Jesters 162 all out (Verma 35, Mohammed 32)
Eversholt 131 all out (Short 4-27, Mumby 2-15)
Won by 31 runs
We signed off for the season with a soggy but satisfying win at Eversholt. Match manager Ollie Doward's report appears below...
No one could have complained if the final game of 2017 had been abandoned without a ball being bowled but, this being the annual celebration of former Eversholtian and Jester Roger Greenslade, both sides were keen to take the field despite the permadrizzle.
In a match reduced to 35 overs per side, Jesters openers DJ Chak (25) and Sachin Rawson (24) were tasked with hitting the ball off the square, no mean feat on a pitch that was deader than the deadest dodo and on an outfield not dissimilar to the Carnoustie rough.
Their promising opening partnership of 34 was cut short when the umpire was swayed by a vociferous appeal for caught behind and DJ had to drag himself from the field. Not long after, catching practice supremo Louis Harris generously steered a wide long hop straight into the hands of deep gully.
Sachin's patient vigil exploded into life when he lifted the ball over the rope at wide mid-on. Emboldened, he holed out shortly after. Fresh impetus was provided by Adnan Mohammed (32) and Santosh Verma (35) who combined for the key partnership (57) of the innings. Santosh's fluency, including two maximums, belied the sticky conditions.
There followed a mature captain's innings from Ollie Doward. Egged on by teammates to enter the race for this season's Michael Meyer award, he attempted to launch the opening bowler's first delivery of a new spell over the pavilion and was caught behind.
A flurry of wickets followed as we pushed for runs in the closing overs. Matt Berry, having deliberately scooped his first ball over the slips, was run out in comical fashion by Simon Rawson. Rawson Snr redeemed himself with some late swipes which lifted the total to 162 by the time the tenth wicket fell in the final over.
A downpour between innings meant that opening bowlers Murphy and Berry had to contend with boggy run-ups and a slippery cherry, so it wasn't long before the captain summoned the firm grip of Nick Mumby. He didn't disappoint.
Mumby (a mean 2-15 off 7 overs) and Berry (2-29 off 7) conducted proceedings with aplomb, although with Eversholt 88-4 after 22 overs, the game was still in the balance.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you don't have deadly Derek Underwood at your disposal on a wet wicket, the next best thing is Andrew Short. And so it proved.
Ever the reluctant bowler, Andrew soon stopped muttering to himself about the injudiciousness of being given the short leg side boundary and set about winning us the game.
Eversholt's classy looking skipper Jake Nichols (28) was stymied as the crafty Cardinal's drifters died beautifully in the wicket. Eventually, Nichols aimed an exasperated swat down the throat of Doward at deep mid-off.
It wasn't long before the new batsman foolishly attempted to lift Andrew over the same boundary and the outstretched left palm of the same fielder plucked the ball out of the gloom.
Chak, who had earlier held a stinger at short cover off Mumby, also picked up a late wicket after sizing up the conditions, shortening his run up and bowling some wily cutters that were almost impossible to hit off the strip.
With the big hitting Gage (30) still at the crease, there was always hope for Eversholt, but a sharp stumping by Santosh off - who else - Mr Short, wrapped things up in the penultimate over.
Andrew's final figures were 4-27 from 6.2 overs.
A special mention must also go to Simon Rawson for his spell. Although wicketless, his seven accurate overs gave up just 24 runs.
After a committed fielding performance from ten out of eleven Jesters, our whites resembled New Zealand's 1980s beige uniforms as we trudged wearily from the field.
Slide of the day is awarded to John Murphy, uncharacteristically stationed at deep cover in place of the delicate Adnan Mohammed. Running full pelt to cut off a fierce extra cover drive, Murph launched himself at the ball, emerging like a bog snorkeller from the quagmire with a huge grin on his face. Marvellous entertainment.
Thanks are due to Eversholt for persevering despite the poor weather and for their generous hospitality before, during and after the game.
And well done all Jesters for another fantastic season which closes with 10 wins, 4 losses, 4 draws, 4 cancellations and 1 abandonment.