Lilley were struggling before the game, with only ten fit and available players, only to then additionally lose Stew Collinson through hungoverness! With his options limited, skipper Ashby turned to ‘Asian Sensation’ Taz in the hope he could produce a couple of world class all rounders from his cupboard to bolster the side.
Taz did indeed turn up with two players…the brothers Tomkin, Gareth (16 years old) and Bradley (17 years old), his South African relatives. Taz gave the tactical assessment to his Captain (“I’ve seen them play in the garden and they look alright”) and Dave ‘Mr Chairman’ Carman set the ball rolling with the following:
Dave: “How old are they?”
JA: “16 and 17 I think”
Dave: “Ah…I was just wondering about the helmet situation”
Mik Carman: <Too rude to print>
In any case, Lilley eventually got to the ground, via a Carman inspired scenic route (and another ground). Lilley lost the toss and
were asked to field. Ashby induced an edge from the bulky, and not entirely sweet smelling Singh at the top of the order, only for Eyres to fumble behind the diving Carman at first slip. That was the first ball…and Singh set off immediately after, smashing 14 from the over and going on to hammer 58 runs in double quick time to send Lilley reeling. A Tim Perry slower ball slipped past his defences though and Lilley could apply the brakes with Taz and 16 year old Gareth Tomkin. Taz bowled with great maturity, probably his tidiest spell to date, and was rewarded with 3-26 in seven tight overs. Tomkin at the other end bowled brilliantly given it was his first run out in the side and reeled off ten pacey overs to take 2-38.
Brother Brad then joined in the fun, nipping out the tail end to snaffle 3-17 with Tim Perry coming back into the attack to tidy up at the other end. With 188 on the board however, Simmons looked favourites given Lilley’s young and brittle batting line up.
Mik Carman opened with big Stevie Eyres in the absence of Doug Tomsett, Ken Hammond and any other candidate, but they were soon both smashing the ball to the boundary. Carman was first to go, bowled for 16. Enter Brad Tomkin, thrown in at the deep end after two years without a game. Eyres always plays best when he gets his head down and concentrates, and that he did in compiling an impressive 28 before falling victim to probably the worst ball he’d faced. He and Tomkin ‘senior’ had put on 49 by that time and the young Cape Town born all rounder was beginning to find his feet. Another partnership of 49, this time with the skipper Ashby, took Lilley to 136-3 and in a position to push for victory.
Brother Gareth and Phil Horner then too went cheaply and at 146-5, Lilley’s fragile tail was almost exposed. Tomkin kicked in though, racing onto 74 before eventually getting caught trying to lash out late out. Nonetheless, his magnificent effort set up Lilley and Tim Perry struck a few lusty boundaries to take Lilley to the brink. His dismissal brought Craig Paddington to the crease, who was dropped by wicket-keeper Orsler off his second ball, but fortunately scampered the run to bring Taz onto strike. The Asian Sensation then finished off a good all-round performance by hitting the winning runs to seal a tight three wicket win for Lilley with 2.1 overs to spare.