Refreshers v Felsted, 21 July 2019
In this fixture last year, Refreshers fell just 5 tantalising runs short in the final over chasing 250. It was a wonderful game, but a painful loss. So, we journeyed to Felsted this year very much intent on settling the score.
Refreshers won the toss and unhesitatingly elected to bowl. The conditions were overcast, the wicket was green-ish and the outfield heavy. It looked a day where the ball would dominate. Looks, as ever, can deceive.
40 overs later, the Felsted batting scorecard read: 1. Fred Blackwell, run out, 122, 2. Bertie Blackwell, caught, 65, 3. Alex Jackson, not out, 102, total 289 for 3. Refreshers, therefore, required a mountainous 290 runs to win from their 40 overs at an imposing 7.25 runs per over.
In truth, Refreshers prospects of victory might have been even worse at the break but for an extremely disciplined bowling display by Leo Buscombe and Kit Morley Jacob in the final ten overs of Felsted’s innings which crucially kept the total below 300.
Nevertheless, the mood of the Refreshers’ camp was heavy as we trudged off the field of play at the halfway stage. It was considerably improved by the superb lunch laid on by Felsted in their charming old Tudor pavilion. It was to improve a good deal further.
When Refresher’s match manager had emailed James ‘Skelly’ Skelton on the Wednesday before the game to tell him he would be opening up against Felsted’s youthful pace attack, he had responded “Yikes…😫”
As it turned out, it was the young pace attack who spent the afternoon exclaiming “Yikes!” because James Skelton played without doubt the innings of the Summer (Ben Stokes included). He hit an astonishing and brutal 128 runs including 10 fours and 8 colossal sixes. And he very almost carried his bat.
Joe Johnson and Leo Buscombe ably deputised with 58 and 53 runs respectively. Refreshers reached the target impressively only four wickets down with 4 balls to spare. The score was settled.
Refreshers’ Club Captain, Anu Mohindru, generously hosted another excellent post match BBQ in the local beer garden overlooking the ground. Whilst all three centurions rightly received the plaudits during the presentations, both teams unsurprisingly and unanimously awarded James Skelton man of the match for his extraordinary innings.