Five-wicket Miller leads Royston to tense victory

CCA Junior League 2C

Royston: 128 (32.4 overs)

Cherry Hinton: 123 (28.5 overs)

Royston won by five runs

ROYSTON won a nail-biting match against Cherry Hinton on Saturday that saw them take victory my just five runs.

Cherry Hinton, placed second bottom in the table and who should have been put away with relative ease, gave a good account of themselves and almost pulled off and outstanding victory against mid-table Royston.

Royston skipper Martin Leary won the toss and elected to bat, hoping that runs on the board early would set up a comfortable win. However this was not to be the case as Cherry Hinton paceman James Ordish, aided by some closing cloud cover and a steep downhill slope, ripped through the Royston batting order and in the blink of an eye and Royston were in deep trouble at 40-6.

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Only Dave Wallis showed any resistance to the bowling and amidst the chaos, calmly stroking his way to a classy half century, ably supported by Rory Harper at the other end. The pair put on 42 for the seventh wicket until Harper was finally dismissed for 13. Wallis continued until he was finally trapped lbw by Ordish for a crucial 54, and Royston seemed doomed having only posted an uninspiring 128. Ordish finished up with highly commendable figures of 8.4-0-32-6.

Royston began the defending of their total without high hopes, especially as leading wicket-taker and strike bowler Toby Fynn was injured and thus could not bowl. Martin Leary and Bonham Harper therefore opened up but with little success.

Leary eventually bagged one of Cherry Hinton’s openers caught behind in the sixth over, but it seemed that pace on the ball was not the way forward. The spin option of Matt Gillham was therefore deployed and he struck in his second over with a beauty that gripped and turned back to clean bowl Richard Ordish for 8.

Despite this, Cherry Hinton looked to be in the driving seat going into the halfway stage drinks break with the score at 79-2 and Royston in need of a miracle.

This miracle came in the form of Paul Miller, an unlikely bowling option to turn to in normal circumstances. The fifth ball immediately after drinks saw Martyn Livermore drive loosely straight to Leary at short extra cover, who took a smart catch, and Royston had their breakthrough.

Quick wickets were what Royston required, and that is what they got, as two run-outs and another sharp catch from Leary close in, saw Cherry Hinton collapse from 79-2 at drinks to 89-6 in the space of three overs.

Gillham continued to bowl a tight length and was rewarded with another wicket, while at the opposite end everything that Paul Miller touched was turning to gold, as he bagged himself another two wickets.

Cherry Hinton were now staring defeat in the face at 110-9 and still needing 29 runs to win, but a late twist in the plot saw number 11 batsman Jon Harris arrive at the crease to partner James Ordish, and together they hit out with some agricultural, yet effective shots. A loose over from Jon Harper saw the score rocket to 123-9, and now with only one big shot needed for the win, Cherry Hinton looked favorites.

Paul Miller had other ideas, though, and bowled an excellently-flighted and superbly tempting full toss to Harris, who smashed it to the mid-wicket boundary, only to be caught by Ashley Judge. Not only did this complete a five-wicket haul for Miller whose final figures were 5.5-0-19-5, but it also gave Royston the victory by five runs. Jubilant scenes ensued as Royston had somehow grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat in an unlikely victory. Skipper Leary commented afterwards: “After having been 40-6 batting first, who’d have thought that we would pull through to win. All credit must go to Dave Wallis for his vital 54 runs, as well as to the bowlers who stuck to their task and didn’t give up, in particular Matt Gillham and Paul Miller, who both bowled superbly.

“Next week we play host to Fulbourn, who are currently placed bottom, so we hope to make it three wins from three games, which would be a strong end to the season.”