Denver and North Runcton serve up a Norfolk Alliance classic
If they are going to allow matches like this there will have to be more funding for the NHS.
Heart, lungs, A and E, premature ageing, stress, tearing your hair out…
This Norfolk Alliance Division Four clash between Denver and North Runcton Seconds was in the balance from the moment they stepped on the field until the last ball of the day.
So what happened on the last ball?
It was struck violently and true. Up and up it went. As high as a kite, as high as a church steeple, as high as a banana split.
If it crossed the boundary North Runcton won the match by one wicket. If it was caught within the boundary, Denver won by four runs.
If the fielder dropped it everyone carried on scampering.
Two balls earlier, the first ball of the last over of the day, eight runs to win, one wicket to fall. On the long-on boundary stood a lone Denver fielder. No-one envied him.
That was where a big hit would go. Asked who in the world you would least rather be at that moment, Paul Morton was high on the list.
The first ball went for a single and the next delivery was a no ball, plus a single.
The third ball went into the stratosphere. Did they have an outstation on Mars? Would it clear the fielder? It began to fall. At that moment, Morton relaxed.
He was in position and was ready like a battery. He was confident , remembering the many hours of fielding practice.
The ball nestled in his hands like a Magnum ice cream, like a baby cockatoo, shielded against the world.
The crowd went wild and Denver had won an incredible clash by four runs.
The previous over had featured a terrible clash, entirely innocent, between bowler and batsman as both ran for the same space at the same time.
Both lay prone for five minutes and In the words of Bing Crosby in High Society, "Have you heard about dear Blanche, got run down by an avalanche? Game girl, got up and finished fourth…”
Connor Bateson got up and finished his over. Now that was gutsy.
He looked as if he had been on a four day bender and his leap was not as high as a salmon - or even a hippopotamus - but the ball reached the other end.
Earlier, Denver batted first and scored 188 in the allotted 40 overs. George Means took 3-38. In most matches this is a marginal score. It might be enough, it might not.
Based on an opening stand of almost 100 between Morton (74) and Clifton (29), 188 was the bedrock of both teams’ aspirations. Both teams thought they were going to win.
Denver began with two fearsome fast bowlers, faced by two skilful and resourceful opening bats .
From the start, Denver fielded like cheetahs and all the best shots seemed to come straight to them.
Over the course of the innings, Runcton probably failed to take 30 singles.
When they started to take them, they did it well. But in common with most teams at this level, they had left it too late.
Centre piece of the Runcton innings was a consummate display by Harvey Cross (61), stylish, powerful and unafraid. He was supported by Angus Williams (33).
The crucial episode came in the middle of the innings when Martyn Wardle, club coach, reeled off eight overs of medium pace dibbly dobblers.
Just short of a length, hard to score off. Excuse me, was Wardle bowling both in swingers and outswingers?
He was indeed. Predominately inswingers, he slipped in two out swingers per over.
What is more, he meant to as he took 3-29 off his eight overs, Dan Harper took 3-41 and Runcton slipped behind.
Afterwards, Wardle talked of the fifty girls and boys in the Denver coaching scheme and North Runcton have similar.
Both clubs have outstanding futures ahead of them if this game is anything to go by.
Lawtronics Man of the Match: Paul Morton.