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Kellard comes of age!

Windsor 160 all out; 33 overs (Birch 63; Noble 38)
Lord’s Taverners 161 for 7; 31 overs (Hinks 61, Kellard 4 for 13)

After many months of hard work and preparation, the visit of Mike Gatting’s Lord’s Taverners team to Windsor Cricket Club, was a fabulous success this past Sunday and saw a huge swath of sponsors, players and spectators enjoy a fabulous day’s cricket. A star-studded team of Taverners were entertained to a tea by the marvellous surroundings of the town’s premier club.

Upon winning the toss, the Taverners chose to bat first. Opening bowlers for the Taverners were Andrew Green (of Radio 4 fame) and Vince Wells (Former England One-Day international), who both found exaggerated movement and had Windsor regular openers Davis and Bird feeling for the ball in a nervy start. Davis was unlucky to be first to go, adjudged lbw despite a very audible inside edge off Green. New man Smith didn’t hang around either as an overambitious swish to leg saw him bowled by a Green away swinger. Green then left proceedings to avoid bowling the entire Windsor side out. Huggins departed shortly after for the second duck of the innings to a brute of a leg cutter from Wells and when Bullock departed to Salmon shortly after, Windsor were in deep trouble at 24 for 4. A brief cameo from skipper Bird was cut short by a top edge from International rugby referee Chris White. This brought Birch to the crease to join Noble in an innings changing partnership.

Both started nervously and would find runs hard to come by. Chris Tarrant in particular finding movement off the seam. The introduction of Jack Russell though seemed to create the spark need as Birch began to play his usual domineering game. Hitting a number of fours and sixes, he proceeded to score a marvellous fifty of just 34 balls. Finally perishing to a fantastic catch by Graham Roope on the boundary for 63 off Mike Gatting. Noble also fell shortly afterwards for a fine 38, but celebrated the knock with a lap of honour around the ground.

Windsor’s innings finally closed on 160 all out two overs early when Kellard played on to Gatting. A below par total and with the knowledge that two former first-class stars were opening for the Taverners, a tough task was ahead to defend it.

Opening bowlers Edge and Birch bowled well in the early overs and were unlucky not to remove the class Taverners openers. Anything slightly loose was punished and the ball raced about the field with aplomb from both Hinks and Roope’s bat. The pair managed to take the score to around 80 before Roope was first to go, caught well on the boundary by Condon. Hinks, after giving a number of chances finally fell stumped to Smith when on 61, wandering out of his crease in an attempt to take a phone call. This brought Nick Hancock to the crease to join and already set Paul Tisdale (Exeter FC’s new manager).

The introduction of Kellard at the River End would put a brake on the Taverners innings. First removing Tisdale through a fine skied catch taken by Hill in front of a well-lubricated beer tent, then through the bamboozling of Hancock, caught by Noble at mid-wicket. With Chris White joining Jack Russell at the crease, Windsor sensed the opportunity to take a few prize scalps. Indeed when Russell tried to late-cut a sharp spinning delivery off Smith, Davis took a fine catch stood up to the stumps to remove the former England keeper. When White and Salmon both departed to Kellard’s spin, new batsman Chris Tarrant, was joined by former England skipper Mike Gatting. Memories of 1993 and Old Trafford were re-born as Kellard attempted to pull a Warne on Gatting, and narrowly missed a five-for when a sharp turner just missed his outside edge.

Some entertaining running by Tarrant and Gatting, along with the usual banter saw the Taverners close on victory. Then a mighty swing of the bat from Tarrant saw Smith bemused as he was sent back over his head for 6. Another fine swish to fine leg saw the winning runs come and the Taverners closed out the game with 4 overs to spare.

A wonderful day was capped by the presentation ceremony after the game. Speeches from headline sponsor FM Global and Tony Monk was followed by the presentation of the winner’s Trophy to Mike Gatting. The man of the match award, sponsored by FM Global, went to 16 year-old Windsor spinner Chris Kellard for his match figures of 4 for 13 off 6 overs, with 2 maidens.

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