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Saturday 25th August 2018

Saturday 1st XI Away v Bushey - Won

It ended in joy but St Margaretsbury’s first team title winning and promotion victory at Bushey was not achieved without worry writes David Rimmer.

Some of what happened on Saturday August 25, 2018 strained credulity to say the least.
Saints first arrivals Giles Tilbury and Simon Tilbury plus David Rimmer (scorer) were greeted by the loose and unsafe pavilion steps.

Luckily there was 90 minutes before the game for Rimmer and Gary (Bushey’s long serving groundsman) to repair the damage.

Gary did most of the skilled work and the paving stones on the middle step were put back while Rimmer helped despatch the loose concrete and cement.

A look at the square and a brief inquisition revealed it had not been covered overnight, thus its damp and bowling friendly green appearance.

A further possible spanner in the works came when Bushey’s captain revealed he had not brought the match balls.
Talk of 30 points being claimed and a friendly being played were brushed away as James Barbett unearthed two new league balls from his bag.

The game could go ahead but Saints were further hit when skipper Darren Shanley lost the toss and the visitors were put into bat.

Even allowing for a short boundary on one side 160 seemed a good score to get for this Saracens Herts division 2B clash.

On a pitch of variable bounce where some conservatism was required Simon Tilbury checked his aggressive instincts well.

Unless it was a full half volley and up to drive he let the balls go and with his adhesive brother Giles at the other end saw off the new ball adding 41.

The running between the wickets was good and the experienced pair did well to keep out Bushey’s left arm seamer from the bottom end.

The stand was only broken when Simon Tilbury attempted an ambitious third run but an accurate throw to the home keeper defeated him and he was run out for 19.

Shortly after, the rain drove the players off the field with one over being deducted from the 50 overs allocation.

Giles Tilbury went on to make 20 before he received an unplayable ball that popped and he was caught at third slip.
Then Charlie Rudkin, who played one sublime shot off his legs behind square for four, was bowled for 14 after a ball shot along the ground.
James Barbett and John Thorley (harshly adjudged caught behind) both fell
cheaply as St Margaretsbury subsided to 67-5.
The visitors were getting anxious as Saints’ parlous situation was rescued by an intelligent stand of 52 for the sixth wicket between Tom Makin (23) and George Barbett (29).
Both exuded calmness and grit, with this writer urging them on as were their teammates.
Makin let the ball come to him and placed it well while the calm Barbett displayed impressive swift footwork against the spinners.
One exquisite drive from Barbett through the covers will linger long in the memory.
Joe O’Gorman made a useful 8 and partner Mark Willis made a crucial hard-hitting 23 not out before the visitors were bowled out for 156 in 48.5 overs. These were vital runs and gave Shanley’s men a comfortable total.
The later stages of the innings were marked by two wonderful sixes from Willis and a Malinga (Sri Lankan bowler) type round arm slinger cum seamer for Bushey who made life difficult for the batsman.

Left arm spinner Lakhmir Singh took 4-25

In reply, the hosts started slowly but were given a reprieve by a dropped catch at mid-off, the first of three which went down in the innings.

Bushey struggled against the persistent left arm opening bowler Mike Naylor who took two wickets, bowling an opener and trapping their number three lbw.

Naylor was well backed up by Rudkin who took 0-9 from six overs.

Then Noman Ilyas and opener Lakhmir Singh resisted well, before the latter was spectacularly caught and bowled by Joe O’Gorman for 18.

Ilyas went on to make 34 and aside from captain Mohammed Asif (23) the rest perished quickly against the spin of O’Gorman (4-30) and Shanley (4-22).

Saints were considerably helped by some dreadful shot selection.

Shanley clinched the win when he had Asif well caught at long off by Rudkin for 21.

With the news coming through that Old Elizabethans had lost when Bushey’s ninth wicket had fallen, the celebrations at the end were boisterous to say the least after the victory was completed.

Shanley said: “Mike Naylor, Charlie Rudkin and Mark Willis bowled well [tightly].

“I knew that they might struggle as the wicket was taking spin but it was the stand between Makin and Barbett {George] that won the match. Without them we would have been in trouble.”

POSTSCRIPT FROM DAVID RIMMER: Other than victories in the National Village Cup 2001 run which I covered for the Herts Mercury (on behalf of my old friend Lew Gladych) I cannot recall ever being at a league game when the first team had won promotion or the league.
This was because I was either playing for another club team at the same time or I was in Middlesbrough or I was covering local sport elsewhere.
For me to see the team overcome some handicaps and win was special and as long as my memory holds I will never forget it.
It sounds ridiculous but outside of family matters, it was one of the best days of my life.
As I relish literature, theatre and history so I enjoy strokeplay exhibited by George Barbett or the aggressive strokeplay of Simon Tilbury while appreciating the flight and variation of Darren Shanley.
Visualisation of them will pick me up when I feel down in the winter as it does when I think of the late actor Leonard Rossiter.
I have seen other good St Margaretsbury teams and it is pointless to compare different eras but I cannot recall a side which had such a wonderful togetherness.
That reflects well on everybody not just the captain and the coach.
For me these are valued moments or memories which are so deep and important to me.
I salute everybody involved and the rewards are fully deserved for the work and planning put in over the previous winter and during the midweek nets.



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