Reach for the Stars

Leadership-reach-300x300Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp
Or what’s a heaven for?

This was the most exciting match ever seen at Spring Lane and for some present perhaps the most exciting match they had seen in their lives.

R.Clark the Reach captain inserted Grantchester which seemed a puzzling decision at the time. The pitch was immaculate, white and flat, but this was no shirt front. The week’s rain had left a pitch that was not as hard as it looked. The bounce was true but low.

When the home side slumped to 35-5 largely due to the tall young quick, Zamirski, there was no further doubt about Clark’s decision. There was a gasp when AP Stafford was clean bowled for 4. The Reach fielding and field setting was immaculate. T. Clark who had already bowled the solid Mark Goulder for 10 went on to bowl Oli Grant and Fergus Wilson in successive balls. 40-7. Corcoran stuck around, first with Ludford then with Finlay Wilson. When Corcoran was out for 20, leaving Finlay Wilson 17 not out, the Grantchester total was 97 from 27 overs with 24 extras comfortably the highest scorer. GCC had not even used their full quota of 35 overs.

The home side were quiet at tea as AP circulated around his team reminding each one of his duties and making it clear that the objective was victory.

Leading from the front and bowling with real pace AP, assisted by Finlay, reduced the Reach upper order to shreds, 0-3 then 9-5. Zamirski and Davies began to rebuild. Then when Davies was bowled by Wray the solid looking Fordham started to impose himself on the bowling. At 70 the 9th wicket fell and the Reach skipper entered the fray, last man in and 28 to win. His batting technique was not pretty or elegant but Fordham took what strike he could and the skipper stonewalled. The score mounted but the overs were running out. Poor Lewin-Smith bowled a loose over and was replaced by Ludford.

In the penultimate over Lewin-Smith more than made up for his wayward bowling. His alert fielding and a super throw prevented Fordham, who was now on 38, from stealing the strike for the last over. Reach needed 2 for victory. The skipper facing. The phlegmatic Ludford suddenly cast as the death bowler with no leeway for error.

4 dot balls. The Reach skipper had to make a move.

Ludford bowled slightly slower and slightly shorter. The batsman got underneath it and floated the ball gently to short mid-on where Wray accepted the gift. A victory by one run for Grantchester. There was no crowing, just that feeling that cricketers enjoy in those supreme moments where the game shows us how large it is and how lucky we are to play it.

David Foster

GCC versus Reach CC, Sunday 4th August 2013
Grantchester 97 all out, Reach 96 all out. GCC won by 1 run

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