Bamville (160-8, 39.3 overs, Hammond 3-17) beat LILLEY (159 all out, Hammond 34) by 2 wickets

 Lilley crashed to their first defeat of 2005 at the hands of Bamville in a see-saw contest in Harpenden.
Lilley skipper Ashby won his first toss of the year and chose to bat on a reasonable looking track.  Tomsett was sent packing early on, bowled round his legs for 0, but GT and Perry batted well to restore Lilley pride with a 35 run partnership.  The young Vice Captain perished for 29 though, also bowled and BT (6) and Qureshi (0) followed suit.  Ken Hammond and Ashby then steadied the Lilley ship with a 42 run partnership, but the skippers untimely demise, brilliantly caught by the diving ‘keeper, looked to have Lilley in real problems.  The strong lower order kicked in though and despite Hammond’s dismissal for 34, Phil Horner continued with a violent assault on the home bowling, finishing with 18 not out in Lilley’s 159.  There was still time even for a Paddington cameo of 11, which came after the specialist fielder had been caught first ball – off a head high beamer!
159 wasn’t enough, but it was something for the bowlers to defend.  GT and Ashby opened up and were unlucky not to pick up more than they did.  Tompkins bagged the wicket of Brahmbatt, strangled down the leg side to ‘keeper Qureshi.  Hammond and Perry were introduced into the attack and the Midland Mainline, off a two yard run up having tweaked a hamstring batting, was impressive.  He finished with 3-17 from his eight overs, and how Lilley could have done with another of him!  Fifth bowler Philo Clarke, who was bowling for the first time since September, found the going tough, going for 60 in eight overs.  Lilley’s destroyer-in-chief was…well, was themselves!  Six catches went down, almost matching Bamville’s eight, in a day of cricketing calamity.  In-spite of Tim Perry’s excellent second spell, the game was slipping away from Lilley as runs were being leaked and catches were going down.  At one point, there was even a double drop, as Qureshi spilled a chance off Ashby into the path of Hammond who also fumbled and dropped.  ‘Cha-ching’ squeeled Tomsett.
The sad end came in the very last over, as Bamville squeezed the five runs needed for victory from Gareth Tompkins first three deliveries.
Harsh words on the pitch aplenty, it was good to see all parties enjoying a friendly beer after the game.  In the end, it was an exciting contest – the home crowd were wild with ecstasy as the winning runs were scored – and a defeat for Lilley.  Now on to Knebworth Blues…

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