LILLEY (193-9, Clarke 37 not out) beat Flamstead (104 all out, Ashby 4-19) by 89 runs

Lilley finished the 2004 season on a high with a fourth September victory, this time at Flamstead.
Lilley were put in to bat on a bizarre looking track in the 40 over clash to bring the curtain down on the 2004 season.  With no Doug Tomsett due to holidays, skipper Ashby took the opportunity to let youngsters Taz Qureshi and Gareth Tompkins open the batting – and their fortunes couldn’t have been more contrasting!  Tompkins crashed his fifth ball for a straight four and looked instantly at home with the ball coming on to the bat nicely, however Qureshi was sent packing almost immediately, bowled for nought.
Tim Perry joined G-Unit at the wicket, but could only stand and admire as the young South African creamed the ball to all parts, scoring almost all of Lilley’s first 45 runs.  He had smote six boundary fours and a mighty six when he was bowled in unlucky circumstances, inside edging onto pad and then stumps for a breezy 36.  Flamstead were clearly sighing with relief, but brother Brad Tompkins was soon in and pushing the ball around with ease.
Perry’s wicket was next to go with the Lilley score on 58 in the tenth over ballooning a ball into the off side which stopped on the wicket.  Enter the Dragon.  Stew, fresh from his opening stint last week, was again a feature in the top six and there was some doubt whether he could re-create the Caribbean strokeplay of last week.  That doubt disappeared with the ball as Collinson got off the mark with a scything drive through square on the off side, much to the excitement of the Lilley faithful.  Not to disappoint his fans, the Dragon then blazed two more powerful boundaries, notching his season’s best of 15, before being bowling by the crafty Tim Wilkinson.  Watch out for Leeds Loafer next year, I think a winter of nets should see him develop yet again.
Ken Hammond replaced the Dragon at the crease, hell bent of scoring the 32 runs he needed to pass Doug Tomsett’s runs total for the year.  Brad Tompkins (24) became Wilkinson’s third victim with the Lilley score on 103 and despite a brief partnership, Phil Horner followed for 2 shortly after.  Skipper Ashby’s year of doom with the bat was finished in true style, dodgy bounce clipping his handle and drifting easily to gully for just one, with Lilley languishing on 129-7.  Languish turned to anguish as Paddington topped off another profitable year with the bat, notching another duck, leaving him with the unfortunate tag of finishing the year with an average of less than 1; 0.9 to be exact.  It shouldn’t take long to recall the six runs Paddy has wracked up this year…
With Lilley 142–8, disaster struck as Hammond was bowled for 26.  Phil Clarke and Rich Kendall had both been the last to arrive for the match and as such were 10 and 11, despite Clarke’s fine form and Kendall’s infinity average.  Clarke was dealt a huge slice of luck early on in his innings, Westward dropping a chance he should have taken at deep-ish mid wicket.  You just don’t give class like Philo a second life, but with his wicket safely in place, Clarke belted five fours on his way to an unbeaten 37.  Ably supported by the impressive Kendall, Lilley were somehow up to 193-9 at the end of 40 overs!
Lilley’s bowling attack rarely needs more encouragement than a few runs on the board to defend, but when Ashby’s early caught behind appeal was turned down, the skipper found a few extra yards and a batsman in Lewis who clearly didn’t fancy it up ‘im!  A bouncer woke the youngster up, but it was the round the wicket tactic that got the breakthrough, two deliveries leaving bruises in the ribs and backside before the opener was bowled round his legs.
Thomas followed shortly after, edging a quick delivery to Gareth Tompkins at third man.  Then it was time for the main event, the Hammond and Perry show.  With only one wicket separating them before the game, the stakes were high!  Hammond struck first, bowling the other opener Matthews in a pacey burst, but Perry struck back and drew level with two quick wickets, the first in amazing fashion.  Perry delivered the ball on leg stump and batsman Carlisle feathered an edge behind down leg side.  The ball travelled at such pace that it ricocheted off the left leg of keeper Taz Qureshi and flew at pace to Gareth Tompkins who completed the catch at second slip!  Perry’s second, an lbw decision, left things nicely balanced.
Hammond it was though who turned on the style, picking up two more wickets to finish with 3-38 from his eight overs.  His final wicket was clean bowled, but his second took a brilliant diving catch from Gareth Tompkins at second slip.  He could and should have had four, but he bungled and fluffed his lines when given two chances to grab a caught and bowled effort.
Perry was taken out of the attack, to bowl his final two overs from the end Hammond had been bowling from, but Ashby came back into the attack first and ended the bowling battle, picking up the wicket of Burke caught by Qureshi behind to leave only two wickets remaining, with Hammond in an unassailable position.  Philo Clarke gave a reminder to the Captain that it isn’t just a pace quartet as he picked up Bauman, bowled for nought, but it was the skipper (4-19) who polished things off, getting an inside edge from Wilkinson (59) through to Qureshi to finish the match, with Flammo all out for 104.

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