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With Only Tinsley Left.....

It seemed for a while that nature herself was against Puckering. On the dawn of perhaps the most important game that the Irregulars have played for several years, the sun refused to shine. Morning rain left the game in doubt, but at midday the clouds rolled back, and the game started on time in bright sunshine.

A bright start from West Bean was undone by a clever bowling change by captain Nigel Morcombe when he induced opener Greenidge to sky the ball high in the air of his own, seemingly innocuous, bowling. Young Burstow, playing in his second game, then took a sharp catch of his Dad's bowling to dismiss Haynes and Puckering clearly had the run of the play. A forceful 36 from Richards turned the game in Bean's favour, until an unfortunate run out left both batsmen at the same end and berating each other, much to the delight of the Irregulars, who whipped off the bails at the other end.  Further aggressive bowling by Croft clearly rattled the opposition, and they finished on a modest 73-8 with Puckering clearly hopeful about their chances. New player Simon Titsley was not called on to bowl, but this reporter noted he fielded with intensity and was seen to be greatly in need of his tea at the break.

For Puckering, Morcombe was like Nelson, standing firm on the deck whilst the wickets slowly fell around him. Bolger fell attempting a quick single after hitting two boundaries, and Best Walsham contributed a steady 18. For West Bean both Marshall and Garner bowled well, but slowly the score mounted with a nudged single here and edge through slips for four. In the end it came down to a single man, and how fitting that it should have been Simon Titley himself who strode out to the field, five runs needed, nine men out. He met the last ball of the over with a determined forward defensive prod that had his captain nodding in approval. Nigel Morcombe must have wondered over the wisdom of taking a single off the penultimate ball of the next over. But he bravely left his new player with a ball to face, and the opposition crowding the bat. The players met in conference in the middle and Tintsley was seen practicing his defensive stroke. But as the ball came in, the blood rose, a voice cheered, and he hit a towering shot over the heads of the fielders. They chased in vain. Several, in the estimated crowd of twenty-three, invaded the pitch to congratulate the batsmen.

The celebration and discussion of the game carried on into the evening  with many a round bought at the Idiot. On the shot that won the game, "Bloody cow shot" was how some described it, but for Titsly it was the sweetest stroke and surely the highlight of his life. - Lumpy Gaites

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