A low-scoring thriller went down to the final ball on Tuesday evening as the 3rdXI progressed in the Twenty20 cup by virtue of wickets remaining after a tense tie. Unlike the 1stXI, the lower grade competition immediately advances to knockout rounds so it was do or die as visitors Langley made the short trip to London Road.
It was an attritional T20 on a sticky wicket as Andy Welsby juggled seven bowlers through a variety of spells. Only visiting batsman Graham Bowden (33) played with any fluency as Langley collapsed in the second half of their innings to 85 all out, bowled out inside 17 overs and wasting valuable deliveries that they would come to regret.
Chris Taylor (4-15) led the attack with his accustomed gusto, whilst there was a pleasing return to action for Reuben Cutts (2-9) who then played a crucial hand in the second innings. Strokemaking was no easier as the sun dipped behind the trees, the Jets slipping to 31-5 against some strong new-ball bowling.
Cutts and Adam Burgess wrestled back some control with a stand of 39, the latter sending the innings’ only maximum into the healthy crowd of onlookers at square leg. However, when Burgess and new man Taylor fell to consecutive deliveries the game seemed up.
Curtts remained though, marshalling the tail and setting the scene for a game-winning boundary to finish in the final over. His effort went skyward though and the momentum again swung towards Langley who were then favourites as the incoming Walsh was run out without facing. It left last man Kris Bajaj on strike who conjured an unlikely single into the covers followed by an even more unlikely wide to tie the scores with a single ball remaining.
The tiebreaker equation sat with the Jets ahead on wickets remaining but behind on boundaries hit should the last wicket fall to leave both sides all out. Whether this was known to all in the middle or not was unclear but a final-ball dot kept the scores level before consultation with the league handbook sent the 3rdXI through to the next round.
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