17 July 2016 v Butterflies
A young, inexperienced, Rambler side gathered at Upper Club on a glorious July morning, ready to take on what looked like a strong Butterflies eleven. On winning the toss, the Butterflies chose to bat first.
Jason Takavarasha and Grey Johnston, both making their Rambler debuts, took the new ball. Takavarasha bowled a fiery opening spell and was unfortunate not to make an early breakthrough. Meanwhile, Johnston found early swing and produced several away-swingers that were simply too good for Hammond and Weaving to edge. The Butterflies reached 40-0 and it was time to bring Gouriet and Whipple into the attack. Whipple struck early, leaving the Butterflies 70-1. The Butterflies continues steadily but two quick wickets turned the session around for the Ramblers with the Butterflies 115-3 at the interval.
After a wonderful lunch in Upper Club, Bailey and Wedgewood came out firing for the Butterflies. Wedgewood, in particular, was the more aggressive of the two and clearly enjoyed the lightning quick outfield on offer as he drove and cut with intent. An inspired Johnston helped to stem the flow of runs, though, taking his first Ramblers wickets. First, he trapped Bailey LBW before removing Bancroft and then bowling Ryan with a well-directed yorker. Johnston’s spell put the Ramblers in the ascendency, but Wedgewood’s quick-fire 38 helped the Butterflies on their way towards 200. The Butterflies then meandered along, taking crucial time out of the game, before finally being dismissed for 225.
The Ramblers got off to a fine start, with Charlie Steel bludgeoning three early boundaries to take the Old Etonians to 12-0. That was to be the extent of the strong start, however. What followed was, quite simply, catastrophic. The Rambler batsmen carved balls to point, cover and edged behind in a period of cricket that looked like a Butterflies catching practice as they slumped to 35-5. Only Takavarasha, on debut, was able to apply himself. When he was caught athletically at mid-wicket, the Rambler innings was in trouble.
Things were only about to get worse for the Ramblers, though. Both Forbes and Hawkins fell LBW to the bowling of Allen and Lowe respectively and the Ramblers were staring down the barrel of an embarrassing defeat at 48-7. Fox was in a determined mood, however and when he was joined by Johnston at 48-8, the duo set about trying to frustrate their opposition for as long as possible. By now, the Butterflies were setting outrageous fields with men swarming around the bat in search of the final two wickets. Johnston and Fox held strong, though, and, owing to the generous field placing, picked up boundaries at regular intervals. An hour and a half later and with only 10 overs left in the day, the pair had reached their hundred partnership and a draw looked to be back on the cards.
The dogged defence continued until, with eight balls left in the day, Johnston was cruelly adjudged to be out LBW. The Butterflies were jubilant, sensing victory at last. Fox and Gouriet had other ideas, however, stonewalling the final over and securing a famous, if not entirely deserved, draw.