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Bledlow batting blown away by rampant Jesters

Jesters CC 155 all out (Zaib 67)

Bledlow 97 all out (Zaib 4-20, Hayes 2-11, Chak 2-16, Parmar 2-25)

Won by 58 runs

A sensational bowling effort reduced Bledlow to 44-7 in reply to our 155 all out, which had looked well under par on a roasting hot day in Bucks. An idyllic village ground with short boundaries and a parched outfield looked ideal for batting. And at 84-1 after 12 overs, we looked set fair to post a big one...

Aashi Zaib got us off to a blistering start, depositing the first two balls of the match into the cornfield over square leg. Both balls were lost, which meant Aashi and fellow opener Harsh Parmar, on debut, had to readjust against an older replacement ball. Aashi aside, runs were suddenly hard to come by and when he holed out for a typically explosive 67, the rest of the illustrious Jesters batting line-up succumbed to a series of injudicious shots, in particular to the wily floaters of club legend Jim "Rev" Spooner, who had recently taken his 1000th wicket for the club. 118-3 became 155 all out as only Sachin Rawson (16) and skipper Ollie Doward (12*) managed double figures, with extras second top scorer with 33! We used only 34 overs of our allotted 40 overs - a cardinal sin!

In an attempt to make something happen quickly, we opened up with Harsh Parmar's fizzy leggies and the ploy immediately paid off. Wicket maiden! Dan Hayes followed up with a wicket maiden of his own. 0-2. With tails up, an effervescent Jesters fielding display ensued, with wickets falling at regular intervals. DJ Chak produced a memorable over to knock back the off stump of their first team skipper Will Woodward with a pearler and repeated the trick with the very next ball. His celebratory follow-through almost reached keeper James Richards!

Bledlow first team keeper James Basu briefly threatened to turn the game with some very classy, technically correct power hitting but his innings was cut short by a sensational catch in the gully by Harsh, who parried a flashing drive up in the air, turned and leapt full length behind him to grab the rebound millimetres from the ground - a wonderful piece of athleticism.

At 44-8, the contest was as good as over, but the home crowd were treated to rollicking 9th and 10th wicket partnerships, led by Spooner whose unique style (batting right handed with a left handed grip) flummoxed our bowlers. Quite how he was able to hit Aashi for a one bounce boundary to the sight screen is still a mystery. It was Aashi who had the last word, however, bowling the unorthodox veteran for 29 and sealing victory by 58 runs.

Thanks to Bledlow for hosting us for the first time on their beautiful ground. Play was punctuated by regular appearances of the Chinnor & Princes Risborough stream train chuffing along the boundary edge.

Jesters XI: Doward (c), A Zaib, Parmar, Chak, A Smith, Sachin Rawson, Harrison, Clapp, Richards (wk), R Thompson, Hayes


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