Fixture secretary arranged this game in Essex late but everything went swimmingly… lovely ground, very fair hard wicket, a very sporting opposition of equivalent standard to us.. and 330 runs for 20 wickets with Ives holding their nerves for a win.
Skipper Woodcock opted to bat after winning the toss.. a rare choice and a welcome one.

After Dancer left well caught hooking, Collins anchored the innings for Ives first half century of the season (60), sharing useful partnerships with S Parnell (18) and two of 46 with R Parnell (25) and Woodcock (24). The “keystone cops” moment arrived when Woodcock hooked uppishly and kept watching the ball whilst veering into the oncoming Collins, who described the impact “as if being hit by a freight train”. With Collins spiked and bleeding, Woodcock turned his ankle which left him limping severely. Neither batsman was run out because the catch had been held!
It was the over that everything was happening as Francique then played on first ball for a golden duck and put the incoming batsman on a hat trick.

The end of the innings was frantic and fewer runs were accumulated than had seemed likely with a run out ending Ives’ innings on the final ball and a total of 171.

After another enjoyable away tea Ives continued their impressive bowling a fielding record of 2018, and had Coopersale at 45 for 4 with an economical Christie trumped by 4 wicket Hausler. The game then seemed to disappear over the horizon as the next wicket put on 102 (though the stand included 3 batters as one had to retire hurt.)
Then champagne moment number one .. a outstanding, excellent catch by Prasad to complement another fine take by S Parnell. with 2 new batsmen at the crease the run rate slowed, though it was still less than 4 an over till the final 3 overs. A hobbling Hausler returned to claim his 5th wicket (5 for 25); Doughnut Dancer held his nerve after being hit for 2 enormous sixes, to take two vital wickets, and finally a keeper mistake saw a run being nicked but the Coopersale last pair (including a third- runner) reckoned without the match winning direct throw from Prasad to not only spare the keeper’s blushes but win the game by 6 runs with 8 balls left. Celebration swiftly followed.

All in all a good performance with some excellent fielding all round and tight bowling from Woodcock on a limping short run, Francique and Christie to complement Dancer and Hausler.

A good result and excellent afternoon and a fixture to repeat in the future.

R Collins

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