmen played with anything like the same freedom. Snellers took another wicket and then came off knackered. Goon replaced him with Nathan back on at the bottom end as we worked our way through the rest of the batting. Nathan, bowling a better length, took 3 wickets and Goon 2 in 2 balls and Dennis Rogers was run out as the Witches subsided to 9 down.
As is often the case, the 10th wicket proved a tougher nut to crack and it Sonny finally took it, clinging onto a high and swirling caught and bowled chance.
We felt 138 to win off 51 overs was eminently doable, even for us and against a better than average bowling line up. However our innings never got going. After one trademark straight drive, Jessy was bowled – below. Jon was very well caught at square leg by Rogers. Matt Hogg and Will toughed it out for a while until Will was bowled as well, the innings now beginning to take on an air of inevitability. When Matt was out for a battling 18, big Pete voted his his feet and went back to the Common.
And so it proved. A late flurry aside from Nathan apart, there was not a lot of fight shown and we were bowled out for 85.
And so this game was a microcosm of our season. Flimsy batting, inconsistent bowling and missed chances in the field. We should really have saved ourselves weeks ago when we did have a purple patch and had matches at Bradenham and home to Bungay to follow but we were not able to win either.