"What an unbelievable day. What an unbelievable turnout. What an unbelievable match!"
Those were the afterthoughts of many after the 13th Magic Hat Cricket match. After such a poor summer of rain, rain and more rain, there was little hope that the game would go ahead. But after receiving the thumbs up from Kai, the Heath Warden at 9am, it was all systems go.
Traditionally, it has always been a struggle to get the full compliment of 22 players but having not played last year, all were keen to get to that crease. It turned into a 14 a side match with another 30 odd families and friends lending their support. The sun was out and despite a cool breeze blowing, it was still a warm 23c. After some heavy downpours overnight, the square itself was a little damp without much bounce but fairly quick in the outfield. The scene was set for a classic 25 overs match and we were not disappointed.
The two teams this year were A&E v The Paramedics. Amongst the usual crowd, a special mention to Will Pank who literally flew half way round the world to play. So a big thank you to him! Also this year, we saw Paul Noble, Nicholas Codron, Mark Warren, Abi Tittmus and Dean Reddick making their debut.
The Paramedics won the toss and chose to field. Stuart Chapman and Dan Graham opened for A&E and after an opening maiden from Dean Reddick, they started to form a solid partnership and build up a good score. Will Pank, bowling from the Hampstead Way end, looked fairly sharp with his full length fast paced bowling, but no wicket fell and chances were few and far between. A&E moved on to 22 after 5 overs with Louis Jones coming on to change the bowling attack, but he too had balls picked off as Graham and Chapman took 11 off Jones' first over. Edward Codron came in to bowl and kept things tight as A&E moved on to 39. Graham put on a quick and impressive 29 with 5 fours and a six before retiring. Mark Warren strolled on and after a shaky start looked pretty comfortable out there. The Paramedics' captain, Peter Codron brought in Bob Medina and Julian Holder to mix it up and try and break down the A&E attack. Medina started with a maiden and only 5 came off Holders' first over but still no wicket.
A&E reached 50 after 10 overs and a score of 150 looked possible. Peter Codron decided to try his luck and on his 3rd ball, a mix up between Warren and Chapman, saw the latter run out for 13 after quick fielding from Ed Codron. 72 for 1. The ball wasn't doing much as Paul Kaye came to the crease and we were expecting another big score. Kaye and Warren put on another 4 runs before Peter Codron bowled a low and slow paced delivery that deceived Kaye as he went for a big hit. The ball struck leg stump and Kaye was out for 2. A&E were now 76 for 2.
With top scorer Kaye out, Paramedics looked to have the bit between their teeth as A&E captain, John Hart came in for the departing Kaye. Peter Codron then produced a fine in-swinger with a little extra pace and Hart was clean bowled to his off stump for a golden duck. Peter Codron was ecstatic as he was on for a hat-trick. His elder brother Nigel took to the crease, but 3 deceptive balls later and Peter had taken his first ever maiden and 2 wickets. 76 for 3.
Nigel Codron and Mark Warren sensed the tension and dug in to avoid a potential collapse, but then came one of the best moments of the match. Wig was put in to bowl to Warren. A medium paced short ball flipped up and Warren cracked one high to mid off. Medina dived to his right but the ball flipped out of his hands. Warren and Nigel Codron went for a quick single, but Holder picked up the dropped ball and from 20 yards threw a powerful swinger that smashed into the stumps as Nigel Codron tried in vain to get home. Nigel was devastated, run out for 0. In came Kristen Jones, but she only lasted 3 balls as her high stroke to long on was caught by the ever impressive Peter Codron. She was out for a duck and A&E were 79 for 5. The drama was building.
Paul Noble bowled a tight maiden against Adam Cutts and Wig followed up with only 3 off his next over. Martin Freedman and Alex Aaronsohn came in to bowl and A&E were able to push the score over the 100 mark. Julian Holder came in for his last over and on his 1st ball got the wicket of Adam Cutts, caught by Peter Codron for 5. Abi Tittmus came in and looked the part as she tried to form a solid partnership with Mark Warren. But 4 balls later she played on from a Holder delivery and was out for 0. 105 for 7. James McManus came in and held the fort before Bob Medina came on for his last over and finally got the wicket of Mark Warren bowled for 17. Nick Codron came in but was soon walking back after another deceptive ball from Medina and he too was out for 0. 113 for 9. Jon Glazer came to the wicket and although he hit a fine boundary, he was run out 2 balls later.
Jordan Kaye came in and notched up a couple of runs before he was bowled by Peter Codron. Pank and Reddick came back to finish their quota of overs with Reddick impressively finishing with 3 maidens of his 3 overs. Dan Graham returned and added 7 runs off Louis Jones before he too was caught by Peter Codron off the penultimate ball of the innings.
A&E finished 123 all out off 24.5 overs
And so after tea, Will Pank and Peter Codron opened for The Paramedics with Paul Kaye to bowl the first ball. And what a ball it was. Kaye, known for his accurate fast bowling, produced a textbook in swinger that gave Pank no chance and he was on his way. Perhaps all that travelling had taken its toll?
In came Louis Jones at number 3 to shore things up, but amazingly Kaye produced another superb ball and Jones was left stranded and bewildered! What he was doing standing a couple of feet away from the wicket, only he knows. Kaye and the A&E were ecstatic and Codron watching from the opposite end couldn't believe his side were 0 for 2 after 2 balls! John Reid made a welcome, but very much pressurised return to the crease as Kaye went for his hat-trick, but Reid survived and later got off the mark with a single. Graham came in to bowl as Codron got off the mark with a nice boundary. Kaye came back for his 2nd over and continued to worry the Paramedics, but Reid and Codron stood firm and gained in confidence.
Mark Warren came in to bowl his first over but had 14 runs against as Codron and Reid started to hit some fine shots and boundaries to move the score on quickly reaching 34 after 5 overs. Nick Codron bowled a good opening over but without success. Reid finally reached 25 and retired and was replaced by Martin Freedman. Kristen Cutlip-Jones bowled an excellent maiden and was followed by Jordan Kaye who also produced a good over. The run rate was slowing down as the Paramedics reached 50 off 10 overs, although they were only 4 runs behind A&E at this stage.
Captain John Hart put himself in to bowl and only conceded a couple of runs before Jordan continued his overs as was rewarded when Freedman was caught by Paul Kaye for 0. In came Alex Aaronsohn, with runner Pank, to try and boost the score, but didn't actually try to play a shot off his 1st ball and was given a warning by umpire Richard Codron. The runs rate was at a snails pace and A&E had the ascendancy.
Hart again tried his luck but Peter Codron managed to keep adding some runs and eventually he too reached the 25 run retirement score.
Bob Medina replaced Codron at the crease. Hart decided to put Jon Glazer into bowl, but still they couldn't get Aaronsohn out. Medina meanwhile had scored 7 and the Paramedics were 63 for 3. A change of style was needed and Abi Tittmus provided it. A deceptive looping delivery pitching 2 foot outside off stump, caught out Aaronsohn as he played on to his leg stump. Abi went crazy and A&E were in hysteria.
Paramedics were trailing by 57, now 66 for 4 with 10 overs remaining.
In came Paul Noble who hadn't played for 30 years to partner Medina. Another single came off the over. James McManus bowled to Noble and saw his short length 4th ball hit high and hard to long on, but Kristen Jones was in the right place to catch, spill and then catch again brilliantly to take the wicket. Wig came in to face Tittmus and notched up a couple of singles.
James McManus came back and picked up another wicket, Wig, bowled for 2. Julian Holder entered the frey. Jordan Kaye was put back into the action as the youth players were showing their credentials. It quickly paid off as Jordan, perhaps distracting Medina by tripping himself up, bowled Bob for 8. Paramedics were now struggling on 88 for 7. Dean Reddick came on and looked comfortable, but it was Jordan who came up trumps again bowling Holder for a duck. Edward Codron entered and looked to be forming a good partnership with Reddick as the Paramedics chased the 34 runs needed off 5 overs.
Nick Codron came back to bowl and took the scalp of his older brother Ed, bowled for 3. Pank re-entered as the 13th batsman as he and Reddick tried to get some runs. But Kaye, Hart and Graham with their last overs kept it very tight. So after 24 overs the Paramedics were on 110 and needed 14 runs off the last 6 balls to win. The tension had reached boiling point as Reddick hit a masterful hook over mid wicket for 4. A couple of leg byes, a wide and a single later saw the Paramedics needing 3 to win off the last ball.
Jordan Kaye under immense pressure bowled a full length to Pank, which he failed to connect with and A&E had won by 2 runs. The Kayes celebrated as indeed did all after such a tremendous match. What drama and a fantastic performance by everyone! This year has certainly set a benchmark. Let's hope next year will be as good. Thanks to everyone who turned up to make this day so special.
The paramedics finished 121 for 9 off 25 overs
Result: A&E won by 2 runs
2007 Match Report
A&E v The Paramedics